Archive for March, 2016

Bugging In – Defending your Home whilst keeping it a Home

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

This post is sponsored by Prepper Academy, the only preparedness program that shows you step-by-step how to rapidly prepare for the coming hard times — no matter what your income or where you live.

fortress

The following article has been contributed by Matt, a preparedness expert currently residing down under in the beautiful country of Australia.

I live in a City. More in the suburbs than surrounded by towering skyscrapers.

It’s an Urban Environment. There’s no wilderness or bush, being from Australia the ‘bush’ is pretty much any area or terrain that’s remote enough to not have many if any other people living there. There are sealed roads, schools, shopping centres and we’re surrounded by miles and miles of housing.

We preppers are always ready to bug out. Stores are cached. Bug out location secure and hidden. Plenty of supplies and a means to get from ‘home’ to your Bug out location.

It might be essential to have a bug out location, but after all if you do have to bug out all you are essentially doing is moving from one ‘home’ to another ‘home’. The ‘other home’ (your bug out location) is well prepared, stocked and defended. Why not prepare your actual home in the same essence?

As we increasingly become more and more urbanized every day, in some places, bugging out to the woods, wilderness or bush isn’t really a viable option.

Sure, we have to plan for somewhere to go just in case. It might mean another dwelling still in or near an urban environment. But bugging out when family is involved might add to the challenges.

So what can I do to protect my family if the SHTF and Home is the only place they feel safe?

The Hidden Fortress

I got thinking and I want to be realistic. I want to keep my home a home and not a fortress. I want it to look like a normal typical house. But soon as a storm approaches and/or damages something or if the SHTF, I’d like to be prepared to protect my family and defend my home as quickly and easily as possible.

Now I live in relatively quiet street, elderly nosy neighbours, always out and about their front yard.

There are people tending their gardens, birds chirping. The last thing I want is to attract attention by erecting a 9 foot chain-link fence topped with razor wire around my property.

What can I do to defend my home and protect my family without drawing too much attention? If the SHTF and bugging in is the only option, there’s looting and rioting going on and the threat of intruders trying to harm my family on my property is realistic what can I do?

The Perimeter

Natural Barriers

We have rose bushes along the front edge of our property. Plants are a great way to deter potential intruders. Thorns, spines, prickles, poison ivy. Just keep them contained, well kept, and as neat as a garden should look.

Material Barriers

Our front fence will be (we’re currently renovating) a black aluminium pool fencing deal, topped with ornamental spikes. They look decorative and its high enough you can’t jump it without having to pull yourself over. But fall on one of those spikes and you’re going to have a bad day.

Bollards

If your driveway permits it and is a bottleneck of sorts, you could also prepare some post holes in the ground. Cover and protect from weather. If the fear of intruders in a SHTF scenario and the potential for them to enter your property via ram raiding with a vehicle presents itself, then you at a moment’s notice can drop in some vehicle impeding bollards.

This also works for any other potential ram raid point of your home. Obviously a vehicle traveling towards any side of your house with speed will most likely break through a brick wall, but at least you can give them a bit of worse day by stopping, reducing, or preventing major damage.

You have also created time and that is what most of this is about. You’ve created inconvenience for them. You’ve reduced their opportunities.

Now preparedness is about being ready at a moment’s notice. Do you really want to lug all the way from your shed to the front yard reinforced concrete or metal posts? If you have the means and some proper bollards then do it.

I wouldn’t, so why not make them your garden bed edging. All you do is pick them up/ roll them from garden to post hole, several feet, and drop them in. Light enough to lift, with effort, strong enough to reduce the speed and increase the stopping power of a potentially unwanted vehicle.[Editor Note: If you have the financial resources, there are decorative bollards available that look like fancy light posts which essentially cover concrete/metal posts].

Additional Perimeter Ideas

The fencing around our house adjoining the neighbours is legal, to code, standard Colourbond fence. But to get over it you’ll need a crate, stool, or a bit of a jump to then drag yourself over it.

