SHTF Planning: 7 Ways to Use The Items Around You To Adapt and Survive

“It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.”
– Charles Darwin

Editor’s Note: Being prepared for a disaster doesn’t necessarily require you spending thousands of dollars on gear. While it’s certainly a good idea to have reserve food stores, water sources, self defense armaments, and other supplies, it’s also important to keep in mind that all of your best laid plans can very quickly fall apart. Should that situation befall you the only option you’ll have left is to use that which God has given you, and one key gift we’ve all received is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.  It’s what makes us human. During a high-stress emergency we’ll quickly realize that random items, perhaps even trash, may mean the difference between life and death. In the following article Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition and author of The Prepper’s Cookbook highlights several mundane items that are easily accessible, but can be fashioned in various ways to help you thrive in the midst of crisis. From broken down washing machine parts that can be used for creating electricity to soda cans that will keep you warm in the middle of winter, necessity will very much be the mother of invention. 

shtf-adaptIn a critical emergency, how quickly we respond to a disaster directly impacts how successful we are at coming out of the situation. Many of us typically go through a processing phase, or what many call the normalcy bias. This bias is actually a coping mechanism that occurs when we are trying to register and sort out a traumatic event or impending disaster. It is very natural to slip into this phase – but getting out of it is takes a little longer. The reason being is we are creatures of habit and resist change at every turn. When we begin to come out of the normalcy bias, only then do we open our eyes to the changes that have occurred in our lives; and we must react to them. Sometimes these changes are short-lived and sometimes, depending on the disaster, will be long lasting. Our military forces train for reacting quickly in a situation, and we must train for this as well.

Having a plan and a supply of food is well and good. If you need a good place to start, I suggest using the 52 Weeks to Preparedness series. It’s the skills and ingenuity that will help you thrive and stay alive.

As much as I do not like to spew doom, mark my words – after a disaster, times will quickly change, and the sooner we can adapt, the better our chances at survival will be. One of the first things we should do following a disaster (assuming the danger has passed and everyone is safe) is to begin to see how everyday items can be used as tools for off-grid living. A simple credit card or a busted cell phone can go a long way in surviving an emergency. We can easily find items around our home to promote our security and wellbeing.

7 Ways to Use Items To Adapt and Survive

  1. Gravity fed water filter - Water is key to survival and your number one priority when all hell breaks loose. When you drink unpurified water, it can cause severe illnesses, even death. If you haven’t invested in a water filtration system, then you need to learn how to purify water for consumption. Here are instructions for the most basic type of water filtration system. It’s so easy to make, it’s an elementary school project!
  2. Rope – Rope or paracord can serve multiple purposes in off grid living. Read about the 50+ ways to use paracord toward surviving. One of my favorite uses is to line dry clothing.
  3. Busted motors – Essentially any motor with a copper wire can be converted into an energy producer. You could easily convert your washing machine into windmillto make power. This is an essential skill to have for surviving a long term emergency.
  4. Stationary bikes - Did you ever think that stationary bikes could help to promote your self sustainability? Attaching your wheat grinder to your stationary bike by a pulley will help you put the peddle to the metal and grind grains more efficiently. Here are few additional ways to produce energy using a bicycle.
  5. Passive solar heater - We tend to think of solar heating as an expensive option, but with a few 2×4′s and a stash of soda cans you can create a passive solar heater. This could be a life saving item if you find yourself living in a grid down environment in a cold climate. Here are some basic instructions for building this.
  6. Cellular phones – As mentioned previously, cell phones have many uses in a survival situation. If your phone is still intact, you can download survival programs now (some are even for free) to learn and practice in your free time. However, if your phone is busted during a disaster there are core parts that can be utilized towards your survival. Some of these parts are the speaker, LCD screen, metal divider, wire, circuit board and battery. Read more on how you can meet some of your basic needs.
  7. Biomass briquettes – Your trash could save your life. Biomass briquettes are a green fuel source and are comprised of compressed organic compounds such as corn husks, coconut shells, grass clippings, dried leaves, saw dust, cardboard or paper. Biomass fuel sources are equivalent to that of common fuel sources and can be inside or in outside settings. Learn how to make them.

If you have any ideas you’d like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

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Prepper's Cookbook

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Sniper Basics For The SHTF Survivalist

Editor’s Note: The following primer for Survivalist Snipers is a must-read (and implement) for anyone who is serious about preserving their life and liberty in the event of a worst-case scenario. Brandon Smith of Alt-Market.com has generously contributed his time and energy to developing this guide and sharing it with our community.

sniper image2(Pictured: Alt-Market.com founder Brandon Smith)

God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best - Voltaire

For a long time sniper tactics have been consider by many, even in the military, to be akin to a kind of state designated “murder” rather than a legitimate combat strategy. Only in recent years has sniping achieved a certain level of recognition. Centuries of warfare have passed in which snipers were happily recruited for their skills, and then quickly swept under the rug and forgotten once conflict was over. Daniel Morgan and his crack-shot riflemen were instrumental in America’s revolutionary victory over the British. U.S. sharpshooters rained hell down on German troops from over 900 yards during WWI. Snipers have dominated the battlefield in every modern conflagration. Yet, regimented sniping schools were not standardized in the U.S. Army until 1987. All previous schools were abandoned within a few years of their establishment.

Why did it take so long for the sniper to be recognized as essential to victory? Perhaps because snipers are TOO effective, to the point that they become frightening to the establishment.

During the Finnish “Winter War” against the Soviet Union in which they were vastly outnumbered and outgunned, guerrilla tactics, which they called “Motti tactics”, were used to excellent effect. The Finnish devastated the Soviets using hit and run attacks, homemade and improvised weapons, and snipers. The most famous of these snipers was Simo Hayha.

Simo was a common farmer with a diminutive stature of only 5 feet 3 inches tall. His shooting prowess was honed as a hunter in the wilderness of Finland. Simo is credited with over 505 (official) kills, including several teams of Soviet counter-snipers sent specifically to eliminate him. These kills were made during less than 100 days of combat, meaning Hayha engaged and destroyed 5 targets per day by himself. Known as the “White Death”, Simo would finally be removed from the battlefield by a lucky shot from an explosive tipped rifle round to the face while holding off a Soviet advance; he would wake up later in a Finnish hospital at the very end of the war and die of old age in the year 2002.

