The Evolution of Survival

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I came to the conclusion a few years back that prepping is an evolution of the mind. For some of us, it’s just how we were raised, or maybe you were a boy scout and you try to live by the motto of “Be prepared” but for others, one day you just woke up. Once you see that our society is built on a series of systems. You then start to see that a lot of those systems are fragile. Then, very quickly, you come to the conclusion that if there is a disruption in one or more of those systems it could dramatically change how you are forced to live.

After you have woken up per say, you then kind of freak out as there is so much to do, learn, and purchase to try to replicate your current comforts of society. Seems like the first step for most, is to get a bunch of food and guns for mad max scenario end of the world. After a while you start to examine what could be the different triggers for these type of black swan events. At this point you may have amassed enough food and ammo to get you through the easy stuff and you start to look at other places where you are vulnerable.

Seems like the next evolution is; preppers asking how can I become better at being self-sufficient? This may be looking at things like starting your own company so you’re not dependent on others for your income. Purchasing land so you can become the master of your own domain. All the way to learning how to garden and permaculture for land management and make your land work for you.

There is a next evolution that not very many have gotten too, and that is; how do I become totally self-sufficient like the Indians of old or the Amish of today. The reason not very many make it to the next evolution is because it’s hard. You need to learn a lot. It has far more to do with the skills you know vs the stuff you have and at some point you are able to shed all the stuff because it no longer matters. It take a lot of time to master all those skills and most of us don’t have the time. Kids, work, school, they can all get in the way of that next evolution and that’s OK. Sometimes it’s helpful to see where you want to go even if you can’t get there right now.

Dave Canterbury is one of those guys, and one of the reasons you find his videos throughout this site.  It took me a long time to decipher his philosophy from his YouTube videos. There was a lot of thinking; how does what he is teaching, impact me and what I am trying to achieve.  I think in the video below, Dave outlines his basic preparedness mind set and as I mentioned above, you may not be there yet but I think the video is well worth your time and in some cases may help you leapfrog some of the steps in your evolution. Enjoy!

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Adding a light to a MOE SL handguard

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Have you tried the new Magpul MOE SL handguards? They are pretty nice for $35. Not a lot of bells and whistles but just what you need for a cheap build. They are not as massively thick as the earlier MOE and they are a little bit longer which is a huge perk. They do this by extending under and to the sides of the front sight block giving you an extra two inches.

The MOE SL handguards have M-LOK and I was hoping that that would solve some of the issues with the original MOE and open up a new world of accessories. One of the accessories that Magpul got right with the original MOE is the cantilever light mount. If you want to add an Inforce WML to a MOE it kicks the light out a bit in a more ergonomic way than just adding a picatinny rail piece to that slot. I was hoping the same part would work as well on the SL handguard.

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Unfortunately, this is not the case. It’s not really the cantilever light mounts fault, it has more to do with the handguard. Magpul didn’t do anything with the slot design to make it better than the original MOE other than making it M-LOK. You get all this extra real estate but the mount is so far back if you want to mount a light. So you adjust your grip for the longer handguard but when you add a mount to the last M-LOK slot your hand sits right on it. It sucks! I understand why Magpul had to do it that way but I think they phoned it in on this one. They could have come up with a better solution.

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I had a buddy that needed cash fast (love when this happens) and dumped a PSA 10.5 upper on me for $100. It shoots great and he only put maybe 200 rounds through it. The upper came with the crappy M4 Handguards and I immediately replaced them for the MOE SL. The upper grew a lower as most do and now it sits as a pistol but it needed a light. Hence why I have been trying to figure out the best option for mounting a light to the MOE SL. Continue reading

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Glock 43 – Getting a Better Grip (Stippling)

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The GLOCK 43 surprisingly has a very light texture. Much less than then a gen 4 gun. I think GLOCK was thinking low drag or less texture to run up against you when using the pistol for concealed carrying.

G43_45The pistol is not hard to shoot but you can tell right off the bat that it would benefit from a better texture. As I knew I would have 43 soon I went ahead and ordered a set of Talon Grips that I have used before and worked well on my Nano.