Additionally, if the SHTF fan and we’re forced to bug in without rule of law: I have a bucket with enough crushed/broken glass, a pair of sturdy cut proof gloves, and a few tubes of outdoor silicone to scatter the glass shards along the top of our fencing.
It sits there in a bucket, in the shed, and it didn’t cost a dime for the glass as a few parties supplied the material. Anyone caught trying to enter our property by jumping a fence is going to have some sore hands. If we have to leave we’ll throw a blanket over it.

As an environmental bonus: due to the terrain, our house and the surrounding houses are built on a slope. Being in somewhat of a valley like area a lot of driveways are on at least a 45-60 degree angle. Therefore we have a nice 5-6 foot drop from the level road to our front yard. So getting over a 5+ foot fence to then drop a further 5 or so feet isn’t going to tickle.

Use your surroundings if you can

Surrounded by trees, twigs, sticks, these are slippery underfoot plus make noise.

Same as loose gravel, stones, and dirt all leave tell-tale signs of a presence, by making noise or leaving marks.

Improvised Outdoor Self-Defence Weapons

Be mindful that anything you can use as a self-defence weapon someone else can use against you offensively.

Remember those rose bushes I told you about? Well there staked into the ground by garden stakes. They’re long, solid and splintery.

As an example: If I have to grab at a moment’s notice one of the stakes to protect my family from someone slipping in behind me as the gate shut when I got home from work and we’re rolling around the garden, then at least I can even the odds.

Same as the backyard. You’ll find the plants that need to be staked have the same ones like the front.

Things like this range from the simple garden stake to a letter box that’s secured well enough to the ground to not be knocked over but easily removed in case you need to take on an attacker trying to go one on one with you on your own property. An improvised large hammer if you will.

Stones (they don’t have to be the large kind), loose gravel, dirt and soil from your garden. As above if you have to square off with someone on your property and all you have is a handful of dirt or gravel the natural reaction of having something thrown at you is to flinch. This may give you enough time to get the upper hand or retreat inside. Look around your property and see where your ‘improvised weapons’ are. See where you can strategically place ‘normal’ landscaping materials that can be improvised at a moments notice.

House

Window Reinforcements

I have pieces of plywood, paneling or whatever you call it where you’re from, cut and measured to the sizes I need to cover all my windows. These are stored in my shed with a hammer, nails and duct tape bagged and taped to the panels. If for some reason a football, rock or storm damage happens to take out a window and repairs will take more than a day or so then I can cover and seal the window safely until repairs are made.

In a SHTF scenario I can board up my windows at a moment’s notice without having to scramble for things, thus securing possible entry points, making it harder for looters to gain access and or giving me enough time to prepare for fight or flight. Cutting a few inch sized holes here and there will allow air, light and vision through if needed. Just remember to cover the holes at night otherwise the light may alert others to your presence.

Door Reinforcements

I have enough pieces of wood 2×4 etc., to board up my entry doors (from the inside) if needed, once again, stored in my shed. Cut and measured and labelled for each door. If you need to brace a door to give you time against looting or for some other reason you already have the materials. Off cuts are cheap and easy. Make sure you always keep yourself an entry/exit point. Don’t board yourself in.

Environmental Sealants

I have measured the length of duct tape needed to seal off my windows, vents and doors. Now I am not talking about airtight enough to die from asphyxiation.

Not near our home but further away, at separate times and days, there were some fires in a Recycling Plant, tire dump and garbage dump.

Picture living close enough to these and not being prepared to Bug In if you or your loved ones cannot go outside until the fires are controlled. Staying indoors and sealing off enough gaps to minimize and reduce the amount of toxic/poisonous smoke entering your home should make it more bearable until the problem is sorted. Just remember to leave some ventilation, don’t panic and do something silly.

Of course completely leaving the area would be better.

Know the visibility limitations from inside/outside your home

During the day look out the windows and see how far and where you can see. Find the blind spots. Do the same from outside. Do the same at night. This is particularly useful at night. Close all your blinds and go outside. You’ll be amazed what you can see when you think your blinds are shut. Silhouettes, all these unsecured curtain edges allow full visibility to your 55inch flat screen tv, what family sleep where, where you put your jewellery at night before you go to bed. See what you can from up close to the windows. See what you can from the street. Note it all down and make plans to close some gaps.

