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Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have agreed to meet, what could possibly go wrong? It’s not hard to imagine what might happen if things go badly when & if those two leaders meet and the US and North Korea get into a nuclear pissing match. The nuclear option involves mass destruction, radioactive fallout, and a bit of global destabilization. So with the instability of both the situation and the predictability of the situation, you know, given tweets and all. So here are Five Specific Things to get squared away care to survive. And all that squaring away must be able to go mobile on a second’s notice. This short list, of course, is on top of your regular preparations and bug out plans.
1. Food: Get a supply of dehydrated food. My choice is #10 cans of dehydrated Mountain House food. The number of days, weeks, months, or years of food is up to you, your scenario, and your budget. A way to calculate your timeline is to follow this very rough basic math: Women burn 2000 calories per day. Drop that to 1500 and she will lose a pound per week. Men burn on average 2500 calories per day with a 2000 calorie daily diet causing a weekly loss of a pound. So you can do the arithmetic of both what amount of food you need for your comfort and duration, and what trajectory of starvation is acceptable.
Canned freeze dried Mountain House food has a 30 year shelf life and a two week once-open life. All that’s needed is water. If no water, then food is not your immediate problem. And in case you’ve never tried freeze dried food with just cold water, you are in for a pleasant treat. While it takes a little longer soaking time, it’s no different that when you let a hot-mixed meal sit too long. Like cold pizza, you might actually like it more. Just don’t forget the can opener.
2. Water Filters:When on the run from a nuclear blast, you won’t have time to pack all your supplies and you certainly don’t want a half-ton of water slowing you down and threatening to roll your vehicle on a turn, or pull you over a cliff. A water source and filtering must be in your plan. And like the food, you will need to do the math of how much water you need and can filter. My plan begins with at least 20 gallons on board in five gallon tanks. Any larger and they are hard to move, carry, and distribute around your vehicle for driving balance. The larger tanks often invite waste and spillage when transferring contents to smaller containers and cups.
Backpacking pump filters are a great idea, but you might have more time than freedom to pump. Instead consider something like the Epic Water Filters Pitcher; a Brita on steroids, if you will. That way you can be making a supply of pure filtered water while doing other essential tasks like driving or preparing camp.
While it might be prudent to consider a filter that removes radiation, the reality is that when on the run such a filter will have a short life and give no indication when it is no longer effective against radioactive particles in water. Unlike dirt and organics that clog a filter, there is a finite amount of surface area on the radioactive absorbing materials in the filter and when they are full, nothing changes except the radioactive particles now flow right through the filter like its not there…because it isn’t anymore.
If you have to cut financial corners, do it elsewhere. Water is not only the basis for life, but a fluid that is consumed internally daily and drenches mucous membranes where contaminants can get a foothold creating hundreds of ways to kill you.
3. Fuel For Your Vehicle: As you can imagine, an nuclear blast is a traumatic experience for those not vaporized, incinerated, or irradiated. The panic will be instantaneous and permanent. Swinging by the gas station is not an option, and neither is stopping for long when you are outrunning a gruesome, painful invisible death sentence.
Go grey with your gas cans. I’ve seen cars headed into questionable situations with as many as half a dozen bright red gas cans strapped to the roof like a parade float. Going grey with your gas means putting the gas cans into duffle bags or second hand suitcases or travel bags. A pile of visible gas cans is probably the fastest way to get robbed.
The quantity is up to you, but using the Mt. St. Helens model (see #5 below), you will need 1000 miles of gas in a worst case. For many vehicles that’s two full tanks or a 20 gallon onboard start, and another 20 in four five-gallon cans. Minimum. You might arrive, but then be out of options because you are out of gas. Drive a guzzler or tow a trailer and count on doubling the above prognosis or halving your potential.
4. Wind Speed Meter:Sure you could just toss up some dust or dried grass, but keep that as your backup plan. What you really need is a definite wind direction and speed. Those two tidbits might be the most important pieces of information when on the run. Little wind and you can outrun it. Strong wind and you might have to head into it. It all depends on the distance from and prevailing direction of contamination as well as the natural barriers like mountains, valleys, and drainages.
My analog here is the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. The path of the ash was mostly east and then turned south near the eastern edge of Montana. So it covered all of eastern Washington, the north half of Idaho, all of Montana and North Dakota, most of Wyoming and Colorado, two thirds of South Dakota, finally dipping just across the border into New Mexico. The lesson here is that the ash followed the wind, the fastest escape route might have been to head south west towards the source at an angle even if it meant going into the cloud. Of course ash and radioactive fallout are two completely different things, so studying maps now will give you some idea of where to head if you know the location of the source.
There are iPhone/Smartphone options where a little wind meter taps into the headphone output port. Or a bluetooth solution like a Weatherhawk, or Pasco Scientific. And stand-alone devices like the handheld Kestrel and Oregon Scientific anemometers.
5. Radiation Monitor or Geiger Counter:Radioactive materials as part of fallout from a nuclear blast will follow the path of the wind. So two pieces of intel are needed; first, you need to know if there is an uptick in radioactivity or not. There are minimalist solutions that just change color when the radiation level increases. And more sophisticated devices that sound an alarm. The problem with those first two levels of radioactive indications is they are non-specific, non-directional, and non-quantitative. Moving up the ladder another rung is a stand-alone meter like the yellow 1950s civil defense Geiger Counters. However, while state-of-the-art 60 years ago, many more options are available today. And if you are planning on using “Old Yeller” you better have a five-gallon bucket of D batteries!
Companies like Vernier Technologies are a great source for a choice of on-the-run Radiation Meters, with a bluetooth option talking to your iPhone. And a quick trip to the Amazon.com will give you plenty of choices starting at a buck and a half (that’s $150 to the rest of you).
I guess while you’re out shopping now, you might want to pick up some potassium iodide to protect the thyroids of you and your loved ones. But that’s a topic for another day.
The last thing you want is to try and get your act together when the news report sounds like a Tom Clancy novel. You must assess the situation. Make a decision. And go. Not figure it out. Lay out some options. And then go shopping. The window of opportunity is smaller than almost any other catastrophic man-made event. There are no major surprises here. A nuke could fly through the air exploding over somewhere in the USA. and won’t matter one bit if we turn North Korea into bacon. The damage here is done, so the rest is up to you. If you don’t believe me, please watch the classic movie from 1983 called “The Day After.”
The Day After (1983) - Classic Movie Channel - YouTube
Well, we’ve found that Christmas has passed, and here we are again, stuck smack dab in the middle of yet another winter season. If you hail from Southern latitudes, winter may not be much of an issue – just another season where you might need to keep an extra fleece on in case the temps drop into “a little chilly”. However, those of us here in the north (like my home state of Maine), have nothing to look forward to but several more months of below freezing temperatures, snow buildup, and icy driveway clearing.
Under normal everyday circumstances, winter sucks for most people once the thrill of Christmas and the winter holidays has passed. Even with the modern conveniences of running furnaces, humming pellet stoves, and hot water generally any time one wants, winter still isn’t much fun if you’re not a winter sports (skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, etc) person. If you have blood circulation issues (such as Reynaud’s Disease) or other health problems, weather can be downright dreadful and flat-out miserable, if not deadly. As I write this, the Northeast US has been slammed by a severe cold spell, with temps dipping to -20°F and lower – and my wife’s feet have been ICE every time she crawls into bed with me. Tragic, I know.
But what happens if we lose these wonderful modern conveniences because of a SHTF event? If the power grid goes down for a length of time, we’re not just looking at being cold and miserable – we’re looking at dying from said cold and misery. If you’re running solo, that’s bad enough – but what if you have a family with little ones to consider? That is a whole new level of problems to counter, and one I find my mind drifting to more frequently as I see the snow pile up and the temps drop below zero while my 4-year-old scampers about.
Since it’s been more in-my-face than usual this year due to the bitter cold temperatures, I’ve been considering priorities and taking actions to help prepare my family for a power-out Maine winter – here are some of my musings.
Keep it Warm (duh)
When temps drop below freezing for any length of time your immediate priority is no longer food and water – the sheer cold will kill you faster than dehydration. Therefore, we need to prioritize warmth in your shelter above all else. As I will likely be staying put in any major SHTF event that’s not locally threatening, I need to first evaluate my home for its ability to produce heat with appliances, as well as retain said heat.
My personal house was built in the 1920s, with all the innate charm and lack of insulation and efficiencies that vintage houses offer. My built-in heating appliances are a well-maintained oil-burning furnace and a pellet stove. While both of these methods are great while the power is running or generator is producing, I’m SOL once the juice goes bye-bye. I know that heat is a major shortcoming in the plans, so I need to look at maybe trading the pellet stove in for a small-to-medium-sized wood stove to mount in its place. If a full-sized wood stove isn’t practical or if you live in apartment building, perhaps a smaller wood stove like the Tiny Wood Stove Dwarf or perhaps a propane burning stove may work for a smaller house or apartment. However, consideration needs to be taken to properly vent the exhaust fumes – carbon monoxide will kill you just as dead as the cold or dehydration. If you’re creative, you could probably work up an insulated panel with a hole in it to run a small chimney through a window to keep the warm in and the fumes and smoke out.
Wood stoves have the advantage of running off a locally-obtained fuel source. They can also produce heat off paper, some types of trash, and even cloth or busted-up furniture if the desperation level is high enough. Versatility is a major selling point for a good wood stove. A wood-burning fireplace works if you have one in your house, but just be aware that most of your heat (something like 70%, I’m told) actually goes out your chimney instead of radiating out to your living space, and as such, it is vastly inefficient. A better bet is to have a wood stove installed in your fireplace cavity – my brother did this in his 1820’s Maine farmhouse, and it works brilliantly.