Simo Hayha proved once and for all the effectiveness of a single shooter in the face of a more powerful opponent. This kind of attrition warfare stopped the more technologically advanced Russians in their tracks, and ended their pursuit of total invasion. The poorly armed Finish prevailed despite all odds.

Sniper training turns a simple rifleman into a weapon of long range mass destruction, which is probably the reason why most governments around the globe have been reluctant until recently to educate more than a handful of soldiers on sniping methods. Hypothetically, a team of snipers could be dangerous enough to topple the political leadership (or oligarchy) of any given nation with nothing more than a few finely tuned rifles and a couple boxes of high caliber rounds.

Governments, fearful of being outdone by such low-tech adversaries, have gone to great lengths in an attempt to negate the sniper as a threat. Night vision, thermal vision, sound detection equipment, gas attacks, white phosphorous attacks, even large scale artillery barrages and laser guided missiles have not been able to stop snipers from remaining as a primary combat tool. Snipers always find a way around existing defenses, no matter how high tech. This is why sniper techniques are one of the ultimate strategies for self defense of the common citizenry usually disarmed of military grade weaponry.

I often hear skepticism when discussing the concept of long range combat techniques for survivalists. People ask why survivalists should even bother with sniper methods? How would they identify legitimate targets that present a tangible threat from such a distance? And, don’t most firefights occur within a range of 50 yards or less?

These questions come generally from inexperience with the methodology and the training. Sniper tactics are as much about reconnaissance as they are about precision shooting. Scoping and identifying targets before they pull the trigger is 90 percent of their job, and they tend to do it well. Unless they happen to work for the ATF or the FBI, usually, snipers are required to evaluate targets before engagement rather than firing on anything unlucky enough to stumble into their crosshairs. This process is just as applicable to the survival sniper as it is to an Army or Marine sniper.

In terms of common combat ranges, it is true that most military engagements occur in close quarters, but this is due more to the manner in which standard militaries conduct operations. Armies with superior numbers and technology PREFER to use shock and awe and CQC in order to quickly overwhelm and subdue the enemy. The modern method of warfare (or local police swat raids for that matter) is merely a refined form of blitzkrieg. The guerrilla fighter, on the other hand, has to remain adaptable, and in many cases, controlling the timing and distance of the fight is his only advantage. Sniper tactics are better suited to the underdog, not mechanized military operations. It behooves the survivalist to have long distance capabilities because there is little chance he will ever be anything but the underdog.

I am a relative newcomer to the world of long distance shooting and sniping with only a couple years of training, and I know how difficult the discipline appears to people who have just become curious about it. The modern “mystic” surrounding the sniper is deserved in certain respects, however, once the fundamentals are learned, it is surprising how easy your shots actually become, even at 1000 yards-plus, if you have the correct mindset.

Before you can practice such accuracy, though, there are many steps you need to take, and they should be taken in this order…

Choose A Caliber

If you want to become a precision shooter it is absolutely vital that you carefully research the caliber of round you will eventually use. The caliber will determine the kind of rifle platform you purchase, not to mention the scope and reloading equipment (if you decide to load your own rounds). Most of us do not have the kind of cash necessary to apply the trial and error method. You have to choose right the first time, otherwise, thousands of dollars may go down the drain.

Your typical AK-47, AR-15, or run-of-the-mill hunting rifle is not going to be effective in a sniper scenario. Such weapons are generally not designed for engaging targets at more than 500 yards, and the average hunting rifle is not designed to take the kind of abuse faced during combat conditions. The .223 round is sometimes used for sniping in urban settings (usually between 100 to 300 yards) where limited penetration is needed in order to avoid collateral damage, but is not practical for long range.

The most common caliber used for long distance sniper platforms is the .308. The .308 has an effective range of around 800-1000 yards (sometimes more depending on the type of the bullet). I would consider it the bare minimum caliber required to achieve sniper accuracy and penetration at longer distances. Similar calibers, like the .30-06 or the 7.62 by 54, have equal capabilities, however, combat ready rifles which easily mount tactical scopes are difficult to find for them.

The 300 win mag and the 7mm are the next step up entering into the “magnum” rifle caliber category, with excellent range and accuracy. The 300 win mag can be fired effectively at over a mile (1760 yards), and is my personal favorite.

The next stage in long range is far more expensive. The .338 Lapua and the .50 BMG are range capable at 2700 yards or more, are so heavy that they penetrate most armor, and can be employed to take down vehicles as well as human beings. Expect to pay around $ 3 to $ 4 per round for .338 and $ 5-plus per round when training with .50 cal. Reloading can diminish the expenses slightly.

Choose A Rifle

Once you’ve researched and decided upon a caliber you can afford, the next step is purchasing a rifle platform that fits the stringent requirements of long distance shooting. Here are some guidelines for getting started:

Rifle Accuracy Of 1 MOA (Minute Of Angle) Or Less - The rifle must be able to fire shot groups of less than 1 inch apart at 100 yards. A 1 MOA rifle will fire a shot group of around 10 inches at 1000 yards, and any deviation of a couple inches on a human target could mean a miss. There are some out-of-the-box rifles that easily fire within 1 MOA. Some platforms will need to be re-barreled.

Semi-Auto Or Bolt Action - A few semi-auto rifles do have the accuracy you would need for long distance. The Springfield M1A, the FNAR, certain retooled versions of the AR-10, etc, can all become excellent sniper platforms. Semi-automatics have the advantage of sending more rounds downrange faster, and allow you to acquire new targets without worrying about cycling the bolt. They are, though, designed with looser tolerances than the common bolt action, which means ranges surpassing 800 yards are more difficult. Bolt action rifles tend to have very low capacity mags, and are slower to cycle, but many models do have tighter chambers and heavier barrels which result in more consistently accurate shots at 1000 yards or more. Your choice of rifle depends on the kinds of situations you expect to run into.