Noise Discipline

Do the same for audio levels. During the day crank your tv or radio up to a level and go outside. Keep doing this until you can just hear it outside. Note down the level.

Do the same at night. This is useful for monitoring your noise levels in case you have to minimize your presence to unwanted attention. Plus it might help with not annoying the neighbours if you know you can’t crank your music past volume level 8 at 10pm at night.

General Recommendations

Then there are the usual measures you read about in most home safety or law enforcement tips for securing your home.

  • Good quality locks on the doors and or windows
  • Peepholes, viewing glasses
  • CCTV, surveillance cameras, dummy or real
  • Security Stickers
  • Floodlights, security lights
  • A dog and or sign
  • Doors installed securely, long screws, Door Devils, solid core or reinforced doors
  • Never leave anything outside that someone could use to break into your property (unless reasonably indistinguishable from something you’d normally look for, say like those garden stakes!) Ladders, tools, gardening equipment all secured in shed
  • Make sure your home is well kept, gutters cleaned, maintained
  • Rodent and pest controlled as best as possible
  • Plumbing/electrical etc. all in good working order

This is by no means and exhaustive list and a lot of points can be expanded upon considerably.

In the end it is entirely up to you. Be practical. Be realistic. Don’t sacrifice looks and aesthetics if you don’t need to. Education might alter your family’s outlook on bugging out.

But there might be a time there is no other option than to just bug in, prep and defend.

Tactical Is Practical.

Guest Post: Budget Home Defense for the Prepper

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

The following guest post was contributed by Nathanial Kincaid

gear-rolloutOne dark eerie night I was resting in peace and comfort when suddenly I was jolted awake by a huge crash. My hair stood up on end. Bits of sweat beaded on my back. I lay still barely breathing. My wife asked in a hushed voice, “What was that?” I could imagine escaped convicts, or terrorists with dull knives come to butcher everyone in the house.

Thankfully it was a shelf or a clock that fell, something dull and mundane. But across America many households are not so fortunate. In some homes women and men are found the next day in a pool of blood. Tragically even innocent children cannot escape some sadistic human reapers. The police and the SWAT teams do save countless lives but for some they arrive to late.

No one can prepare for everything. Intruders can always catch you unawares. Motion sensors, dogs and even alarms can always be circumnavigated. Yet the more prepared and perhaps most importantly the more trained you are the safer your home will be. I love to read in the NRA magazines how from young to the elderly, all people can in certain circumstances protect the ones they love.

In our era, home intrusion can be coupled with the fear of lone wolf attacks. Recently shootings are a normality. We never know when an extremist or unsettled neighbor decides to end your life. In the midst of these fears we realize the US is a very big target. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 shocked a country that felt unassailable. You and I know that in our lifetime any of a number of countries would salivate at the idea of invading our homeland. Thus each of our states is sanctioned by law to call eligible citizens to defense in a catastrophic event. Before such a time comes it pays to be ready!

The Ingredients

For my home defense uniform and gear I planned this with a budget in mind. I know there are always gun snobs, tactical snobs, and optic snobs along with a group of others who only buy gear that effectively excludes the rest of us. I gathered my list of gear with the idea of protective affordability.

Kevlar Large PASGT Helmet- My cost $40 (eBay)

helmet

Pros:

The PASGT helmet is heavy but provides good all around protection. Some add upgraded pads to enhance concussion protection. Upgraded chin straps can also be purchased to help make the experience more comfortable.

These helmets protect against some pistol rounds but do not stop rifle rounds. New helmets in various sizes and with different mountings can be purchased online at army navy sales for $124 used and $169 new. Ironically the moniker new only adds $45 to your bill. While the older steel pot helmets were thin walled with a plastic type helmet liner, this Kevlar helmet is thicker with Kevlar promoted as possessing a strength five times greater than steel.

I also like the way the helmet drops to protect more of the side of ones face than more modern helmets. This helmet seems to have been in storage for most of its life almost having a new feel to it.