Kerosene or other fuel-fired heaters are also available for inside applications, but care still needs to be taken to allow proper ventilation. Open flames (even ones somewhat contained inside heaters) still need to be carefully monitored as well. Nobody wants to be the victim of irony when you burn to death while it’s freezing outside.
First aid kits are an absolute must in general, but be sure to keep one around heaters. Train your family not only to avoid burns, but to know how to recognize levels of severity and treat burns as well. A couple years ago, my son lost his balance while running around near the running pellet stove, and just a quick brush with the glass-faced door severely burned my boy’s hand. I was able to diagnose that the burns weren’t severe, and treat them at home with first aid supplies and cool water. During a SHTF event, anything that can go wrong will, and likely with harsher consequences since professional medical attention probably isn’t readily available. Perish the thought, but what if the grid was down, and my son had put his whole arm through the glass door, getting cut AND burned? Vigilance and knowledge will keep you in good shape when having to deal with interior heating. Stove guards and/or screens – readily available at any heating shop or big box store – are a great idea, and inexpensive insurance.
I also have plenty of super-cheap wool disaster blankets and thermal curtains to hang over doorways and windows to keep heat trapped in select “warm rooms” of the house as needed. No, it won’t be fun long-term, but can help keep the heat in one or two heated rooms in your house for everyone to stay in. It’s highly recommended that if you’re keeping just one or two rooms in your houses heated, to drain the water from the house’s plumbing system to keep it from freezing, expanding, and cracking if possible.
Obviously, lots of warm clothing and blankets are needed to keep the required temps down so fuel expenditures can be kept to a minimum. Winters can last a long time – make your fuel last. If feasible, during sunny days, pull blankets down off south-facing windows (if you’re in the northern hemisphere) to take advantage of the solar heat gain provided by the sun shining directly into windows. The vitamin D production from sunlight, and the morale boost from natural daylighting can be a huge help.
Keep it Dry When You Go Out
Dry clothing is a game-changer in winter. Yes, the shelter and heat is nice, but when you’re outdoors, wet clothing quickly sucks the heat right out of your body, whether you like it or not. Sweat can be a wetness-inducing culprit if you’re working hard, but in winter, snow and ice on your clothing and melting from your body heat can make you miserable and practically drenched in very little time. Temps slightly above freezing are the worst (in my opinion), because snow on tree branches, foliage, rooftops – it melts, gets heavy, and succumbs to gravity. And in my experience, that gravity seems to guide it right down my damn neck. Snow turns slushy, and your boots will soak through, up your pant legs. In no time at all, much of your body can become wet – and low temps, combined with wet clothing, is a killer.
Solution? Wear wool when possible. Wool insulates while wet and can help keep you warm enough to get back to your fire and dry out. Hybrid moisture-wicking undergarments can keep moisture collection caused your sweating under control if there’s no snow. Knee-high insulated rubber boots (like those made by Muck or LaCrosse) are expensive, but will keep your feet dry in the wettest of conditions. Gaiters are fantastic in the snow, and waxed canvas jackets can help repel water. Carry spares of socks, gloves, long underwear if you’re outdoors for an extended period of time – these items will get wet the fastest and can make you miserable the fastest as well. Many outdoors-oriented companies offer waterproof or rainproof clothing – but just be mindful that while they often keep water OUT, they also keep water IN by not allowing your body to breathe – so sweat or other moisture in your clothes generally stays there until you can get your clothes off to dry them out.
For the kids, sweat usually isn’t as much of an issue, so make sure they have high quality outdoors clothing that will help keep them from getting wet. Snow pants, long winter jackets, and rubber insulated boots are a must. My mother used to put plastic bread bags over our feet to keep our piggies dry – and it works, very well. So if you have to go outdoors with the kids during a winter SHTF event for whatever reason, make sure they are dressed well for the weather, and keep an eye on them! Children don’t know the warning signs of hypothermia and other cold-induced maladies, and often will not recognize that there’s an issue. Stock up on hats and gloves, even handwarmers – you’ll need ‘em! Dry kids are happy kids, and they’ll be amazingly resilient as long as they’re warm and dry, and see Mommy and/or Daddy positive and happy.
When drying your clothes indoor by your heat source, remember that just because the clothes are wet, it doesn’t mean they can’t catch fire. I’ll admit to losing a couple pairs of really great boots and some expensive wool gloves by having them too close to a fire to dry out. Same can happen to your other clothing as well – get a drying rack, keep it far enough away so that sparks or ambient heat won’t catch or melt your valuable outdoors gear. As a bonus, water evaporating as steam from wet clothes can help keep a little moisture in the shelter’s air and keep you from being miserably dry.
Make sure you have the tools for moving efficiently and quickly in the snow – high quality snowshoes, cross country skis, sleds, and even snowmobiles will help minimize your time in the cold by helping you get where you need to go more quickly.
Watch Your Provisions
If you’re going with keeping just a room or two warm and blocking off the rest of the house, you’ll probably want to bring some water reserves and any food containing water into the room with you. It would be a heartbreaker to head to your cold pantry to find your carefully stocked canned goods or water jugs have burst from freezing.
Water can be kept inside coolers to prevent freezing for periods of time, high-end coolers like what Yeti offers will suddenly be worth their weight in gold if the temps are below freezing and your survival water starts getting slushy.
Keep Your ‘Dirty Business” Separate and Clean
Going to the bathroom could be a positively miserable experience when the power is out and you’re snowed in. Toilets won’t flush, and hopefully your toilet plumbing won’t burst (it happens). All this means that you’re going to have to evacuate your bodily wastes either in a cold-ass room, or in your warm room with everyone around. Neither option seems like much fun; we need to maintain our dignities even when in societal turmoil.
When I was maybe 5 or 6 years old, my father rented a ramshackle house with no power (that I remember) during a very cold New England winter, near a factory he was getting up and running. We didn’t have much money, which meant that he did the warm-room technique, with blankets and plastic sheeting over doorways, and a kerosene heater to keep us warm. We all stayed in one room. It wasn’t extravagant, but we were together.
What I DO clearly remember is the bathroom consisted of a 5-gallon bucket in the next room, with a trash bag liner and a liberated toilet seat perched on top. The world’s coldest craps ever recorded happened inside that sad little bathroom, and about the best thing that could be said about it is that there weren’t any flies – it was too cold. But we bit the bullet and did what we had to do. When the fun was over and the bag filled to a reasonable level (solid waste only – no peeing in the bag!) we tied it up and brought it outside to a dumpster. All urinating was done in another bucket, which was dumped outside a safe ways from the house. Glamorous as all hell, right? But it served the purpose, gave us privacy and fullfilled our needs, and we got through.
A similar setup could be run in a SHTF house with limited warmth. Bring the toilet seat with you in the warm room with you – nobody likes cold toilet seats. Leave the waste bucket elsewhere, preferably in a room where you can close the door and keep scents out of the common area. Survival food isn’t always that friendly on the gastrointestinal system – you all know what I mean. Of course, if you can bear doing your duties outdoors, do so when practical.
Stock toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels. Keep jugs of hand sanitizer available to minimize water usage and keep hands and other areas clean. Have lotion on hand as well – hand sanitizer will dry your hands out quickly, and the cold temperatures will exacerbate that. Cracked hands will ruin your day quickly; lotion or petroleum jelly will keep them up and running. Petroleum jelly can also be used for cold-chapped lips or to start fires.
Keep it Fun
Cabin fever sucks enough when you have easy heat and power. It sucks FAR worse when your family, who is used to warmth, good food, and instant entertainment in the palm of their hands is suddenly deprived of these conveniences. Negativity breeds further negativity, and your house will become an ugly breeding ground of angry once the communications have stopped, iPhones die and the newsfeed can’t be checked. Be prepared for this initial round of discontent, and head it off at the pass with other ways to entertain. Board games, crank-up radios, an extensive library of books, cards, constructive toys, and a stash of art supplies are good mental distractions. If an EMP or power surge didn’t smoke out your electronics, perhaps allow your kids to play tablet or phone video games once in a while – provided you have solar chargers to top off electronics as needed.
Keep everyone engaged with everyone – maintain a team atmosphere and don’t leave any family members out of activities unless requested to do so. Keep minds occupied, sharp, and challenged – a dull mind will drift to dwell and fester on the misery. A team having fun and facing challenges together will also keep from harboring resentment or creating arguments amongst fellow dwellers. When you’re shut in a room with your family for an entire winter with everyone trying to stay warm and survive, every little bit of friendliness, fun, and love will count.
Keep Yourselves Illuminated
Light is also essential to combat your situation; the darkness outside is present for a much longer period of time during the winter and the dark will be (not can be…WILL be) overwhelming and depressing. Solar-powered lanterns like the Hybridlight PUC or PSL Personal Solar Lantern will be godsends and just one will light up a decent-sized room with aplomb for hours on a single charge. Solar-powered flashlights like the Hybridlight Journey series will be extremely useful as well, and not require stockpiles of batteries while being able to charge devices via USB ports.
Open flames (especially in old houses like mine) can lead to serious combusting problems if kids are running around, so where possible, keep candles and oil-powered hurricane lantern use minimized. Keep flames elevated on wall sconces or on shelves to minimize risk of tipping over. Definitely keep flames well away from ANYTHING flammable – even bacon grease or household cooking oils.
Don’t Give Up, HAVE A PLAN!
Look, you’re in the middle of a SHTF event. Life is gonna suck enough as-is, even without having to shelter in place in the middle of winter and fighting to beat the cold. Knowing you’re very possibly going to have to face a disaster in this most inhospitable climate and having a plan will go a long way towards keeping your morale up and your mind focused on the task at hand – keeping your family alive.
Even if you don’t live in an area that resembles the surface of Hoth in winter, you should still have an active plan in place to deal with harsher temps and the effects they have on men, material, and shelter. Have a plan in place, and if possible, incorporate your neighbors or your SHTF team to corroborate and share resources – for example: you may not have a Coleman Stove for cooking, but you might have firewood in your basement that’s cut to length to fit your neighbor’s wood stove. Maybe your friend’s stocked pantry can be used to stock food for two families, and other deals can be made for your weapons cache to be distributed for security.