Rifle Make And Model - How common are replacement parts and mags for your rifle? How common is the the caliber? Will you be able to procure ammo and parts easily? Will you be able to share supplies with other shooters in your survival community, or is nothing interchangeable? These are some important factors to consider before laying down cash on a rifle system.

Smooth Bolt And Trigger - Your bolt should cycle smoothly without resistance. Your semi-auto should not suffer from any jamming. Your trigger should be light and intuitive.

Floated Barrel - A floated barrel is a barrel that does not come into contact with any part of the rifle stock. A narrow space between the stock and the barrel prevents interference by the stock with the “harmonics” of the barrel. Shots become more consistent, and damage to the stock does not effect accuracy.

Heavy Barrel Or Factory Barrel - Military snipers are often supplied with heavy barrel rifles because the weight of the barrel allows for more consistent shots, less overheating, and better harmonics. However, a heavy barrel is NOT necessary to achieve sniper accuracy. Many factory made barrels can get the job done just as well and for less money.

This particular rifle is a Tikka 695 manufactured by Sako in Finland.  The 695 features a floated barrel and removable magazine, which is rare for a bolt action, and allows for fast reloading if you have spares.  The scope is a fixed 10 power SWFA SS, and the muzzle break is temporary. The trigger and bolt are incredibly smooth for an off-the-shelf rifle and Sako ensures that every rifle they produce shoots at 1MOA or less before it leaves the factory, making the Tikka one of the best low cost firearms for the beginning sniper.  This rifle has been tested out to 1000 yards and is consistently accurate. The entire package costs less than $ 1000.

Choose A Scope

The standard for long range shooting is a mil-dot scope, either fixed power or variable, with 1/4 MOA adjustment knobs. It must also be rated to handle the recoil of the caliber you are shooting. Illuminated reticles, night vision options, in-scope reference and ranging dots, and numerous other bells and whistles should depend upon your defense needs. I prefer an uncluttered scope with a simple mildot reticle like the one below…

Those seeking to learn long range shooting can be easily overwhelmed by the scope selection on the market today. One could spend up to $ 2000 – $ 3000; more than he would spend on a prospective rifle. If you have that kind of green, then by all means, pick up a high end Leupold, Vortex, Nightforce, or Schmidt and Bender. If you don’t (and I’m assuming most of you, like me, don’t), there are still a few excellent scopes out there for minimal cash.

Companies like Burris, Millett, and SWFA all have sniper grade scopes designed to handle heavy abuse for around $ 300 to $ 400. The optics used by these companies are excellent, and only slightly less proficient at light collection than scopes several times more costly. The primary issue is that the scope holds its zero, and is not easily broken.

Choose Your Ammo And Reloading Press

Reloading is a vast and sometimes daunting skill set that takes a lot of time and patience to master. The process is indeed tedious, and the fun only really happens when you get to take your precision reloads out to the range and witness the extreme accuracy they afford. A year ago, I would have said that reloading was an excellent way to save money on ammunition, but in light of the recent ammo purchasing bonanza just before the latest attack on the 2ndAmendment by the White House, finding the exact materials you need today can be expensive or in some cases impossible.

There are plenty of factory-made match grade rounds on the market right now that will do pretty much whatever you need them to do. I would only recommend venturing into the world of reloading if you have a good source of components (powder, primers, brass, and bullets), and if you plan to hone your expertise past 1000 yards. For such distances you need extra heavy bullets which can maintain momentum and trajectory, and it is difficult to find factory rounds with heavier projectiles. Also, if you are shooting a magnum-grade caliber, there can be some noticeable savings in reloading.

These reloaded .300 Win Mag rounds utilize a 210 grain boat tail hollow point bullet.  It took a lot of trial and error to find the best combination of powder, primer, and projectile for my particular rifle, but the sub-MOA groups created by these rounds make the effort worth it.

If you decide to reload, very simple equipment is available that will fill your requirements for relatively low cost. Lee’s single stage press or classic press kit, for instance, works perfectly for the long range shooter, and can be purchased for around $ 100. You’ll then need press “dies” designed specifically for the caliber you have chosen to shoot, along with shell holders, powder measure, scale, etc. etc. There is nowhere near enough space to cover reloading thoroughly here. The important thing is that you research every aspect of the round you plan to build, create your test-fire groups, pick what gives you the best accuracy and speed, then stock up on as much powder and other components as possible while you still can.

Remember, if you change any components in the rounds you use, the flight path of the bullet will change, the point of impact will change, and how you adjust your scope will change, so try to stick with the same components for every round you make.

Learn How To Make The Shot

One of the biggest obstacles for many seeking to learn sniper tactics is simply finding a shooting range that offers long distance targets. Most private and state run ranges across the country are no more than 300 – 500 yards. This is not adequate. Once you have found a range of 700 yards or more, you must then learn these vital fundamentals…

Calculate Distance To Target - Perhaps THE most important of all skills required for sniping is the ability to effectively calculate distance. This is the area in which most people give up on long distance shooting, when it is, in reality, very simple, and you don’t need an expensive laser rangefinder to do it.

Using the mil-dots in your scope and the equation below, you can easily estimate rage:

Known size of target (in yards) x 1000 divided by size of target in Mil Dots =Range in yards

The average adult human being is between 5-6 feet tall (or around 2 yards), as long as you remember this the rest is self explanatory. An even faster method for estimating rage is to use an item called a Mildot Master, which is a sliding analog calculator made of plastic. If you know the general size of your target in inches or feet, all you have to do is measure the number of mildots the target covers in your scope, then slide the calculator until the two measurements meet; the Mildot Master gives you a close to exact distance of the the target.

Once you know the distance to target, you can adjust your scope to compensate for bullet drop.

Know Your Bullet Drop And Dope Chart - Bullets do not fly in a straight line. Rather, they fly in an arc, like an artillery shell or a football. The amount of drop in your bullet at any given distance will determine how much you need to adjust the crosshairs of your scope upwards in order to compensate. To calculate bullet drop you must first know how fast your particular bullet travels as it leaves the barrel of your particular rifle. To do this, you need to either purchase or borrow a piece of gear called a “chronograph”.