Cons:

My black Kevlar helmet started its life several years ago as a police helmet with a riot shied attached. This is an older style Kevlar helmet and was sold as old stock. Some claim that Kevlar after a certain age loses an amount of its protective properties. However in Ukraine I read that the UK donated some of their old Ballistic helmets, (they are not made of Kevlar exactly but of another type of ballistic material) to the struggling army.

In researching on old UK helmets I read that they are inferior to PASGT helmets and have a propensity to mold. Thus if Ukrainian soldiers face Russian backed separatist in a helmet considered less safe than my old Kevlar, I feel vindicated in my purchase. These helmets are also heavy. Protection comes at an expense and this one feels like a couple bricks were added to your cranium. Also the chin straps are uncomfortable and the helmet has a tendency to slide. I don’t believe these problems are unique to only the PASGT but also to the newer service helmets as well.

Goggles-Revision Desert Locust – my cost $13 (ebay)

goggles

Along with a protecting helmet, modern operatives at times rely on googles to protect the eyes. New helmets in testing offer full head protection but for now these surplus goggles work.

The Revision Desert Locust goggles come with clear and darkened lens. They are supposed to meet both the ballistic requirement for military shooting glasses and also perform to a higher standard which classes them at being able to repel .22 projectiles traveling at 550fps. A great article explaining this in depth can be found at the Lucky Gunner Labs website under the article eye protection and shooting glasses review. On his website he tested glasses, shooting them to really see how they held up. After reading the article I might go for a pair of goggles that definitely were almost new! In his review he found that glasses older than five or so years lost much of their protective ability.

These goggles are huge but fit well. They claim to be anti-fog but expect to see some cloud to build on the glasses. Overall they seem fairly well built.

Plate Carrier. First Choice Armor – my cost $15-(ebay)

plate-carrier

Pros:

The greatest asset was that this vest was cheap. At fifteen dollars it seems a stellar deal. Obviously this was only for the vest and without inserts. The vest has molle on the sides front and back. Thus I can attach ammo pouches and in the back I have my hydration pack already inserted. Inside there are pockets for hard and soft armor. Velcro again is used to make sure these will stay in place.

Cons:

I find myself wishing the vest had more molle. There is molle on the back and on the side straps but really none on the front except two rows on top. Also the vest came in tan so I painted it black with mixed results.

The Velcro works but somehow with 20lbs or so of body armor I wonder how long the Velcro will hold up. The opening for your head is rather small so one might have to unlatch the vest each time just to put it on.

One thing to realize is that armor is NOT COMFORTABLE! In all I am happy with the vest and it seems to be fairly versatile considering its low cost. Body armor can be purchased many places coming in a buffet of sizes and types. Hard armor is usually steel or ceramic plates with ceramic plate considered better but more expensive. Soft body armor again is made by several companies. China evens imports armor many of which is marketed on ebay etc. I love ebay but just a caution research what you are getting! There are several ratings of body armor. Below is a simplistic explanation.

  • Level I-stops .22
  • Level II-stops 9mm
  • Level III-hard plate and soft armor protect from .308
  • Level IV-protect from one armor piercing shot

Also note that stopping a blade is a bit different so tailor your armor for your perceived threats.

Knee Pads-Hatch- $7 (ebay)

knee-pads

For a while I scorned knee pads as bulky and for those unduly tormented by fear of bodily harm. But I realize that in a desperate situation the last thing you want to do is be found crippled by a busted knee. For a home defense situation knee pads might seem a stretch but such confrontation could evolve to an outdoor protracted firefight. Especially for those in secluded areas where help will not arrive soon. Imagine a nighttime vandal luring you into a woodland confrontation. Or even the thought of kneeling on rough surfaces while you defend against a deranged assailant could suggest use in these padded inner and hard shell outer knee pads. Granted these scenarios seem far fetched and absurd but our world is not a safe place!

The knee pads are serviceable. The Velcro is difficult to secure to a level of snugness. The pads seem durable and alright for what I need.

AMD 65- AK 7.62×39 – $499 (Classic Firearms)

amd-65

The AMD 65 is a Hungarian AK that was built short for tank crews etc. and then lengthened in the US. I just purchased it recently so I haven’t had the chance to take it to the range yet. So far I have been very happy with the gun.