Once the chips are down and we’re in the middle of knee-deep snow and subzero temps, your plans, thoughtful predetermined actions, and your family will probably be all you have. Start now while you have that reliable furnace and think, “what would I do if that died RIGHT NOW?” Build from there. It may mean the difference between life and death when your life is on the line.
Of course, this dissertation doesn’t cover everything to be considered. What else would you add for your winter SHTF planning? Sound off in the comments below!
In my opinion, conceal carry is the best method to carry a personal protection handgun. To me and most folks, it has numerous advantageous over open carrying. Naturally, in a bad situation you wish to capitalize on all the advantages you can in order to survive and concealed carry gives you some advantage. In my role as a firearms sales person at a big box store, firearms instructor and educator, I constantly get approached by folks that are seeking firearms for personal carry. In most cases, the individuals are new to carrying a handgun; in some cases they have some experience with handguns, but not carrying.
And finally you have those with lots of carrying experience, but no exposure to training for bad events. In all cases the buyers are purchasing a personal protection handgun for the right reasons, but have a total lack of understanding about carrying in particular, the full dynamics of how to carry and the vital role it plays when you need to access your weapon rapidly.
So with that in mind, I wish to cover “five” major factors that you should consider when buying a carry handgun. Keep in mind you cannot pick any one of the 5 factors independently. The value in their roles is the sum total of all the factors combined. If you chose any of the factors independently or only pick a couple of them, then you are likely to fall short of the full advantages of carrying a concealed handgun.
It always amazes me, the number of folks that want to buy a small handgun, just because it is small. In most cases this is the first indication that the individual has very limited handgun shooting experience. So the first step in the process is to educate the individual about the role of ‘grip’. As mentioned in my previous articles “grip’ is one of the most important factors in buying a handgun. So it is important if you are considering a carry handgun, purchase one that you can grip well. Small handguns are exceedingly hard to grip correctly and thus more difficult to shoot, which means less practicing if you do not enjoying shooting it. So as much as one might think small is good, in most cases as it pertains to hand guns, small in not good. It is much better to buy a larger handgun that you can grip well and shoot comfortably than to buy a small one that you hate shooting. This point goes deeper than just practice. It also affects your mentality when a bad event happens. So if you have a handgun that you do not like shooting, you may have a reluctance to pull it out when you need to, due the negative feelings and lack of confidence you have about shooting the gun. Then what you thought was an advantage has now turned into a disadvantage, right when you need all the advantages you can muster.
So when choosing a carry handgun instead of first looking for something small, focus on a handgun that you “grip” well, feels comfortable in your hand when shooting. You will be far more confident should you ever need to draw your weapon.
Carrying concealed is an art. It is not always easy nor does it work well without planning. Carrying a handgun for personal protection takes planning, preparation and wardrobe consideration. In order to carry effectively you must do some planning. That means you must first determine how you wish to carry and then make subsequent decisions based on that decision. I cover the topic in more detail below, but I feel inside the waist band (IWB) is the best location to conceal a carry handgun.
The next part of the planning phase is to find a very snug, well fitting holster that will provide retention for your handgun. This process has two components: (1) the holster and (2) your ability to comfortably wear the holster. Though these two components must be considered together, they also are totally independent.
As mentioned above, you want to find a holster that fits the requirements mentioned above. I prefer a kydex one that allows you the ability to change the cant. For those that are not familiar with “cant”, let me explain. The “cant” of a holster is the angle in which the holster sets in relationship to your body. I like mine to cant slightly forward thus allowing me to grasp the handgun easier and it keeps the grip close to my side when bending over. I feel leather or holsters made of malleable material inhibit your ability to reholster your handgun and sometimes can make it harder to draw from.
Once you have found a good holster, now comes the hard part for most folks, what to wear when conceal carrying. Get ready because I am going to cover territory here that some might be sensitive. The recommendations below are for both men and women. If you are going to wear a handgun for personal protection, then you must have the mindset that you are going to need to dress differently and take that into consideration every time you get dressed and buy clothes.
If you are used to wearing your shirts tucked in, now you will need to buy shirts that are designed to be worn untucked. In most cases to wear inside the waist band you will need to wear your shirt untucked. In colder weather you can wear a tucked in shirt then a sweater or jacket over it to conceal your weapon.
Wearing inside the waist band has several more aspects that you need to take into consideration. If you are overweight or like to wear your pants or skirts very tight. Then you are going to have a problem. In each of these cases, to address the extra space need by your handgun and holster you will need to buy pants and skirts that are at least one inch larger than you normally wear.
Next you need to consider a belt that is firm enough to hold the weight of your handgun and holster. That means even when you dress up, you are going to need a belt that has more rigidity to it. A flimsy belt or a leather one that stretches will make carrying your firearm cumbersome and uncomfortable.
Attire is the one consideration that most folks completely forget about. Most folks that wish to carry feel that they can do so with their existing wardrobe. In most cases that is NOT the case. Dena Adams makes some great undergarments for women that enable them to carry a wide range of handguns completely concealed and still wear very feminine clothing. However, in most cases, you will need to revise your attire to comfortably carry your CONCEALED handgun. For me, that meant changing the type of shirts I wore. I traditionally wore all my shirts tucked in. But when I started carrying more inside the waist band I had to start buying shirts that were designed to be worn untucked. I also had to buy belts that were able to hold my holster more secure to my side.
So once you begin wearing your concealed carry handgun more frequently you will then learn that you must dress differently. Women have another option most men don’t and that is purse carry. Again, many women look for something small to carry in their purses. My limited experience in trying to find anything in a woman’s purse is that something small is sure to get lost in there.
So what can a woman do to enhance the finding their weapon in a time of need. Here is my suggestion. Go to your local hardware store and buy and piece of Velcro that is about 4 inches by 4 inches. Then empty your purse and glue the Velcro to the inside of your purse on one of the lateral sides. Next buy a holster that has Velcro on the outside of it. Stick that to the Velcro in your purse in a position such that when you open your purse, your handgun is perfectly positioned for you to withdraw it. This will greatly enhance the likelihood of finding and drawing your handgun from your purse smoothly, quickly and confidently in the event a bad situation should arise. Remember, drawing from your purse should be practiced often so you can become very comfortable with the technique. This brings us to Accessibility.
This is the most important aspect of carrying a handgun for personal protection. If you cannot readily access your firearm when you need it then you are at a major disadvantage. There are lots of sources that provide a wide range of data on shootings, but most confirm that shootings are usually fast, last less than 5 seconds and involve at least 8 shots fired. So if you cannot access your weapon fast and get on target, you are most likely not going to be in a good position. Just a note here…. Just because you draw your weapon does not mean you are going to fire it. In many cases, weapons are drawn, but the need to fire it does not happen. However, the fact that you felt the situation was significant enough for you to draw your weapon, then you must be prepared to use it.
One of the most common forms of carry that I get asked about and many buyers consider is “pocket carry”. Pocket Carry to me, is most likely one of the two worst places to carry your “primary” handgun, ankle carry being the other. The reasons for my position on this are based on the following factors. First, you must have a very small handgun to fit in your pocket. So as mentioned above, the small size will make it hard to shoot, fairly inaccurate and there are far less rounds in the magazine than I would like. Secondly, it is going to be extremely or almost impossible to retrieve your handgun from your pocket while you are experiencing a bad event, just getting the handgun out of your pocket without any extraneous factors can be problematic itself. But add to it you may be running, knelling, squatting or laying down in response to the bad event that is in progress. That even makes it more unlikely you will be able to get your weapon out of your pocket in a timely manner. So my recommendation is that you never want your “primary” personal protection handgun in your pocket or on your ankle.
In my experience the best way to carry a handgun is inside the waist band. I carry my two “go to” weapons (Sig P320 compact or Sig M11-A1) inside the waistband at 4:30 at about a 12 degree cant forward. Again, for those that might not understand this terminology, the 4:30 location is just past your hip. I feel the 4:30 location allows you to readily access your weapon while in almost any position and even while running and the 12 degree cant keeps the grip of the weapon close to you body even when bending over, thus not exposing the fact you are wearing a handgun.
Many well respected firearms experts like the appendix position and I think there is nothing wrong with that location as well. But for me and my size, the 4:30 position is more comfortable.
Now I will say that there are times when I was working private security and or based on my attire I would wear in the middle of back. There are several factors you must take into consideration when wearing in that location. First, your holster must be reversed. So if you are right handed, you will need a left handed holster to correctly position the handgun in the middle of your back. Secondly, you must consider it is going to be much harder to access your weapon and that it takes extra practice to be proficient at drawing your weapon from this position. And finally, when you are sitting down it can be very uncomfortable and in some cases your handgun can get caught on seats, if the back rest has opening in it. So there several limitations you must consider when wearing in the position.
In an article posted by Greg Ellifritz titled “STAND, MOVE, OR SEEK COVER…WHAT WORKS IN A GUNFIGHT? They found if you stood still during a shoot out there was an 85% chance you would get shot, if you moved it dropped to 47% and if you found cover it dropped to 26%. So as we all know, there is tremendous value in moving when the shooting begins. With that said, it is important and vital that you can access your weapon while you are moving and seeking cover. So it needs to be in a location that you can readily access in those situations.
Thus, I highly recommend that your personal protection handgun should be worn on your waist, where it is readily accessible no matter how compromised your position.
The last thing you want in a bad situation where you need to draw your weapon is to wonder whether it is going to function or not. Nothing can be scarier than not having confidence in your weapon. To prevent this from happening your must do a few things.