Chronographs are very easy to use. Just fire your test bullets over top of the device and it will relay the speed in feet per second. All reloaders should have a chronograph on hand. Once you know the speed of the bullet, you can go online to any number of shooter websites, enter the data on the bullet, and the website will print out a “Dope Chart” for you. This chart will tell you exactly how many clicks to adjust your scope at any given range.

Laminate your dope chart and keep it on or near your rifle at all times.

Adjust For Wind And Temperature - Adjusting for wind and temperature is an intuitive process. Some snipers use mini weather stations that give exact wind and temperature readings in the field. The most reliable of these devices cost in the range of $ 300 to $ 500. Any adjustments due to wind and temp will usually be small, only a couple of MOA left or right, up or down. Temperature can have a noticeable effect on the speed of a bullet, thus changing point of impact. Higher temperature means a faster burn rate on powder, creating more speed. Cold weather means reduced speed. Be sure to test your rounds at differing temperatures and wind speeds and keep notes on how this effects your zero.

Pulling The Trigger - You have fine tuned your rifle, you have perfected range estimation, you know everything there is to know about the bullet you are shooting, you have memorized your dope chart, and now, you are ready to pull the trigger. When you place your crosshairs on a target, you should be 99.999% certain that the bullet will hit, but there is still the matter of “human error” to deal with.

This is where the greatness or “artistry” of the trained sniper is measured. To be blunt, not just anyone can make a 1000-plus yard shot. In fact, many people don’t have the patience or the mindset to achieve such a goal. The average shooter has a tendency to defeat himself before he ever fires a round. No one can teach you to focus your mind, that is an attribute that must be learned on your own. That said, once you are able to focus, pulling the trigger becomes a mere matter of proper body alignment.

When shooting from the prone position, the butt of the rifle should be firmly planted in your shoulder, your non-shooting hand should be under the stock providing steady balance, and your body should be completely relaxed. Your muscles do NOT provide the support for the rifle, your skeleton is the support. The only muscle that should be moving at all is your trigger finger.

Before pulling the trigger, you must measure the tempo of your breathing. There is a moment in every breath in which your body is the most still; it is different for every person, and this is when you fire. Pull the trigger straight back using the tip of your finger. Continue holding for a moment, and then release. Try not to blink during the shot. In fact, challenge yourself to keep your eyes open preceding the recoil. This will condition your body to resist the impulse to flinch before or during the shot.

Adjusting The Shot

After the shot is released, you can often see the spiraling trail of the bullet in your scope as it cuts through the air. A friend can aid you as your spotter as well. Your first shot, also known as the “cold bore shot”, is the most important. In a combat situation, the cold bore shot is usually the only shot a sniper takes before exfiltration. Sometimes, adjustment for a second shot on target is possible, but you will only have a matter of seconds to make it happen. At long distances, the bullet impact occurs long before the crack of the gun reaches the ears of the target, giving you a moment to reacquire and shoot again before he realizes what is happening.

Watch for bullet splash in the terrain surrounding the target, including rising dust and flying shrapnel. Shift your reticle accordingly.

Stealth And Concealment

Once you have mastered accuracy, it is time to focus on concealment. This requires an understanding of color, shadow, shape, and micro-terrain. The use of micro-terrain allows a sniper to move across areas most people would consider “wide open”. Grasses, bushes, rock formations, and small impressions in the earth give the sniper just enough concealment to make him invisible. The Ghillie Suit is the most common form of camouflage for the professional sniper, but I prefer lighter materials that can be quickly thrown over top of the BDU’s you are already wearing. Speed and maneuverability are sacrificed while wearing the extremely thick and heavy ghillie. Thermal reflective materials are also important when covering heat signature. Natural barriers can be used to obscure movement. A sniper must have considerable patience. A single sniper stalk could take hours, or even days. One’s movement must be so slow and methodical that it never registers as abnormal in the eyes of security or video surveillance.

The author and his spotter for the day, Maggie, somewhere in the wilds of Montana.

Sniper methods are invaluable to the survivalist for numerous reasons. They create a standoff distance that is highly intimidating to aggressors. They give the survivalist the ability to remain unseen if he wishes. They give him the ability to engage and destroy opponents with more advanced arms and greater numbers. They train the average person to think asymmetrically; to prevail using less resources and with less risk. They make him a truly viable threat, with nothing more on hand than a rifle and a few precision rounds of ammunition. A single sniper can change the balance of a conflict and snatch momentum away from the most powerful of enemies. The more liberty minded people who have this skill, the better.

Special thanks to the Kalispell long distance shooting group (you guys know who you are) for helping me fine tune my 1000 yard shot.

You can contact Brandon Smith at:  brandon@alt-market.com

Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense.  Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.

To contribute to the growth of the Safe Haven Project, and to help us help others in relocating, or to support the creation of barter networks across the country, visit our donate page.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Controversial Post: Why I Won’t Be Charitable When The SHTF

SHTF Plan Editor’s Note: The following article from Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple poses an interesting scenario and one that every prepper has likely discussed with friends and family in their preparedness group. When the system fails how far are you willing to go to help your fellow man? We know what happens when resources run out and panic grips the populace. There will be riots, looting and violence. And despite the inherent good I’d like to believe exists in every human being, when people are at their wits end, hungry, and tired, they will do things they’d never have imagined during a time of peace and stability. 

This is why the following topic should be of interest. It is one covered by many survival and preparedness authors. My wife Tess has provided some tips and strategies for charitable giving in a post-collapse world in her 52 Weeks to Preparedness series. It’s easy for all of us to say “If a family with kids shows up looking for help I will gladly give them food.” But when it hits the fan and your life is really on the line, will you still be so generous? Will you risk your family’s safety just to be charitable? As with everything else preparedness, if you are adamant about charitable giving in an SHTF environment, consider the risks and weigh your options. James Rawles of Survival Blog, for example, suggests going through a local church or organization to make donations rather then providing it directly to people in need as an operational security measure. 

I know Chris Carrington. And I know Chris is the kind of person who will stop to render you medical aid if you are seriously injured and dying on a street while most others would simply walk on by. This is why I take this article seriously. I am certain Chris thought long and hard about this, as many of you have, and it wasn’t just slapped together. 