Talon grips, if you are not familiar with them, are an affordable, easy to put on grip tape that is customized for your pistol. You can get them in a sandpaper (like skateboard tape) or in a rubber grip tape. I generally go with the rubber because the sandpaper seems to bug me while I am carrying concealed. If you are not wearing an undergarment it can rub you the wrong way.

So when I got the 43, I put about 300 round downrange before deciding to throw on the talon grips. They work and are much better than stock but I have grown spoiled with the stippling on my 19s and 26L. So I decided that a stippling job was in order. I just needed to find the time to do the work.

About 6 months ago I picked up an Umbrella Corp AR lower and decided to build out a 556 SBR. I purchased a colt lower parts kit from G&R Tactical and other than the grip which was an Umbrella Corp the rest of the gun was BCM parts including the 11.5 BCM upper. I will do a full write up at some point.

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Anyways, I have a great gunsmith locally and he offered to cerakote it and then he would built out the rifle. We spent a while trying to find a good color and we ended up doing a custom color of 25% Burnt Bronze and 75% FDE. The mix turned out really nice. He mixed up extra paint and set it off to the side as he liked the color. When he saw I got the 43 he said we should cerakoted it. I thought that might be interesting and since he already had the paint mixed up it would be easy to do. I have been wondering how well cerakoted does on pistols with holster wear so I said what the hell.

All this of course was pretexted on the fact that I would have to get the stippling done too my liking before he cerakoted it. So the purpose of this post is just to walk you through how I did the stippling and to answer any questions people have. This would be the same process for any polymer pistol. I touched on it a little in the 26L write up but this will be more detailed around stippling in general.

Things you will need:

Here is the basic process: Continue reading

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Magpul’s MOE AK Handguard Review

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I was very happy with my AK Handguard; the stock one that comes from arsenal. I put a piece of heat tape on the aluminum heat shield on the inside and it has been rock solid and for the most part stays cool. The ultimak on the other hand is a nuclear inferno after a few mags. I have solved that with a sandwich of heat tape with an outer shell of 3m grip tape. This works really well for the times when your hand sneaks up a bit onto the ultimak’s edges.

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When Magpul decided to put out a line of AK Handguard and stocks I had a feeling they would do it right. There are some AK shooters over there that in my mind understand both the limitations and the advantages of the AK. I think their end goal is to minimize the limitations and maximize the AK’s strengths.

I have been burned (literally) in the past by AK handguards by manufactures that didn’t get the limitations. The TWS Handguard is a perfect example of great idea but a botched (at best) execution. It is expensive, proprietary, and loved to trap heat. Heat is at the end of the day one of the biggest problems with AK handguards. They get hot and most shooters choose to wear gloves. I don’t mind wearing gloves but if you think you’re going to have to grad your rifle in the middle of the night are you then going to pause and put on your gloves?

Let’s start off by saying Magpul killed it on the heat problem. Just as a random test we did 5 mag dumps (150 rounds) and Magpul’s MOE AK Handguard was warm at best, the rest of the rifle was nuclear hot but the handguard was not an issue. They do this with a full lined heat shield. I was blown away.

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#2 on how Magpul killed it with this handguard, is the upper portion of the handguard goes up and over the sides of the ultimak!! This is a HUGE advantage and your hand wont accidently slip up onto the ultimak and get toasted. If you were not running an ultimak, the handguard comes with a top cover that fits onto your gas tube and locks into the lower handguard. Continue reading

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Vertx A-Range Bag Review

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A few years back I received the 5.11 Rush 24 backpack in multicam as a gift. It is an awesome bag and I really need to do a review on it. To say it has stood the test of time is an understatement. We are probably 4 years in and it really shows no wear other than the cordura is softer and the bag is as dirty as can be.  I didn’t really have a use for the bag at the time and I needed a new range bag so I swapped all my ranger gear over to the Rush 24.