I was able to find triple pocket Molle CONDOR pouch that accepts double mags per pocket thus I can hold six thirty round mags in one triple pouch. This pouch also has a place for pistol clips to be held inside as well.

I also replaced the handguard of the AK with a UTG quad rail which seems very sturdy. The stock is hollow allowing for a cleaning kit to be stowed inside. I don’t like the pistol grip since it is basically painted rough wood but that is an easy change. I am also adding a Bushnell small red dot sight the TRS-25 to this rifle. Perhaps later I will detail this rifle further explaining in specific steps the upgrades and positives I see in this gun.

The rest.

For my tactical gloves I purchased some atv gloves from Home Depot. They are black and made of stretchy, foam, and synthetic material. They are not Kevlar plated but at $4 or so a pair they are pretty nice.

My shirt is TRU-SPEC. I LOVE TRU-SPEC!!! Most other tactical brands seem to charge exorbitant prices. Again on ebay which I troll I can find great prices on TRU-SPEC. This tactical shirt I think only cost me $8 or so.

At Wal-Mart I found the thin weight SOG black tactical pants. I wish they would have had cargo pockets but they still are great for the $5 I found them marked for on clearance. They are made of rip-stop material and repel water nicely. Again they are very light weight with an elastic waist. I bought about five pairs and I wish I could have found more!

The boots I also found on ebay and they came to about $5. They are military pattern boots. Lace-ups with metal eyes and leather body over rubber soles. Overall I like these old boots better than some of the new tactical style boots. Before you spend over a hundred dollars on what is a glorified sneaker I highly recommend surplus boots in good condition.

Conclusion

As I read sites and forums I realize that the availability of tactical gear is huge. When I find an item I like I usually first read reviews about it on Amazon. Then I head over to ebay and Sportsman guide. Ebay usually has better deals than amazon if you are patient. Sportsman guide sells a lot of surplus and tactical gear. With their free shipping over $49 they can be a good place to buy ammo if you can’t afford to save by buying large quantities in bulk. Cheaper than dirt I found only had my UTG quad rail cheaper than other sites. With its hefty shipping Cheaper than dirt is seldom cheap. For tactical guns Classic Firearms is a great place to go. JG, AIM and others may be as good but I find Classic usually has better deals.

Again my gear is not only for protection but also a hobby as well. For extended hikes I have a black molle hydration pack. I will add my medical kit to the hydration pack and also some other pouches. Recently I purchased a handheld ham radio which I plan to get licensed on as well. Additionally an Ontario version of the K-bar knife I recently secured to a molle leg holster for hiking and survival purposes.

The point is have fun learning the history and uses behind the gear as free Americans we are allowed to possess. Respect your gear and your neighbor! Let us as law abiding citizens take our Constitutional rights seriously and provide a just defense of our homes.

How to Butcher Rabbits

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

This is part two of a 3-part series on raising, butchering and processing rabbit for meat and fur.

This article has been contributed by Anne Marie Duhon. Anne Marie is a wife, mother of six and a full time off-gridder. She and her husband currently live in a totally off grid 200 sq foot “tiny home” and are in search of (again) that elusive perfect spot to call home. Besides being a wife and mother she, and her family, have raised many different animals on their various homesteads and have lived and loved being off the grid and many miles from the nearest paved road. She would like to share her first hand experiences and help others to learn to live and love living off grid and being as self reliant as possible.

butchering-rabbitButchering rabbits is not my idea of a good time. It is one of the many necessary chores around a homestead that, while distasteful, HAVE to be done. A long time ago when we decided to make our own meat we came to the decision that all our animals would have the best lives we could give them and only one moment of pain. Meat -no matter how many think otherwise- does not come from the backrooms of your local store wrapped in plastic.