We welcome community discussion on this topic, because it is an important one, and because you will no doubt be faced with making this decision should the worst come to pass. 


charity-food2

Why I Won’t Be Charitable When The SHTF
By Chris Carrington

I have learned a great deal since I came on board here at The Daily Sheeple. I have read and listened to the opinions of many who are far further down the line of preparedness than I am, and although it may make me unpopular, I disagree with a some of what they say.

Of course agreeing or disagreeing with someone is purely personal choice. I am not saying they are wrong, just that I disagree with them.

Take for instance the charity aspect of prepping.

Many of the big names in prepping advocate that we should show solid Christian values in times of crisis and lay aside some essential items to give away to those that pass through who are less fortunate that ourselves.

NOT A CHANCE.

It has nothing to do with the fact that I have prepared, that I have scrimped and saved, and they possibly have not. It has nothing to do with greed on my part and to hell with all others. It has to do with the survival of my family.

A great deal is made on all prepping sites about OPSEC. Keeping low and not attracting attention, and this is where the trouble starts.

I know for a fact that if I had been given food, water and maybe a few other essential items by someone I passed along the way I would remember them.

I know that if the survival of my children was at stake and I couldn’t provide for them I would revisit the person that had assisted me in the hope of getting more supplies.

I know I would do anything I had to do to feed my kids, to keep them alive. Now if I could trade something, work for the food I would certainly do so. What happens though if the answer is no, we’re fine thanks, off you go?

Think about this. Put yourself in the position of the people you helped. You know this family had enough food to give some away. It’s unlikely you are the only people who have happened by. To a desperate man with starving children the logical conclusion would be that the family who helped you out had food to spare.

This is a situation that’s going to get ugly very fast.

Moving a little further into our imagined scenario. You helped the passers by as best you could. You are well armed and willing to defend your family and your supplies. The passers by you assisted know this, they know they couldn’t take you alone. So they come back with a mob. A mob of cold, hungry and armed people who want what you have got.

Once again it will get ugly very fast.

So, I will learn from those who know more than me, and I’m extremely grateful that they share their knowledge, but for me, charity really does begin at home if we are in a SHTF situation.

I will not risk blowing my OPSEC. I will not risk the lives of myself and my family in order to be charitable, it just isn’t going to happen. Every morsel of food I give away could keep my kids going for another day. Every item of clothing I give away could have kept my kids warm in the winter, could have wrapped my future grandchildren, could get passed on to the next generation who may have no access to new clothing.

We all know it’s not a case of if the SHTF, it’s a case of when. Be it a natural or man made disaster, there’s no reason to think we are the immune generation, that it won’t happen to us. We are not special in the grand scheme of things, we are no different to other generations that have faced war or famine or pandemic. The list of what can and does go wrong on this planet of ours is long, very long. Should one of these events occur, all of us, no matter how well prepared, are going to struggle to survive. Many of us won’t make it for one reason or another.

To attempt to survive, and even thrive after a catastrophic event is normal, it’s human nature, and while I pity those who have nothing I will not assist them with food, water or material items that could hasten the demise of me and mine.

There are many who will read this and decide I have no Christian values, I accept that , and I won’t argue with them, they are fully entitled to their opinion. What I will say is God gave me a brain and the ability to use it and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Opening my door and handing out charity parcels when the grid is down or the food supply chain has snapped, when people are cold, hungry and desperate is to me akin to going to an ATM in a rough part of town and announcing loudly that you are taking out $ 1000 from an account that has $ 1,000,000 in it.

You just wouldn’t do it would you? You wouldn’t announce to every mugger in the neighborhood that you had a $ 1000 on you and there was plenty more where that came from.

In a collapse scenario your preps are worth more than that $ 1000. They are worth more than $ 1,000,000 in a situation where no amount of money can buy you what you need.

Think about this…how far would you go to protect you and yours?

I know for a fact I would do whatever I had to, including stealing from others. It’s not something I like to admit to, but it is the truth. Thinking this way also makes you realize you may not survive the encounter of taking from others and where would your family be then?

This is why I prep. To provide for myself and my family in times of trouble. To make sure they have enough water, food and clothing to see them through for as long as possible. To have enough seeds stored, and enough gardening knowhow that we can supplement our diets making our canned and dehydrated supplies last longer, far longer than they would have done otherwise.

It’s why we’ve opened up fireplaces and brought dynamo flashlights. It’s why the nieces and nephews join our own kids for ‘craft’ sessions where they are taught to knit, sew and fix things up with hammers and nails. they think this is so cool as none of their friends get to do it.

They make bread and pick produce they have grown. They are learning what they can and cannot eat from the hedgerows.

All of this is why I prep and I’ll be damned if I am going to risk all that because I give a bottle of water and a couple of cans of beans to passing strangers.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Building Your SHTF Combat Overwatch Rifle

rifle_primary

After several years in the Liberty Movement working with various survivalists, you begin to realize that there are as many viewpoints and opinions on self defense tactics as there are people.  This is because each individual survivalist’s environmental circumstances are a little different, and unique problems call for unique solutions.  That said, there are certain universal elements that every survivalist should consider, and certain pieces of gear that can aid us greatly regardless of our particular situation.  I believe the concept of the “overwatch rifle” is one of these universal elements, and an often overlooked combat necessity.

Preparing for a fight, in general terms, is about understanding one’s own weaknesses better than one’s opponent.  This means rigorously examining your capabilities and rounding them out as much as possible.  Are you strong in close quarters but terrible at a distance?  Are you able to engage an enemy regardless of his position, or, do you have to risk closing the gap while he waits comfortably for you?  Are you ready mentally and technically for surprises?

The overwatch rifle is not just a tool, it is also a strategy, and when I refer to “overwatch”, I am referring to a guerrilla methodology, not the standard military usage involving sniper support.

This strategy revolves around adaptability, movement, and creative offense.  You have to be physically fit and ready to move quickly from one engagement to the next in a sequence that creates the utmost advantage for you and your team.  You have to be willing to move from a rear supporting role to a forward scouting role at a moments notice.  Sometimes, you have to operate at the very center of it all, coordinating supporting elements and removing obstacles in their path.