First, spend your time researching the firearm you think you might like to purchase, secondly, get lot of advice from seasoned experts and finally shoot the firearm before you buy it. Remember, the Manufacturer should be your first consideration, followed by Grip, Trigger Control, mag capacity are your main aspects of choosing your handgun. You can read my article on this site on “How to Choose the Best Personal Protection Handgun”. My top 4 personal protection handguns you may wish to explore are the Sig P320 compact, Sig M11-A1, Ruger SR9C, Glock 19 Gen 4. I firmly believe the Sig P320 is the best personal protection handgun on the market.
Secondly, get good training from a well qualified instructor. There are lots of firearms instructors out there, but there are very few good ones… Find a good one…. Then practice practice practice. Be exceedingly comfortable handling and shooting your firearm. Semi-automatic pistols can experience malfunctions due to not holding the gun’s frame firmly enough when shooting, which can allow the frame to move back at the same time the slide moves back. This is called “limp wristing” and it can happen to even strong men who have the wrong grip or arm position as they fire the gun. It is one of the last things you want to happen, so having a good grip is essential to functionality.
The discussion is always about what round is the best for personal protection based on the effectiveness of the bullet. I strongly endorse the 9mm round. Here are my reasons for that caliber, not necessarily in the order of importance, but as a sum total of all the factors.
It is the cheapest of all ammo so you are more likely to practice more.
Most 9mm handguns have larger capacity magazines than other calibers, so you have more rounds if you need them.
There are more handguns made in 9mm than any other caliber, so you are more likely to find one that fits your grip.
The lethality of a 9mm is the same as a .40 or .45 when a vital area is hit.
It is easy to manage the recoil and shoot thus you are more likely to hit your target.
The various sizes of 9mm make it an easy caliber to carry.
The second component of effectiveness is to get good training. To know the correct method for drawing from a holster, have an experienced instructor teach to the skills of safely drawing, presenting of your firearm, quick target acquisition and trigger control. In addition, you must learn the correct and safe means to reholster your handgun. There are numerous videos on Youtube that demonstrate great techniques for drawing from your holster. However, there is no better way to learn the skill than from a qualified instructor.
The most important aspect of effectiveness is practice. If you do not practice drawing from concealment, drawing from your purse, quickly acquiring your target and placing rounds accurately, then you are setting yourself up for failure if a bad situation should occur and you need to use your handgun. Practice creates confidence, helps you overcome fear, and builds muscle and mental memory; all important factors when dealing with a crisis situation.
So, in summary, concealed carry is not as easy as most folks assume it is. It requires you to take several aspects into consideration prior to putting conceal carry into action. Naturally, you hope you never had to access your handgun in response to bad situation. However, if you do, you want to be able to do safely, quickly and confidently.
The list of survival gear that achieves the hallowed description “Damn Near Perfect” is short. An item that attains this sacred survival title needs to possess several attributes (or one damned good one) that play in harmonious concert with each other to create a product that will enhance your life with minimal hassle while you are ensconced in stress-inducing environments. To that end, I hereby submit the addition of the Hybridlight PUC Solar LED Lantern to the annals of survival gear damn-near-perfection….and here’s why.
Making Light Of Darkness
Hybridlight has been making a name for itself producing rugged, high-quality outdoorsman/survival-oriented illuminating devices. The beauty of the products Hybridlight offers lies in their self-sustainability. You see, not only are Hybridlight flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns rechargeable via Micro USB port, but they also incorporate integrated solar panels that can top off the integral lithium-ion batteries. The icing on the cake is that most Hybridlight products also boast a standard USB port that you can use to charge other devices (even another Hybridlight product). While Hybridlight may not be the only company offering variations of such equipment, they are the company that produces the cleanest, most streamlined and well-thought-out products for their outdoors-oriented target audience. A quick perusal of their website will illuminate you as to the full breadth of Hybridlight’s product line – and it’s full of good stuff.
Getting to brass tacks, The Hybridlight PUC is a compact lantern system that offers warm, diffused area lighting when opened and expanded, as well as focused, beam-type lighting when the PUC is collapsed and screwed shut. The design of the PUC utilizes an integral, non-removable lithium-ion 4,000 mAh battery (think over twice the battery capacity of an iPhone 7) to power its LED bulb. The battery will, according to Hybridlight, hold a charge for seven years (!) continuously. The older model that I have boasts 75 lumens of illumination at its highest power setting; however I have noticed on Amazon that there looks to be a newer 150-lumen offering that uses the same power sources, but a smaller 2,000 mAh battery.
The “hybrid” portion of the moniker refers to its dual methods of charging its battery – the integrated solar panel, or the faster-charging, and water-resistant micro-USB port for direct charging from a wall-mounted or similar charger. Hybridlight thoughtfully includes a charging cord, but no wall charger – that end is on you. The two USB ports are protected from dust and water by a form-fitting rubber cover that stays put nicely and doesn’t pop off after repeated use. Three small indicator lights on the side of the PUC – between the USB ports and the simple rubber power button – show the level of charge in the battery, as well as the status of the current charging operation. A red light means the unit has access to light and is charging its battery. Green is full. Hybridlight claims that a full charge will allow 8 hours of continuous light at its highest, 75 lumen setting; up to 40 hours of illumination can be had if you can live with the lower output setting. A strobe function is also built into the Hybridlight for emergency signalling.
When collapsed shut, the 7-ounce Hybridlight PUC isn’t much larger than a hockey puck, being but two inches thick. However, a simple ¼” twist-and-pull motion will open the PUC up like an accordion bellows, bringing it to its full, still-compact height of just under 5 ½”. The walls of the lantern are made of a tough white plastic that protect the LED bulb, yet diffuse the emanating bright light to cut down glare and eliminate hotspots. If you’ve ever spent any time around a Coleman lantern running at full tilt, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that the glare reduction is a most welcome feature. A plastic lens sits on the opposite side of the solar panel to offer that 75 lumens as a projected flashlight-type beam when the whole works is collapsed down and locked shut.
A ridiculously tough, slightly grippy nuclear-yellow plastic exterior, a metal folding-away hanging hook and rubber “feet’ round out the list of standard options on the PUC. The unit is simple and clean, without a lot of silly options or unneeded accessories to detract from the PUC’s true purpose: to be an outstanding light source.
Borrowing Some Sunshine For Later Use
The addition of a solar panel to a lantern is a modern, brilliant solution that has come into play since the coming of age of miniaturized, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and efficient photovoltaic cells. The theory is simple and sound, and Hybridlight’s execution is splendid. A simple hexagon-shaped solar panel is inset into one flat of the PUC, with four small rubber feet accompanying, to keep the light up off the solar panel when being used as a stand-up lantern. The panel surface is very rugged, with the panel on my example only exhibiting minor scratches after a year of very frequent use. Drops and slight impacts have had no negative effects on the panel or its charging abilities.
Those abilities are activated automatically (no switch required) when the PUC is placed in sunlight. Obviously, the brighter the ambient sunlight, the faster the PUC recharges. While I don’t believe I’ve ever attained a full charge on sunlight (it takes several hours), I have yet to have the Hybridlight PUC run out of illumination juice – even when left on overnight for a nightlight or camp lamp. Plunking the PUC in the sunlight for most of the day seems to build up ample charge to power the light all night.
Of course, with the utilization of the Micro USB port, you can top off the batteries to ensure you’re leaving the house with a full charge for that extra warm ‘n’ fuzzy. On a recent wind-caused multi-day power outage here in Southern Maine, the Hybridlight PUC performed admirably, providing light for the whole family’s bathroom trips, living room reading, and outdoors excursions, while also performing double duty as a cellphone charger – and the PUC always had enough left over for all our light needs. Seriously impressive.
Charge of the Light Brigade
Using the USB charging feature is as simple as plugging in your USB cable to the two devices. During the aforementioned windstorm outage, the PUC happily supplied my family’s Android and Apple devices with enough juice to keep up to date on the weather or text friends. The PUC seemed to dole out the power at about 1% per minute or so (or 30% per half hour) on my wife’s iPhone 6S. Without daylight to top off the PUC’s batteries, the PUC will cut off the power to the charging function once it reaches 20% battery charge level. The remaining 20% is held in reserve so that the PUC will be able to provide illumination for some time before it can be charged again.
A teenager with their face constantly buried in a phone will be unhappy about the rate of charging and power supply of the PUC, but really, I was just fine with that. Maybe they’ll read a book and learn something once they get tired of whining. In reality, the PUC isn’t meant to be a high-volume charging station to keep a gamer happy; it’s at its best topping off a charge while on a hunting lunch break in the woods or when the power goes out.
Without a shred of hyperbole, I can look you straight in the eye and say that the Hybridlight PUC has revolutionized my portable light usage. No longer do I need to pack out a delicate and bulky Coleman lantern, with its frail mantles and extremely flammable fuel sources. Fifteen pounds of light and fuel has been replaced by a little 7-ounce collapsible yellow lantern. Camping with my young son? No worries on leaving him with a flashlight that burns up expensive batteries. Power outages? The Hybridlight PUC provides light at night for the whole family room for reading or board games – open flame candles not required. When performing nighttime or dark-area repairs on my vehicles, I don’t need to haul around a drop light that gets hot and lives off of extension cords; the PUC can hang off anything a drop light would. If it falls onto asphalt or concrete, it bounces instead of shatters. When I’m done with the PUC, I close it and place it solar panel up on a windowsill or dashboard for easy, no-brainer charging as the day goes on.
With the PUC, Hybridlight has eliminated the need for many different light sources around camp and around the house. While white gas or propane lanterns are still viable (and necessary!) illumination sources for the survivalist (I’m not sure how EMP-proof the PUC is…), the PUC requires no resources except sunlight, and it can provide power to charge cellphones, tablets, walkie-talkies, or other items you might deem essential in your life. Buy a $35 PUC for each member of the family, and save the fuels to power heaters and stoves.