So now you managed to raise that first litter to 12 weeks of age and they are looking mighty tasty, how do you turn a cute fuzzy rabbit into a delicious meal? There are as many methods as there are rabbit raisers. I will show and explain some of the “better” more humane ways of killing rabbits in this article. The main and most important goal in this is to make the death as quick and as painless as possible. Any stress during the butchering process can result in the release of adrenaline and other endocrine hormones associated with the animal’s flight response. These hormones negatively affect the flavor of the rabbit meat, and will toughen the meat. If your farm’s rabbit meat tastes sweet like chicken, that means the rabbit died peacefully and humanely.

Setting Up Your Processing Area

First, find a time and a place where you will not have any unwanted observers! Neighbors may not agree with you killing “cute, fuzzy bunnies” and make a fuss, children may not understand, and others just might make you nervous your first go around and make the process more stressful for both you and the doomed rabbits. A good place would be in your garage or basement or a separate enclosed building specifically designated for butchering. If you are lucky and live way out in the boonies and have no neighbors you could do it in your yard. No matter where you choose to do the deed you will need the same basic tools. These basic tools are a gambrel to hang the rabbit to make gutting and skinning easier, a table, two buckets of water, and of course several sharp knives.

Methods of Butchering Rabbits

A shot to the head will cause an instant death. It will kill the rabbit before it even knows what has happened. But it goes without saying that this isn’t an option for many situations. There are ‘manual’ methods which can be used anywhere, on the spot, that anyone can do. They are the neck break (also known as cervical dislocation or broom sticking), and clubbing or blunt impact to the head. Be warned, I will talk about killing rabbit in a blunt way and it might shock you.

Gunshot

This can be performed with a very small caliber handgun or rifle, or (especially in an urban or suburban environment) with a more silent pump action pellet gun (not a BB gun). Create a small pen out of wire and place the rabbit in that pen with a treat or some greens to munch on. While the rabbit is occupied, place the end of the gun between the ears at the back of the skull and aim towards the mouth. If you are using a firearm, a gun safety course is highly recommended and it is recommended you do not perform this on a rocky or hard surface where there is a risk of ricochet.

Broom sticking

broom-stickingBroom sticking is called that because you use a broomstick or similar long pole. Place the rabbit on the ground, on its belly with its front legs out in front of it and hold on to its back legs. Lay the broomstick across the back of the rabbit’s neck, right behind the ears. Place one foot on the pole – use only enough pressure to hold the pole in place. Slide your hands back and grab the rabbit by the back legs.

Now then step onto the pole with both feet and firmly pull the rabbits legs straight up. You should hear the distinctive sounds of crackling bones. This method is one form of cervical dislocation and is rapid and relatively painless. Here is a link to a video to better show how this is done.

Rabbit wringer

rabbit-wringerThe Rabbit Wringer is a commercial product that uses mechanical cervical dislocation as a safe and humane method of dispatching rabbits.

Here is a description from their site:

When done correctly, there is no blood until you severe the head, except in some cases, blood will drop out of the nose of the rabbit while hanging. No need to bend down and hurt your back, and no coordination issues. A proven, and reliable method whereby the rabbit goes from alive to dead in a split second kill, with no chance for recovery.

Here is a demonstration of the product being used:

Manual cervical dislocation

manual-dislocationThis is just a fancy way of saying you’re breaking the rabbit’s neck causing the brainstem to be completely dislocated from the central nervous system.

This method requires no extra tools and, when done right, is incredibly fast and painless for the rabbit. However, it does also require quite a bit of technique and muscular effort to pull off right and is not recommended for a novice. I bought an educational video that displays this method, but for copyright reasons I cannot share it. If you wish to learn this method it is best to have someone experienced show it to you. Here is video from Youtube that will give you a better idea of how this is done:

Blunt force trauma

blunt-traumaCarry the rabbit nestled in your non-dominant arm with the head facing out and the rear nestled towards your elbow. Hold the front legs immobile with your non-dominant hand. Push the rabbit’s ears forward causing it to drop its head downward and expose that spot between the ears at the back of the skull.

Using a ball peen hammer or other heavy, sturdy object (like rebar, a club, or even your own fist if you’re strong enough), strike that spot on the back of the skull HARD. Once to stun, and then two more times in rapid succession to kill.