Not everyone can serve this role within their team.  The overwatch rifle does not automatically make a survivalist overwatch ready.  It is the man that makes the rifle effective, not the rifle that makes the man effective.

But before I discuss overwatch rifle design ideas, I want to address a question that ALWAYS comes up when I write an article dealing with any defensive measures:

“Who do you plan to fight?”

The question often insinuates that there is “no one” to fight and that such prepping articles are based in “paranoia”, or, that the enemy will be so technologically advanced that it is “foolish” of us to believe that we can fight them.

My answer is simple – I will fight anyone who attempts to undermine my individual freedom and safety, the individual freedom and safety of the people I care about, innocent citizens, and even future generations I will never meet.  Anyone who suggests that such threats do not exist – foreign, domestic, and internationalist – must have been living under a rotting log for the past several years (or they’ve been mesmerized by Facebook and “reality” television, which is very similar).  The superiority of these very real threats is irrelevant.  I’ve been a fighter for most of my life, and I know well that the biggest and most intimidating opponents are often the easiest to topple in the end, as long as you have the will to press forward, and the intelligence to engage them in a way they cannot predict.

If you are an enemy of liberty and the constitutional philosophy of natural law, then you are my enemy, and if you push me, I will push back.  Count on it…

This principle goes for tyrannical political systems as well.  When a society loses its ability to regulate and restrict government, when all authority is derived through backroom brokered deals between the money elite and puppet politicians on both sides of the aisle, when individual liberties are deemed expendable in the name of illusory “collective safety”, and when the establishment proclaims that the only way for the public to be prosperous is for the bureaucracy to be prosperous, a war is soon at hand.

The elites will never walk away quietly and neither will we.  There are Americans who still respect the virtues of freedom, and there are people in this world whose only goal is to dominate and enslave.  We are at a dangerous impasse, and I believe there may be only one way left to fully resolve it…

Of course, when one discusses citizen armament and preparation for combat, the assumption is that every survivalist has already undertaken the correct prerequisite steps to make himself an effective fighter.  Before anyone even considers combat preparedness, they should have already:

1) Stockpiled ample food and water.
2) Stockpiled proper medical and emergency first aid.
3) Stockpiled ample ammunition.
4) Chosen a retreat location and hardened their home for defense.
5) Been diligent in their personal health.
6) Trained their bodies for the most terrible rigors imaginable.
7) Trained their minds to be psychologically ready for combat.
8) Trained to control the jarring fight-or-flight response caused by the influx of adrenaline.
9) Fired hundreds if not thousands of rounds through each of the weapons they intend to use in combat until they know them intimately.
10) Studied the history of combat tactics and war strategy (especially asymmetric warfare).
11) Built up a community of like minded individuals who are also prepared.

If you have not at least begun to pursue all of these goals then you are not ready to pull the trigger.  Period.  If you don’t respect yourself enough to prepare in a practical way, the enemy certainly won’t respect you either, and why should he?  You’ll be the punchline of a sad joke, the bullseye on the target, and just another notch in his rifle stock.

If you have at least initiated preparations in all of the above areas, THEN it is time to take a look at your rifle setup…

The Overwatch Concept In Asymmetric Warfare

The term “overwatch” is most often applied when a sniper team is placed in a supporting role during a major offensive.  However, the concept has expanded into other areas, especially where guerrilla warfare is concerned, and I would like to use the broader definition here.  A person on “overwatch” could be a sniper, or a general team member who is able to place precision fire almost anywhere on the battlefield at vectors difficult for the enemy to spot.  This means being in a central position covering not one sector, but all sectors of fire, and striking the enemy from one angle while he is distracted by another.

Being in an overwatch role would mean a certain freedom of movement.  You are often designating your own targets and your own fields of fire as you go, and as your teammates push forward.  But, it also means you have to be highly adaptable, quick thinking, creative and imaginative in your strategy, and be willing to cause enough damage during a fight to sometimes draw the majority of enemy fire.  You become the fulcrum of your team’s initiative.

Ideally, you would want every person you work with to be able to fill the overwatch position, and be able to think in terms of creative combat.  The overwatch strategy is meant to stall an enemy advance, destroy enemy sniper positions, create openings in enemy lines, and thus, create targets of opportunity for other team members.

Designing Your Overwatch Rifle

The weapons system you use for overwatch will depend greatly on what you find works best for you as an individual.  However, here are some issues you need to take into consideration before building your weapon:

Short Range, Medium Range, Long Range: Your overwatch rifle must be able to engage targets at almost any range (between 0 – 800 yards would be ideal).  You must also be able to shift from medium and long range opponents to close range surprise attacks quickly and efficiently.

Penetration And Distance: The caliber you choose should not only be able to travel long distances, but also maintain strong penetration ability at those distances.

Precision: The rifle should fire consistent groups of less than 1 MOA (at least 1” groups at 100 yards).

Frequency Of Fire: 
The more fire you can put down range quickly and accurately, the better.  This means semi-auto rather than bolt action.

Adaptable To Optics: 
The weapon should have a rail system that accommodates a number of optics, making it adaptable to almost any situation.  Or, at least modifiable for a rail.

Rifle Systems 

I have found that the .308 military caliber tends to be the most practical for overwatch requirements.  The bullet has long range capabilities and far greater penetration than the AR-15’s .223 caliber, or the AK-47’s 7.62 × 39 caliber.  The AR and AK are great for close range, room-to-room fighting, and some medium range targets without cover, but they have many limitations and are not useful for overwatch.  I have also chosen .308 rifles that are semi-automatic, and that can be fitted with comprehensive rail systems.  A common complaint concerning .308 tactical rifles is that they are “too heavy” and slow to aim.  All I can say is, if you can’t wield the weapon effectively, do some push-ups until you can.

Here is a short list of possible rifle platforms:

AR-10
FN FAL
Springfield M1A
FN SCAR
FNAR
Saiga .308
Heckler & Koch PTR-91

I’m sure there are few more that could be added here, and I recommend all readers carefully research and fire the weapon they are interested in before purchasing it (especially at today’s prices).