Again, without exaggeration or paid-off confidence, I can tell you that the Hybridlight PUC is a game-changer if you ever plan on experiencing darkness – and from what I hear, most of us probably will. The PUC is, as I said, damn near perfect – and everyone ought to have one or ten. I dare you to make the minor investment on one and NOT sing its praises to your fellow man – especially when the power is nowhere to be found and you’re reading Survival Cache articles on your iPhone while basking in the glow of your solar-powered lantern.
Hello, my name is Drew, and I’m a concealed carrier. I want to stand up and admit to everyone that I perform a cardinal sin in the tacti-cool carry world – but I know a lot of you (probably) do it too. I find strength in numbers – solidarity! – so here goes: *deep breath* I carried a spare magazine for my EDC gun by throwing it in my weak-side front pants pocket. There, I said it.
Yes, I can feel the great disturbance in the force caused by millions of tattooed, appendix-carrying, Glock-19-with-RMR wielding pistol hipsters rolling their eyes at once. (Maybe I can alienate some more readers later.) Not only is it not terribly trendy to pocket carry a spare magazine loose, it’s admittedly not a great idea for a few reasons: Dirt, lint, and other items that are in your pocket can enter the magazine through the cartridge count holes or magazine feed opening and gum up the function of the magazine. The distinctive pistol magazine shape prints through the fabric of your pantaloons. The magazine re-orients itself constantly, since there is nothing in your bare pocket to keep it in place: one minute it can be sitting proper and vertical; a couple steps later, and the magazine has dropped down to lie horizontally with unknown cartridge orientation.
Once that happens, trying to extract the magazine (especially during a high-stress period of your life, for instance: someone shooting at you) is damned difficult at best, and requires concentration, patience and dexterity – three qualities that you may not be blessed with if you REALLY need that spare magazine. If you carry a flashlight clipped to the inside of your weak-side pocket, add scraped knuckles and swearing to the magazine retrieval process. It’s not a great system, but like I said, I’m sure many of you also pocket carry your spare magazine – at least you have the forethought to have the extra insurance with you.
But what if I told you that there is an easier, more reliable, and straight-up better way to pocket carry your spare magazines – and other items?
Salvation By Raven Concealment Systems
Raven Concealment Systems, a company hailing from Ridgeville, Ohio, has the perfect solution to this particular concealed carry malady: the Moduloader Pocket Shield. An odd-looking, shield-shaped polymer affair with a multitude of slots incorporated into the flat, you would never guess its purpose in life just by looking at it. However, the proudly USA-Made Pocket Shield is the perfect solution to low-profile pocket carrying and organizing EDC gear – knives, spare magazines, flashlights, even small pistols. It’s so simple you’ll feel stupid you didn’t think of it a long time ago.
The Moduloader Pocket Shield was designed by Chris Fry of MDTS Training, in conjunction with Raven Concealment Systems, to be able to retain a number of items in a fixed location while installed in your forward pants (or, upon further reflection, I suppose rear too) pocket. The slots allow the securing of any number of accessories to be mounted – MOLLE gear, Kydex holsters, clip-on accoutrements, screw-on accessories. Hell, you can even tie things to it – Raven Concealment provides line and a few Chicago screws for you to attach items to the Pocket Shield with. Your imagination, and the Moduloader Pocket Shield’s pocket-sized dimensions, are the only limitation you have for attachment possibilities.
The Pocket Shield is a flexible polymer that can be warped, bent, and moved around to conform to your pocket. It doesn’t have a memory per se to keep whatever shape you leave it in, but Raven Concealment Systems recommends wrapping a heavy rubber band around it (think breaking in a baseball glove) to help it keep a more curved, contoured shape.
Two hooked outer edges ensure the Pocket Shield grabs fabric and stays inside your pocket, even if you are performing a hasty emergency deployment of your pocket contents. If the provided shape doesn’t suit your needs, the unit can be cut and trimmed to your heart’s desire. Aesthetically speaking, the Pocket Shield follows the Henry Ford mentality – it comes in any color you want, as long as it’s black. (edit: it appears that Raven Concealment actually now offers Gray and Coyote Brown options as well.)
Setting up the Moduloader Pocket Shield
As stated before, the Pocket Shield is designed to be extremely adaptable, and can be fitted with any number of accessories. I personally wanted to be able to carry a spare magazine and a larger flashlight than my usual EDC Streamlight Microstream AAA flashlight. I set out researching accessory options that would best fit my needs.
I read about the Blue Force Gear Ten Speed mag pouch someplace – I don’t recall where – and the Ten Speed mag pouch was specifically listed as a great fit for the Moduloader Pocket Shield. The Ten Speed pouch is made from an elastic material that holds magazines and other are extracted. The Ten Speed mag pouch has a simple strap that can attach similarly to a MOLLE setup, and is retained by a hook and loop patch at its tag end. It sounded right up my alley, so I ordered one off Amazon -it set me back all of twenty dollars.
The Blue Force Gear Ten Speed pouch was indeed perfect for what I needed. The fastening strap weaved its way between the Pocket Shield’s slots, and fit perfectly, snugly. The spare 17-round magazine for my EDC Sig Sauer P320 Compact fit superbly in the pouch with perfect retention (single stack mags work too) – and there was room to spare for other goodies on the Pocket Shield.
In retrospect, I wish I’d ordered a double Ten Speed mag pouch so I could have some carry options – two spare mags, a magazine and a flashlight or larger folding knife, or flashlight and knife – or anything else I could stick in the little elastic pouch. I’ll have to remedy that someday.
As it is, the Blue Force Gear Ten Speed pouch and Raven Concealment Moduloader Pocket Shield are a dynamite EDC one-two punch. Having a spare magazine for my carry pistol and a Fenix TK20R 1000-lumen light make me feel better about life in general when the chips might be down.
Moduloading the Moduloader
So how well does this odd contraption work at its intended purpose? I have found, over the course of the past few months of using the Pocket Shield, that it works very well indeed. I keep the Moduloader Pocket Shield in my Grab ‘n’ Go pistol bag where my EDC Sig P320 and other always-with-me gear resides if it’s not on my body. When it’s time to load up, I know right where all my gear is, and I extricate it for body deployment…and the Pocket Shield is the easiest piece of kit to deploy. My spare magazine is already in the Ten Speed pouch, the Fenix flashlight is clipped on, ready to go. All that’s left is to grab the assembled unit, pinch it slightly to fit in the pocket opening, and push it right into your front pants pocket – good to go. Done.
Pulling the Pocket Shield out of one’s pocket isn’t quite so easy – those small retention spurs do a pretty danged good job at their intended purpose – namely, keeping the unit from popping out of the pocket. While that’s a desirable asset when quickly ripping out a needed reload, getting everything out at the end of the day is a wrestling match whose difficulty is directly proportional to the size of your pocket. If you wear cargo pants or BDUs, you’ll find that removing everything comes relatively easily. If you wear skinny jeans (and why would you?), you’ll need a prybar and probably a couple friends or a team of draft horses to extricate the Pocket Shield – that is, assuming you could even get it in your front pocket at all in the first place.
Is that a Moduloader in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?
I’ve been using the Moduloader Pocket Shield for several months now and have found that it fulfills its intended role admirably; here’s my take on utilizing it in daily use. It was weird at first. As someone who really hates carrying extra stuff in his pockets (including the loose spare magazine), it was mildly annoying carrying the extra bulk in that front pocket. As an added bonus, the bulk of the extra gear (spare P320 magazine and the aforementioned Fenix flashlight) in my pocket definitely made a pronounced bulge in my front pocket. It was awkward and foreign, but I stuck it out even though I was sure the gear in my pockets for stuck out….like a sore thumb.
I found with use that this resulting payload bulge needs to be put out of mind; 99% of the people you interact with or pass by won’t be looking at that one pocket. Besides, people carry license-plate sized cellphones, wallets, car keys,and other sundry items in their pockets; bulges or printing is present on almost everyone. The bulge in one’s front pocket resulting from a loaded Pocket Shield is much less expected than a spare magazine carrier on one’s belt – that sort of printing is harder to ignore and dismiss away.
Once I got over the fresh experience of a new, foreign method of carrying gear on my person, I began to really enjoy the Moduloader Pocket Shield and all it offered. I have one set up for pistol carry, and one set up with non-lethal options for areas when I can’t carry a pistol – the Fenix TK20R is still present, but a ASP Keychain Defender OC spray/kubaton takes the magazine’s place. There’s room for a multitool too, if I feel so inclined.
Wrapping it up… and stuffing it in your pocket
The Raven Concealment Moduloader Pocket Shield is a brutally simple and brutally effective way of adding extra gear to your EDC while keeping it accessible, organized, and well hidden. A couple extra accessories (such as a magazine pouch or flashlight holder) will make the usefulness of the Moduloader Pocket Shield’s utility skyrocket. The Moduloader Pocket Shield will set you back $24.99 through Raven Concealment’s website. A 3-pack is a deal at $59.99 (when they have them in stock!).
My favorite result of carrying a Raven Concealment Moduloader Pocket Shield is the sheer convenience of having a basic EDC kit ready to go at any given time. My carry pistol’s reload and a powerful flashlight can live in my nightstand drawer, ready to plop into my pants pocket without having to thread a still pistol belt through mag carriers and other Batman gear. When the day is over and I’m home, I simply extricate the Pocket Loader and payload out of my pocket, and place it in the drawer or in my go-bag, ready for the next day.
I’ve often found that simple items work best – and the Moduloader Pocket Shield is the essence of simplicity, ease of use, and sheer effectiveness at its intended job. Get you one and discover the new best way you never knew about to carry extra gear concealed.