I bring up the Rush 24 because it can carry a lot of range gear and ammo. It has full length zippers so it is easy to work with on the range. The yoke strap system is excellent for heavy loads and it has a ton of compartments so you can separate out your tools, batteries, and lube. Really the only flaw was that it was multicam. I actually started to get comments which I don’t really give a crap about but it was a red flag in terms of trying to be as low profile as possible. I have a few covert rifle cases for my rifles and SBRs that are solid colors like blue or black. Those mixed with a multicam backpack is kind of a dead giveaway. So I started to look for a new range bag.IMG_7944After looking around at the current options, it seemed like nothing had changed with range bags. They were all the same until I came across the new Vertx A-Range Bag. I did some research, watched the video below, and thought that looks innovative, and then saw the price and laughed out loud. I threw it in my amazon wish list hoping someone would get it for me. Looks like they all had the same reaction, as it never came in the mail.

I have wanted this bag for a while but $200 for a range bag is a little steep to say the least, especially when you can get the Midway special on sale a few time a year for $25. That being said, I have had two of those Midway bags and they only lasted about a year.

So to back up a little bit, Vertx last year came out with a line of bags for concealed carry and everyday use like the Gamut which I have owned for about a year and will review very soon. The Gamut is a great bag quality wise and lead me to more of Vertx’s products. If you are not familiar with Vertx, they make some awesome clothing that has all the tactical bells and whistles but blends into society nicely. Matt Jacques from Victory First worked with Vertx to come up with their line of bags. One of the bags in the line is a range bag called the A-Range Bag – great name right. The bag has some very unique features for a range bag; check out this video walking you through the bag:

I looked around to see if I could find any deals to be had on this bag and there were some but by no means anything under $150. Optic planet has a deal site called DVOR. The everyday deals are a little weak but there are smoking deals from time to time. I got one of my RMRs from them for $385 and a Aimpoint H1 for $400. Deals like that don’t come up all the time but if you watch the emails it’s generally about once or twice a year. DVOR also allows you to earn credit on purchases. So they may be selling something like a Benchmade knife that is not really a deal (a few dollars less than amazon) but they will give you store credit. I purchases a Benchmade knife a while back and got $70 of store credit.

DVOR was having a sale on Vertx gear and the A-Range Bag was one of the items for sale for $130. So that buy itself is a deal and add the $70 in credit and now were are in a good price range. I purchased the bag, examined the quality which was excellent and proceeded to move all my stuff over from the Rush 24. Continue reading

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The Glock 43 – Finally

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2015-04-28 18.11.50About two weeks back I was finally able to pick up GLOCK’s new single stack 9mm; the GLOCK 43. My local gun shop was very helpful with getting me one and as of today my Beretta Nano is out the door.

I love to carry GLOCK 19s but in the summer it gets a little hard not to print and that is where the cut down 26L come into play. When it gets super-hot here or when I have to wear a suit for work I went with a Beretta Nano. At the time the Nano was about a Glocky as you could get with a single stack.

The Nano is a good pistol. It has a heavy slide that helps with recoil in such a small gun. Three things that bugged me about the Nano was the endless trigger, the lack of a slide stop, and the high bore axis. The trigger on the Nano is almost endless, it’s also mushy and the reset has a lot to be desired. It is not the worse I have used but it’s pretty bad. One of my main pain points with the Nano is it does not have a slide stop, so if you want to lock the slide back you have to insert an unloaded magazine, pull the slide back to last round hold open and then remove the mag. This all seems rather stupid but Beretta will claim it’s a great tradeoff for its snag free design. It may just be me but I rarely run into my slide stop snagging on my holster or gear.

The Nano also has a high bore axis so the gun is tippy and never really feels locked into your hands. The sights are ok and I upgraded them to Berettas night sights which are actually quite nice. Beretta also sells a super tuck holster for the Nano that is the most comfortable holster I have ever owned. In the grand scheme of things the Nano has been reliable and not all that hard to shoot. It was a moment in time and the best option available when it came out.

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Beretta Nano

Enter the GLOCK 43. Thank God, I am sick of all these crappy guns trying to be like a single stack 9mm GLOCK. the M&P shield is really the only one that I like or feel is a super reliable option. The GLOCK 42 never peaked my interest. I had no desire to go down to a 380 as a primary caliber. I think it is an awesome backup gun and I have some buddies in protective details that use it just for that but I never wanted to spend the cash to downgrade. Continue reading

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