The above rifle is a Springfield M1A modified with a Troy BattleRail and a variable scope.  To the right is a PVS-14 Night Vision Monocular and an Aimpoint T-1 Red Dot on a LaRue Tactical angle mount.  I found this setup to work best for me, but it is only one of many options. Obviously, in a combat situation this entire weapon would be camouflaged according to the environment.

Optics

Next, you need to devise an optics system that allows you to engage at a distance AND up-close and personal.   There are many ways of setting up a rifle for this, but most involve a combination of a scope and red dot, or a scope and iron sights.  Here are some ideas…

Variable Scope: A variable scope, as opposed to a fixed power, makes it possible to shift your focus from a wider field of view to narrow longer distance shot with a twist of a dial.  But such a scope alone will not enable the kind of speed you will require for overwatch.  Buying a cheap hunting variable is also not advised.  Make sure the glass is good, and the body can take a beating.  Spend the extra cash…

Mini-Red Dot / Variable Scope Combo: Mini-Red Dots are very versatile and new mounting systems make it possible to tie one to your scope at any angle you wish.  Some mounts place the red dot directly above the scope, but this often forces the shooter to sacrifice his cheek weld in order to take aim. I prefer angled mounts to the side of the scope.  A very quick shift of the rifle to the inside and you can immediately fire without ever taking your cheek away from the stock.  Red dots have no magnification, and thus no vision box.  Both eyes can be used to target the enemy, and your peripheral vision can be utilized to acquire the next target before firing at the first.  My favorite mini-red dot sights are made by Trijicon and Aimpoint, because of their proven durability in the field.

Pre-Designed Multi-Mounts: Multi-railed ring systems like the Burris P.E.P.R. Mount create a solid platform for you to attach a scope and red dot package to your rifle quickly and easily.  Many of these systems are meant for AR-15 enthusiasts, but I have seen them adapted for use on .308 caliber rifles.

Short Dot Variable Scope: Short dot scopes (or CQB scopes) usually come in the 1-4 or 1-6 power variety.  The concept was to make a single optics system that combined the speed and wide field view of a red dot with the magnification of a variable scope.  Some of the more affordable short dots are made by Burris, Leupold, Vortex, and SWFA, and even these models can be pricey.  If you have the cash, they are an excellent investment.  Many models include an illuminated reticle that can be used in combination with night vision.  Short dot scopes are popular in 3-gun competitions because of their versatility, and are beginning to see more use in the military.  They can be very effective for overwatch purposes.  I recommend 1-6 scopes in second focal plane, which prevents the red dot reticle from being magnified as power is increased, causing a loss of precision.

Night Vision: Overwatch includes nighttime operations.  The tactical rail on your rifle should be long enough to accommodate a scope and a night vision system.  Or, a red dot and night vision combo.  Quick-detach mounts like those produced by LaRue Tactical are perfect for switching out sights and scopes quickly without losing your zero.

The author training with his overwatch rifle near his retreat somewhere in the wilds of Montana.

In any lopsided contest to the death, the less technologically advanced opponent must inevitably turn to asymmetric warfare; meaning, he must fight smarter, and be more effective with fewer tools at his disposal.  He has to turn his weaknesses into strengths, and make the smallest weapon devastating to his seemingly invincible enemy.  Taking on the role of overwatch rifleman means you must understand all the intricacies of asymmetrics, and be able to apply them in real time in the midst of a battle frenzy.  It is a very ugly mission.

Above all, you have to have the will and the courage to stand against what you know are incredible odds.  You have to be unwavering.  You have to have a clear understanding of why you picked up that rifle in the first place, and maintain a deep belief in your cause despite the seeming impossibility of the task before you.  Otherwise, fear will be your guide, and the fearful can never provide adequate overwatch.

You can contact Brandon Smith at:  brandon@alt-market.com

Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense.  Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.

To contribute to the growth of the Safe Haven Project, and to help us help others in relocating, or to support the creation of barter networks across the country, visit our donate page here


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Building Your SHTF Gunshot Survival Kit

This article has been contributed by Brandon Smith of the Alt Market community.

Editor’s Note: As a prepper, you are likely stockpiling food, supplies, and the firearms and ammunition to defend them from looters. But those who will come looking for your larder won’t be coming empty handed. Like you, they’ll be armed, and they won’t hesitate to do harm. While we hope for the best, we must also plan for the worst. If you find yourself in a post-collapse situation that requires you to fire your weapons down range at live targets, then in all likelihood the people you are shooting at will be returning fire. No amount of planning and preparation will ensure your safety 100% once a firefight breaks out. People may get shot. Medical training to provide immediate trauma care is a must, as are the medical supplies to stop the bleeding and dress wounds. In the following article, Brandon Smith provides advice and a checklist that will save lives should the worst happen.

The purpose of survival culture is to assess and address probabilities and uncertainties, and of course, prepare accordingly.  We view assumption as the greatest Achilles Heal of humanity, and disdain attitudes of complacency, apathy, and general stupidity.  For us, wide eyed and naïve ignorance is a fatal disease; one that gestates during the best of times, and strikes mercilessly during the worst of times.  That said, there are some scenarios which even survivalists do not like to think about.

Being shot, or, hit with indirect shrapnel, is not a problem many of us want to imagine having to deal with.  Some preppers, believe it or not, refuse to acknowledge that fighting may ever occur.  They may think that the coming collapse will be mitigated and that government tyranny will fade away along with the financial structure.  They may have a rather irrational faith in the effectiveness of digital currencies and other questionable technologies in defusing future crisis.  They might even see themselves as “invincible” or untouchable, believing that their training will trump any circumstance.  However, historical precedence cannot be denied.  Most economic disasters over the past century have led to eventual widespread war, internal conflict, surges in domestic crime, government brutality, or, all of these violence prone situations combined.  And, no matter how much training you might have, there is no accounting for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ideally, the best method for dealing with a gunshot wound is to not get shot.  Since there is absolutely no way to guarantee such luck (even people who avoid conflict can still be a victim of it), we must set aside some money, and space in our bug-out-bag, for a fast and effective medical pouch designed specifically for a traumatic combat injury.