Fiskars is a village in Finland that gave it’s name to a company back in 1649 owned by Dutch guy named Peter Thorwöste. Mr. Thorwöste started a blast furnace and forging operation that went from ironwork to copperwork and ultimately in 1832 cutlery in 1832. Cut to today. Fiskars is a household name for inexpensive and innovative cutting and chopping tools that often contain plastic components and bright orange colored accents. Oddly, or perhaps more a contradiction, the plastic-handled Fiskars hatchets and axes have a near rabid following on the scale of the all-steel Estwing choppers. I guess that’s proof that function trumps form.
By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache.com
At $25 plus or minus, the Fiskars X7 Hatchet is surprisingly effective. In fact, the hollow-handled X7 does something that almost no other hatchet can do: place a vast majority of the weight of the tool on the cutting head, yet be strong enough for real chopping. Hatchets are designed for one-handed operation, and as a chopping tool, there are two simple machines at work, but only one that requires mass. The handle is a lever that moves the rotational energy into a larger diameter circle of motion. That leverage is consolidated onto a weighted head in the shape of a wedge (two inclined planes base to base). The weighted momentum of the hatchet head is where the action is. When the blade (known as a bit) hits wood, the sharp end of the triangular head burrows into cellulous spreading apart the grain. If the wood wins, the bit stops. If the bit wins, the wood splits apart forever.
The shape of a hatchet head has a couple traits that tell the story of how well the tool will do particular jobs. Splitting hatchets like the Stihl go from narrow to wide very quickly to rapidly translate the vertical chopping motion into horizontal splitting motion. Compare that to modern tomahawks like the Estwing and the CRKTthat remain quite thin. Although a deep wedge will split rapidly, it loses speed into the workpiece almost immediately somewhat like a blunt instrument. The narrower the wedge, the deeper it cuts, so if your workpieces include things like animal carcass and human skulls, you might want some deeper penetration such as with the tomahawk. In the middle are the camp-style hatchet and axe heads that run general duty but are limited in their splitting and battle qualities.
The Fiskars X7 Hatchet is a solid performer for basic camp woodworking tasks especially when weight is at a premium. Its weight-forward design chops above its pay grade, and that with a total weight of only 22.75 ounces. The balance point on the Fiskars X7 Hatchet’s handle is about one inch south of the head. For reference, the balance point on a classic Estwing solid steel hatchet is about two inches south. The Estwing, by the way, has a handle about an inch shorter than the Fiskars X7 Hatchet, and weighs about seven ounces more.
One of the most unique features of the Fiskars X7 Hatchet is that its hollow plastic handle can be used for a mild survival kit. Just north of the excessive swelling at the base of the handle is a lanyard hole. The palm-side of the handle base is called a heel, with the finger side named the toe. The X7 has a very pronounced toe. So pronounced that I can hang the hatchet by the toe on the web of my hand (between thumb and index finger).
Back to the lanyard holes. There are actually a pair of them, one on each side of the emptiness. With 11 inches of emptiness filled with survive (I’ve taken to use the word “survive” as a noun lately), a bolt with wingnut or some other fastener can secure the tools within the grip. I’ve played around with different kit stuffed into the Fiskars X7 Hatchet handle including a half-dozen feet of paracord, a CRKT Pazoda folding knife, and a Swedish Fire Steel minus the cord and striker.
The Fire Steel fits rather snugly so I first inserted most of the paracord, then the knife, and then tied a loop of paracord on the Fire Steel with a small section of paracord sticking out the bottom of the handle. A bolt and wingnut secure the kit. When extracting the kit, once the bolt is removed, the paracord is pulled popping out the Fire Steel and the rest comes tumbling out. The paracord is also an effective noise dampener for rattling objects since the hollow plastic tube of a handle resonates sound quite well.
Another option for fun is to drop a trio of orange Bic lighters into the handle followed by a little tinder to snug things up. Add the bolt, and you’ve got a fire kit. Of course this route is more orange than function. While I’ve not had personal experience with a Fiskars handle shattering in the cold, I have heard such tales. I’ve also see pictures of broken Fiskars hatchets and axes. Fiskars is known for great warranty service, but ideally you shouldn’t have to use it. Another concern is that if the handle does become useless, the design of the Fiskars X7 Hatchet head is more like the primitive stone axe heads that contained no eye (hole through which a handle is inserted). Instead, to reclaim the cutting prowess of the hatchet, any handle remnants still attached to the head would need to be removed, and the head could then be lashed onto a branch or wedged into a split stick and tied in place.
The chance of handle breakage increases as the temperature drops and the handle length increases. The “FiberComp®” plastic material is surprisingly durable and the tube design is probably stronger than a solid plastic or fiberglass handle. Further, solid handles of steel and fiberglass are known for effectively transmitting the shock of a wood strike directly to the nerves in your hands and arms.
The bit is coated with a non-stick film somewhat like a frying pan. This allows the hatchet head to penetrate further into the workpiece, and slide out backwards with less effort. The factory edge is plenty sharp to use right out of the box, but I did manage to chip it with less effort than usual. The Fiskars X7 Hatchet has a traditional compound bevel edge meaning the approach to the edge is smooth but just before reaching the edge, there is a sharper drop angle to the edge proper. This double bevel is fairly easy to sharpen second only to the flat bevel where there is only one angle.
I also felt the edge dulled faster than some of the convex and traditional bit grinds, but that could also be the steel. However, when I used an axe sharpening puck to clean up the damage, it took much longer than my carbon steel axes and hatchets. But the Fiskars X7 Hatchet was back in service in no time since we are only talking a few minutes.
The widest metal on the head of the Fiskars X7 Hatchet is only five-eighths of an inch. While the narrowness reduces this tool’s splitting capabilities, it does boost its knife-like fine motor skill duties. With a hand wrapped around the head, it’s easy to feather sticks for fire starting, and process fish and game. Although the Fiskars X7 Hatchet is not anywhere near what I would consider an heirloom hatchet, it is a workhorse, and an inexpensive one at that.
The concept for the Designated Marksman Carbine or DMC has been around for awhile now, but not in the pure DMC form. Instead it was either hopping up a 5.56mm to maximums, or dumbing down a larger cartridge so it could be shot effectively off-hand. To really capitalize on the Designated Marksman Carbine concept, I had to do it myself to ensure the spirit of the DMC was in play for my imagined needs. The Designated Marksman Rifle or DMR is a middle ground between a battle rifle and a sniper rifle.
By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache.com
It is usually a semiautomatic in the pattern of the M16 or AR15 rather than a bolt action hardstock version that could be mistaken for grandad’s hunt’n rifle. Almost. The removable box magazine options of the DMR allow a larger capacity than bolts, and the manual of arms is often nearly identical to the battle rifle like the M4A or the SOCOM 16.
The DMR is an accurate long distance shooter when compared to a battle rifle built with a 16-inch or shorter barrel. But compared to the 24-inch barreled sniper rifle, the DMR is a medium distance shooter with near-MOA accuracy out to 500 meters any day of the week and 800 meters on Sunday. But the DMR is not without it’s issues. First and foremost, it is yet another rifle to ruck around the battlefield. And second, it requires a DM or designated marksman to operate with it. A third issue that may or may not be of concern is that the DMR usually takes a different larger cartridge compared to the battle rifle with accompanying need for different mags, different bore brushes, and it is likely mounted with a heavy optic that prevents fast operation in close quarters.
Just as the DMR ran interference between the carbine and the sniper rifle, I saw a need in my personal preparation for something that closed the gap between the AR15 carbine, and the bolt action hunting (think sniper) rifle capable of reaching half a mile with enough energy to make the trip worthwhile. While the 55 grain .223 round can reliably touch targets at 700 yards, it won’t make much of a statement when it’s get there. Even if the 5.56mm bullet extracts its pound of flesh, its effectiveness is limited to flesh and not hide, leather, canvas, plastic, glass, wood, sheet metal, and especially not sheet metal. At 800 meters, the .223 bullet drops into double digit energy. That’s almost a 90% drop compared to the energy the .223 has at 100 yards and might even be less than a traditional .22 long rifle at 100 yards!
Contradiction as Opportunity
So while the need for a Designated Marksman Carbine seems obvious, I’ve found many of the off-the-shelf AR10 (.308 in an AR pattern) carbine rifles to be less reliable than I’ll tolerate. I don’t live on the gun range, and don’t imagine that a dark future will have covered bays or sunny days on the square range. Therefore, any AR10 in my preps will need to be above average and with hand-picked Designated Marksman Carbine components.
In a nutshell, the AR10 I built up started with a matched pair of Mega Arms upper and lower receivers with the Mega Arms nickel-boron finish. The receivers are named the Maten presumably for “Mega Arms Ten” instead of AR10. Umm. Whatever. I was hoping the Maten was some exotic jungle dwelling apex predator that captured prey at long distance.
The parts that matter include a single stage CMC drop-in flat-shoe trigger set at 3.5 pounds, and locked in place with anti-roll pins. An Aero Precision stainless steel 16” barrel with matching Aero Precision bolt with phosphate finish. The handguard is a smooth round aluminium beauty from Unique AR, a McCall, Idaho based ARtisan company that makes CNC artwork where a boring quad rail used to live. For a build like this Designated Marksman Carbine I wanted a smooth round handguard to allow for an unobstructed rest when on rough or non-level surfaces.
A rifle is only sighted in as well as it’s held level. A perfect vertical alignment between optic, barrel and gravity is imperative if you want to know with certainty if the bullet will hit is mark. Since the optic is not affected by the pull of the earth, but the bullet is, sighting in a long gun means dialing in the intersection between cross-hairs and bullet drop (or rise) while holding gravity as a constant. Like shooting a basketball towards a distant hoop, the arc of the projectile’s flight whether ball or bullet is only as precise as it’s vertical alignment with gravity. If a rifle is tilted, the arc is at an angle to the direct force of gravity so the accuracy is compromised. For close shots, the difference is minimal but still, the offset iron sights should be on target for a 45 degree counter-clockwise rifle rotation of the rifle.