This means a kit entirely separate from our general purpose medical supplies that is easy to get to not just for ourselves, but also for others who might be trying to save us.  I recommend this kit be standardized amongst those in your survival community so that everyone has the same setup, and understands the functions of each item within the kit.  It is also important to avoid the mistake of centralizing all medical functions into the hands of a single person within your community.  Every individual survivalist should have their own trauma package, or what the military often calls a “blowout kit”, so that their resident medical expert does not have to bear the full burden of purchasing supplies, and redundancy is maintained.  Med gear runs out very quickly during social collapse.  Don’t assume others will have it for you when you need it…

The point of this kit is to stop bleeding as swiftly as possible so that the bullet or shrapnel can be removed and the wound sealed.  There are many premade blowout-style kits on the market today, but from my research, the mark-up on most of them is too high, the items are often substandard quality, and, they are always missing certain vital gear that you will have to buy later anyway.  Building your own is not difficult; here is a list of essential items, all of which are used by EMT’s and Military personnel, to get you started.

Medical Pouch: A small medical pouch with molle straps allows you to keep your trauma kit on the outside of your pack if you wish, clearly marked so that your teammates can find it and use it.

Battle Dressing:
 A large compression bandage usually found in surplus stores.  It may be wise to supplement this battle dressing with a large surgical dressing to ensure heavy bleeding is controlled.  The more blood lost, the more likely the wound will result in shock, and fatality.

Roll Of Gauze: 
For wrapping the wound and aiding in compression.

Medical Tape: 
Most veteran medics I have discussed gunshot response with have told me that medical tape is the first item to disappear during crisis.  Stock extra, and make sure all the people you work with have some in their kit.

Nitril Gloves: These emergency gloves are thicker and stronger than standard latex gloves, and do not cause reactions in people allergic to latex.

Trauma Shears: Very important.  Used to strip away clothing around a wound, cut tape and gauze, cut makeshift bandages, etc.

Extra Long Tweezers: 
All foreign materials and shrapnel must be removed from the wound in order to avoid infection later.  Sometimes, a bullet impact will carry bits of material from clothing deep into the wound channel, and long tweezers will be essential in their removal.

Combat Tourniquet: Cuts off blood flow to a heavily damaged extremity.  I highly recommend the C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet widely used by military medics.

Hemostat Forceps: Used to clamp off damaged arteries in order to stop bleeding while repairing a wound.

Sterile Scalpel: 
Used to open the wound channel to allow easier removal of foreign materials.

Celox Blood Stopper: A coagulating agent that can be poured into the wound to quickly stop bleeding.  Does not need to be cleaned out before the wound is closed.

Celox Granule Applicator: An injector with plunger used specifically for combat wounds.  Insert the applicator as far into the wound channel as possible, then push in the plunger and slowly back the applicator out.  Celox blood stopper is injected into the core of the wound.

Irrigation Plunger: 
Wounds should be irrigated with a non-abrasive sterile solution, such as saline, in order to help avoid infection.

Small Bottle Of Hydrogen Peroxide: Use to sterilize your hands and tools.  Do not use on the inside of wounds.

Halo Chest Seal: The best seal for chest wounds on the market.  Glue on the seal works even when damaged area is bloody or unclean.  Stops all air loss through the chest when a lung is punctured.  Contains two seals per package for a through-and-through gunshot.

Nasopharyngeal Airway:
 Allows for breathing in the advent of airway closure; also keeps ample oxygen flowing into the lungs which aids in preventing shock.

Sutures:
 There are many different sutures on the market, though the needle and thread versions are most common.  Make sure your thread is silk, or any other material that will not cause an allergic reaction or infection.  I also recommend storing Steri-Strip style sutures which can be used in instances where there is no time to sew up the wound.  Your medical expert should also have a Surgical Skin Stapler on hand, which is much faster and less painful than thread sutures.

Large Instant Heat Packs:
 One of the primary concerns with traumatic wounds is “shock” caused by blood loss to internal organs and the brain.  Once a wound is cleaned and closed, there is still a danger of shock, and the patient must be kept as warm and comfortable as possible in order to promote free blood flow.  Standard procedure is to wrap the wounded in a blanket and elevate his legs, however, I would note that a blanket only retains the heat already being produced by the body, which, after trauma, may be reduced.  I recommend storing at least two large instant heat packs in your kit; one to be taped to the chest area, and one taped to the thigh near the femoral artery.  This will add hours of extra heat to the patient’s circulation along with the blanket and may make the difference between life and death.

Though this list might appear long, all of the items above are small, with little to no weight added to your pack.  I have each of them in my own trauma kit, with space to spare.  Total cost for this kit is around $ 120 or less, depending on your supplier.  Other items you or your medic should have on hand for post-op on a combat wound are:

Antibiotics: Open wounds are also open doors to massive infection.  Shock is caused usually by blood loss, but it can also be caused by expedient infection that damages internal organs.  Antibiotics are usually needed to prevent this outcome after blood loss is stopped.

Isotonic Saline IV: An IV with isotonic saline can be administered to help replace fluids in the body and increase circulation.

Blood Plasma IV: Some preppers have their own blood or blood-type stored and ready to be administered by IV in case of a combat related injury.  The process for such storage is beyond the scope of this article and I recommend further research with your resident medical expert.

It’s a sad thing that average Americans are being forced to plan for violent trauma to themselves, their families, and their friends, but this is the reality we will soon be living in.  In Argentina, a moderate economic collapse resulted in social breakdown, rioting, looting, as well as organized pillaging in rural areas.  Combat-related injury and death were common.  In Bosnia, after a full-fledged collapse, snipers infested cities like fleas, and gunshot wounds were the norm.  The U.S. has been sitting on the very edge of a full spectrum collapse since 2008, and regardless of what you might have heard from the mainstream media, nothing has changed since.  The potential for a violent event in your personal life in the near future is very real.  Accept this fact, prepare, and continue to live confidently in the knowledge that if the worst happens, you did everything you could to be ready for it.

You can contact Brandon Smith at:  brandon@alt-market.com

Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense.  Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.

To contribute to the growth of the Safe Haven Project, and to help us help others in relocating, or to support the creation of barter networks across the country, visit our donate page here


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You