Back to the round handguard, when a railed handguard is placed on a compromising surface, it either tugs the rifle in a rotational direction as it searches for stability, or balances precariously on a point causing the rifle to teeter back and forth. A round handguard can sit still on many surface shapes.
For those shots where a bipod is prefered, a bipod is available. Sitting out near the muzzle, it usually won’t interfere when not active, but the free-floating barrel allows the bipod to be at the furthest point away from the stock providing a rock-solid platform on such a short marksman sight radius.
Rounding out the other end of the Designated Marksman Carbine is a Magpul UBR or Utility Battle Rifle stock. What makes this an Unusual Buttstock Replacement (UBR?) is that the cheek weld remains fixed and only the shoulder pad section moves. The two benefits of this design are, first the position of face to sight (cheek weld) remains constant regardless of the position of the stock. And second, the lockup of the stock in any position absolutely rivals a fixed stock in solidity and quietness. Of course that does come with a bit of a weight increase, but it’s not as bad as it seems given that the UBR comes with its own buffer tube.
In the middle of muzzle and stock is a Leupold 3x-9x tactical scope on a Mark 2 integrated mount. The premise behind integrated or single stage mounts is that the scope has only one large point of contact with the rifle rather that dual scope rings. Dual rings can work great and are the staple of hunting rifles, but in that case the scope was not to be removed unless another sight-in session was possible. Integrated mounts like this Leupold maintain zero much better, and can cross rail lines between receiver and handguard if necessary without much if any loss in accuracy. In the case of this Designated Marksman Carbine, the Leupold mount resides completely on the upper receiver rail. If you scope has long eye relief you might have push it further down the barrel crossing real estate lines that can introduce alignment disputes.
Since the point of the Designated Marksman Carbine is to manage the territory between 300 and 800 meters with enough dignity to bother with, the .308 Winchester seems a perfect round. It’s almost as common as the 7.62 NATO, and just as good. Plus it’s one of the most common rounds available surpassed only by the 9mm, .223/5.56, and perhaps the 12 gauge. In other words, don’t worry about availability. But if you want something smaller like a 6.5 whatever, or larger like a .33x, I won’t be able to share ammo with you. And likely nobody else will either. That said, I appreciate the finer nuances of the recent calibers and cartridges for long range shooting, but there is no room in the Designated Marksman Carbine concept for nuances.
Magpul is THE source for magazines, providing a mild choice of capacity and color for the AR10 platform. With cartridges as large at the .308, weight adds up literally twice as fast compared to the .223. A boxmag of twenty .308 rounds is about the same as a box of forty .223s. Further, the size of a container holding noticeable and anything longer will mess up the rifle’s ability to move freely when bipod or resting low. This is the reason that hunting rifles and most sniper pipes don’t use or even have so-called high cap mags. Accuracy trumps volume every time. However, the Designated Marksman Carbine is not a ridiculous choice for CQB and janitorial work, but it is near the threshold of overkill and awkwardness. So considering a more-than-20 .308 mag is not foolish, just not as practical as it might seem.
Cans, suppressors, silencers, regardless of what you call them, they are an excellent idea for many reasons. With a noticeable reduction in the loudness of a rifle shot, there is also a reduction in stresses on the trigger pull from flinching and apprehension. Setting off a 60,000 PSI explosion inches from your face is bad enough, but a literally defining concussion is something to be avoided. The can on this Designated Marksman Carbine has a muzzle brake built in that really does noticeably reduce recoil to a pleasant level. With a recoil impulse up to four times more than a .223, while not scary for most shooters, it certainly is not enjoyable. Recoil is just a fact of life so lessening that fact is always a welcome change.
Home on the Range
Mobility is a key to Designated Marksman Carbine success so building a go kit for the Designated Marksman Carbine was the next logical step. As a carbine with collapsible stock, the entire rifle and bipod minus the can easily fits into a 36-inch gun case, the 5.11 Vtac MK II Double Rifle Case in particular for this project. Thirty-six inches is just a yardstick. It’s barely noticeable in the big picture.
Rather than a tube or pouch-type gun case, the 5.11 Vtac MK II Double Rifle Case completely unzips along three of the four sides turning it into a 36” by 24” range mat. Not as good a as a dedicated mat, but far better than nothing and much better than a tarp.
Other additions to the Designated Marksman Carbine Go-Kit include a Leatherman MUT multitool for the AR platform, a wind speed meter, A Sig KILO 2400 Ballistic Rangefinder (with Applied Ballistics/SIG app on iPhone), a flashlight that can turn on in lowest mode (non-tactical), a camo baseball cap, and ear protection. And on the ear pro side, if possible I carry electronic ear muffs that can amplify the local sounds and take a radio input if needed. Regular earplugs/earmuffs block all sounds to a degree so it easy to miss things like someone sneaking up on you. Amplifying the sounds through electronic earmuffs is truly a bionic upgrade. They ate also a go-to for inhouse personal protection when you really want to hear those bumps in the night.
Another addition to the go package is a tarp of 3-D camo material. Behaving as a ghillie suit for a prone shooting position, the tarp is a quick and versatile concealment option that runs double duty as a hunting blind as well. Gearing up for when it matters is never inexpensive or flawless. Choices have to be made, and money must be spent. Moving forward on your preparation plan ends in action. All the best intents will be meaningless if there is no action before the deadline.
There is a reason that knives are lumped into named categories, and that is because the knife profile of that particular category has been honed (pardon the pun) over decades or even hundreds of years. Whether cutlass or cleaver, Bowie or barlow, choice of shape, thickness, blade steel, edge, and hardness have all been chosen to support the mission of the knife. But what happens when a knife design crosses between categories? Well, compromises have to be made, and the user of such a tool must work within the constraints of those limitations. An such is the case with the Camillus Carnivore.
By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache.com
The Camillus Knife Company has been in business, in name anyway, since 1896. It has been a supplier of many military contracts including the famous four-blade folder used by U.S. Forces. Basically is it a metallic version of the iconic Boy Scout pocket knife. While Camillus might push the All American Company image, it cannot claim all American made. Most of the product line seems to be made in China now, with a few high dollar blades forged in upstate New York. The Acme United Corporation, an even older conglomerate, bought Camillus in 2009 rolling it into their portfolio of “innovative cutting, first aid, and sharpening products.” So much so was the innovation that in 2011 Camillis signed up with world famous survivalist Les Stroud, aka Survivorman, to design and market survival tools. However the Camillus Carnivore, as yet, is not one of them.
By combining the traits of a large machete-like blade with that of a diverse survival knife, the Camillus Carnivore can run double duty as long as you abide by the rules of limitation. Most machete-sized edged tools utilize a spring steel of moderate hardness (or softer hardness to use an oxymoron) that gives great physical flexibility and ease of sharpening. Stainless steels, on the other hand, don’t like to be bent, and resist the sharpening stone more aggressively than carbon steels. In the case of the Camillus Carnivore, a “Titanium bonded” stainless steel, presumably a 440 Chinese variety. The bonded property presumably is an inexpensive way of hardening the very edge of the blade. It is common among disposable edges like razor blades, but presents issues with actual hand knives in that the resharpenability of the blade is more difficult. But that might not really be an issue with a knife like the Camillus Carnivore since it seem to be more of a here-and-now survival tool that might have limited use in the long term. But it was never designed as such, nor should you expect it too. That’s the difference between a $25 knife and a $250 knife. Both work as advertised.
For a large blade that sells for between $20 and $30, one should not have high expectations for the handle. And with the Camillus Carnivore, you might be surprised…or not. The grip of the Carnivore is hard plastic covering with an exposed tail section that ensures that all accurate pounding will skip the grip and focus the force completely on the blade. That’s a good thing, and something I’ve stressed with expensive knives like most of the Fallkniven variety.
The featured-filled blade has multiple tools from it’s long sharp edge, to the gut hook/cord cutter, to the tanto-esk blade end, to the serrated saw section, to the prybar tip. But it that very tip that has created some of the issues that has given the Camillus Carnivore more than its share of negative reviews in the past. Remember that difference between spring steel and stainless? Well a blade of stainless does not like to be used in a prying fashion and tends to snap rather than bend. A spring steel blade might go up to a 90 degree bend before giving up. So some users of the Camillus Carnivore bent the prybar, which is easy given the foot between the handle and wedged tip, thus snapping the blade and then lopping a whole pile of stars off their review.
Another defect that isn’t is the inability of the tip to penetrate. I figured the case, but in the field I repeatedly tried to puncture a rusty tin can. No go. But you could say it more of a feature than a bug. By providing a solid prying surface, in order to avoid tip breakage, there best not be a tip to break. And thus had the Camillus Carnivore. A blunt-nosed long-beaked cutting/chopping tool.
My field tests of two versions of the Camillus Carnivore, the X and the XZ, in two different lengths, has proved them worth their price. As choppers they both excel and the blade-forward weight provides a great platform for aggressive and precision wood striking. Of course, the blade works well for blade stuff like cutting and slicing as long as it’s sharp.
Surprisingly, the sawback of the Camillus Carnivore really does work well as a saw. I’ve tried many other saw-back blades including Gerber, SOG and others, but most fail spectacularly. They cut no better than a serrated knife, and mostly just scrape the wood and clog their teeth.
As a survival tool, the Camillus Carnivore is worthy of bug out bag carry. Not everything has to be heirloom quality and serve the next generation with the same vigor as a decade ago. So for a unique edged chopping hand tool that you will use within its limitations, then the Camillus Carnivore is one to consider. Seriously.
In today’s prepping survival marketplace there are many choices of fire starting tools. Fires can be ignited by using a variety of these available tools by using many different techniques. The bottom line though is to have a reliable fire starting implement that you can count on to get you a blaze started under all kinds of conditions. This tool can do that.
Brand new to the market to the point that sales packaging is not yet even complete, the Clickspring Fire Piston actually uses old school technology that has been around for some time. In this new tool fire starting is delivered by a precision machined tool constructed of aluminum and brass.
The Origin of Clickspring
If you want a lot of background information on this new product, your search may leave you with more questions than answers, but that does not impact the quality or function of the Clickspring Fire Piston.
The company or founding name Clickspring oddly comes from a home shop project development machine shop whose primary focus is on clock making. The proprietor “Chris” creates the home shop project videos that you can watch on YouTube.
Firing up the Clickspring
You’ll need access to a computer or device that can dial up the YouTube video that shows you how to start a fire using the Clickspring Fire Piston. The package I received for this product review contained no written instructions, no owner’s manual or a parts list. All that is described in the video. I can only assume once the final packaged product hits the market it will contain the necessary written information to learn to use it.
Though I could not ever get the sound working on the video thank goodness it came with subtitles, otherwise I would have been lost. It is not an intuitive use tool, primarily because it is a specialty precision engineered device. I had to watch the video several times to get the full orientation on it.
The fire piston uses a forceful thrust of air that is heated by a fast pump on the piston inside the chamber tube or body of the tool. There are seals forward and aft on the end of the piston rod that allows the pressure to rise as the rod is thrust forward down the tube. Apparently this rise in pressure creates the heat that ignites the tiny piece of pre-burned char cloth inserted into the forward end of the piston rod.
Once the piston rod is quickly thrust down the tube this ignites the char cloth which then glows red as an ember. The end of the rod with the ember is then held to the remaining piece of the char cloth to ignite it. Then this glowing char cloth is inserted into a wad of quick fire starting fodder such as a wad of dry grass, leaves or other materials that will start to burn. From there the fire is tended and built up as usual.
Tool Shop Specs
The Clickspring Fire Piston is milled or precision turned from brass and aluminum. Both end caps are brass. The tube is aluminum. The threaded brass end holds a small liquid filled compass which is a handy item. This cap is drilled though to hold a piece of lanyard material that is 700mm in length and a sliding brass keeper to tighten around the wrist or other holding spot. This threaded cap end screws down onto the threated end of the tool body or tube.
The opposite end of the tube is where the brass piston rod with recessed dimple in the end of the rod holds the char cloth fits. This is inserted into the tube and held in place by the pressure created by the seals when the screw on end is in place. Caution here. If the opposite end screw cap is screwed down tightly, then the piston rod will not insert because of the pressure created by the seals on the rod. Once you handle it a few times you will quickly get the hang of how it all goes together and works. Again, watch the play-by-play video.
The Clickspring Fire Piston - YouTube
The overall length of the Clickspring Fire Piston is just 5.35 inches long. The outside diameter of the assembled tube unit is 0.75 inches. It weighs a mere 5.6 ounces. The entire unit is quite compact and easy to store in a Bug Out bag, vehicle glove compartment, backpack or cargo pants pocket. The Clickspring Fire Piston retails for $89 and can be ordered on Amazon.
Trigger Alert: This article is about a very big knife. If that scares you, then click here. March 6, 1836 was a bad day for Jim Bowie. In fact the two weeks prior weren’t much better since the small mission building in which Jim and a hundred others took a stand was under attack. Remember the Alamo? But long before that fateful Sunday morning James Bowie was famous for his knife prowess whether true or not. In 1827 Bowie (pronounced BOO-ee) was involved in a skirmish known as the Sandbar Fight where Jim Bowie essentially won a gunfight with a knife. A very large knife. And, as they say, the rest is history.
By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache.com
Modern Sporting Knife
The Bowie Knife is a pattern much like the AR15 is a pattern. The so-called Bowie Knife is general form with some characteristics, but there is no one type of Bowie, nor any particular feature that makes or breaks a Bowie Knife. In general a Bowie Knife is a large blade, something eight or more inches, an overall length more than a foot, a crossguard separating the blade from the handle, and a clip point blade tip. Finally, there is the appearance of a false edge running along the top of the blade from tip through a curve ending at the spine proper. The false edge may or may not be sharpened, and thus the Bowie might cut both ways. Today, however, most Bowie Knives are not sharpened on the upper portion of the blade due to weapons laws in many jurisdictions. But originally as a fighting knife, that was the point.
The origin of the Bowie Knife is a little tangled in lore and opinions. Even the facts depend upon which story you subscribe to. But in the end, and even with all the unknowns, the Bowie Knife is one of the most recognizable and famous blades in the world. And just as the initial Bowie Knives were evolving and upgrading as each one was pounded into existence on the blacksmith’s anvil, the Bowie is evolving even today some 187 years after James Bowie brought a wooden model of his ideal knife to an Arkansas blacksmith named, of all things, James Black who then pounded Bowie Knife life into an old file. So a blacksmith named Black made a Bowie for Bowie. Even more, David Bowie, the famous rock star, took his stage name “Bowie” from the knife because, as David noted in an interview, the Bowie Knife “Cuts both ways.”
In addition to the famous Rambo blades of Hollywood fame, the silhouette of the Bowie Knife can be found in real life in the popular Buck 119 hunting knife, the famous leather-handled USMC KA-BAR fighting knife, and in a smaller form factor, the SOG Seal Elite, Seal Pup and their multitude of versions. However, the rich history of Bowie Knives and its variants are pretty much still using historical designs and antique blade technology. Until now, that is. At the moment, the most modern, the most durable, and the sharpest Bowie Knife in the world is the Fällkniven MB or Modern Bowie.
Although Jim Bowie did not travel much beyond the southern territories of a fledgling United States, the Bowie Knife is a worldwide phenomenon and therefore fair game for all knife makers. But with that fame comes a majority of so-called “Bowies” that are more art than substance, or those versions that substitute size for quality. For Fällkniven to produce such a monster knife rich in American history and then to openly name it a Modern Bowie takes guts. And confidence. So I’m very happy to announce that the Fällkniven Modern Bowie truly honors Jim Bowie and adds yet more cutting magic and lore to the never ending supply of tall tales that Bowie Knives generate. I certainly intend to add my own Bowie adventures to the story line.
The MB version is not completely new for Fällkniven, but in fact building on both their large Northern Lights series of knives crossed with their professional survival knives. An NL1 crossed with an A1 Pro to be more specific. And the result is bigger, thicker, and certainly badder. The Modern Bowie, abbreviated MB by Fällkniven, is a true Muscle Blade (abbreviated MB by me) . Borrowing heavily from the Survival Pro series, the MB including cobalt steel, a convex edge, a protruding tang, and a Thermorun handle. Even the presentation box and included DC4 diamond sharpener are straight out the Pro playbook. However, three notable deviations with the Modern Bowie include a larger, thicker handle, a double sided guard, and a mild index finger groove just aft of the stainless steel crossguard.
Dynamite in the Hand
The balance of the Fällkniven Modern Bowie is exceptional. The grip provides both the comfort and control necessary to wield such a large blade with elegance and precision. This is especially important since a key feature of the Bowie concept is a sharp and deadly point effective for stabbing and piercing. In reality the point of the clip point blade is to move the blade point lower and more line with the grip when thrusting the knife like a sword. Unfortunately the clipped nature (almost like a bite (clipped) was taken out of the spine of the blade) causes some limitations in daily work. Fällkniven preserved the spirit of the Bowie clip point but tempered it with the wisdom learned from the A1 Pro blade.
The brute thickness of the Fällkniven MB is a staggering 7.4mm or a few hundredths shy of a third of an inch! The blade length is a full 10 inches and the overall length of the Modern Bowie exceeds 15 inches. Fällkniven’s laminated cobalt steel uses an incredible edge steel sandwiched between durable and stain resistant stainless steel faces. Laminated steel can be much stronger than solid steel. Fällkniven also uses its famous convex edge profile adding further strength and sharpness to its world class supersteel composition. Add a beefy stainless steel crossguard that is effective without being a tripping hazard, a swollen Thermorun grip, and a full tang that is bigger than some knives and you have a Muscle Blade worthy of proudly wearing the name Bowie.
Bring It On
The Fällkniven Modern Bowie cuts with dangerous impunity whether a small task or massive challenge. While the Modern Bowie sadly lacks as a canoe paddle, it does chop wood like a beast, and behaves very well when batoning. You can shave arm hair with care, and clear brush with reckless abandon. You can lunge and slope and long point without embarrassment, but when the MB is sheathed on your belt you will be conspicuous.
The Modern Bowie is a vastly different experience than carrying the Fällkniven A2 Wilderness Knife. In fact the MB is almost as large as the A2 is when inside its overbuilt leather sheath. And the MB is certainly longer. The A2 seems a perfectly reasonable camp knife when compared to the Modern Bowie, yet in proximity of popular knives the A2 is eye-openingly large on its own.
The sheath the Fällkniven Modern Bowie sleeps in is a four-layer double stitched leather dangler that would double as a canoe paddle. Perhaps that’s what Mr. Bowie wanted given that swinging a two pound sharpened steel blade back and forth in the water might be a dumb idea. The blade slides into the sheath in either edge direction, and the single leather snap strap is reversible by rotating it vertically. The stern end of the sheath has two grommet holes that are necessary for using a leg strap which is not a bad idea for field work since the Modern Bowie dangles just north of my knee. On the A2 sheath, there are also two grommet holes on each end of the insertion slot of the sheath. On the MB sheath, east and west of the insertion slot are removable screw bolts opening similar holes but without grommets presumably for some more creative mounting options.
The Third Century
Knives claiming to be Bowies range in price from $10 to $10,000 with the extremes for show only. To get a Bowie that actually performs like the Bowie you will need to spend something much closer to four figures than two. The Fällkniven MB Modern Bowie is a brand new knife with deep and rich history. If you have a weakness or need for a Bowie-class knife, then the MB should be your starting point. And for everyone else, the Bowie Knife will be waiting right here for you just as it has for the past two centuries.
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