The most important thing to keep in mind with this method is to make sure you are accurate and forceful with your blows and that your non-dominant hand is out of the path of the blows.

Quickly test the pupillary reflex and add additional blows if warranted. But the first blow needs to be strong enough to render the rabbit completely stunned in order to be successfully humane.

Dressing out the Rabbit

Whew! Now the rabbit is meat! The hardest part is over.

As soon as the rabbit is dead, hang it on a Gambrel by the hocks (back leg “ankle joint”) at a convenient height for you to work on the carcass.

With a knife remove the head first so it can bleed out. While it is bleeding out remove the front feet and tail. Skin the hind legs from hock joint to the anus/groin.

Using your fingers, peel the whole hide down and over the body as you would turn down a sock. It might take a little force but the whole hide should come off turned inside out fur side in. Decide at this point either to keep for tanning or discard the pelt. Tanning will be my next article!

Being careful not to puncture intestines, make a slit the full length of the body from groin to front of breastbone. Again using your fingers, by blunt dissection remove the entrails, leaving the liver, kidneys, and heart in.

The carcass should be rinsed in one of your buckets of cool water to remove any blood and hair. A rabbit can be cut into seven pieces much like a chicken. Legs, loin, shoulder, back. Chill the meat in ice water for two hours then wrap up and place in the freezer. It could also be stored in the fridge for up to five days and used fresh.

So now what?

Rabbit can be cooked in most the same ways chicken can. So get out your pots and pans and get inventive! Rabbit has a mild flavor and is a very healthy, easily digested meat!

I hope all this work to make a meal for your family was as worth it for you as it is for us! Enjoy!

Survival Applications of a Portable Laser

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

laser-blue

Recently I had a gentleman over at SkyTech Lasers contact me about doing a review on the blog for one of his portable high-powered lasers.

At first I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to do the review because I didn’t initially see how, in my mind, “an overpowered laser pointer” would apply in a survival situation.

But after receiving it and playing around with it for little while, I was able to see some pretty decent applications in a survival situation. Before I get to that though, let me run through a quick review on the laser itself…

Unboxing the SkyTech Blue Handheld Laser

The laser unit ships with a hard case with foam inserts to help protect and store your laser — a good addition if wanting to keep it safe while packed in a bug-out bag and on the move.

IMG_5094

When picking up the laser, the first thing I noticed that this is no run-of-the-mill red laser pointer you can get at any dollar store. The unit is larger than any “pointer” I’ve ever handled before, it feels solid but at the same time it’s light enough to easily carry with you and not notice it.

laser-unit

Because this is not a toy and can cause severe and permanent eye damage, there are multiple safety features built in to the unit — some that are required by the FDA (yes, the FDA).

On the front of the laser there is a rotating aperture that allows you to prevent the light from being emitted.

IMG_5097 IMG_5096

There is also a lock that when engaged will prevent the laser from turning on. The unit ships with two keylock keys included.

IMG_5098

And finally, as if the above two weren’t enough, there is a remote interlock:

remote-interlock

The remote interlock is a pin type lock that must be attached in order for the laser turn on. There are two types of interlock keys are provided, the pin and loop. The laser comes with the pin already inserted into the remote interlock. If this is removed, the laser will not turn on.

The loop key is used if you require the addition of a third party switch to activate the laser remotely. Simply cut the red wire and attach a remote switch.

The standard use for this laser is the concentrated beam (which you can see in the intro picture at the top of this blog post). In addition though, the laser unit allows you to adjust the focus of the beam — expanding it outwards so as to function as sort of a flashlight as you can see in this video:

Laser Specifications

For you laser nerds out there, here are the specifications of the laser unit itself:

Laser Color Blue
Wavelength 450nm
Power output 1,000mW
Laser class 4
Dimensions Φ23.5mm * 180mm
Weight(without batteries) 134g
Transverse mode TE00
Beam divergence <3.0 mRad (Full Angle), Adjustable
Beam diameter < 2.5 mm
Battery type 2 x 16340 Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery
Battery life 30-60 minutes
Power consumption 3.7V, 1A – 2A
Operating temperature 10-30°C
Storage temperature -10-50°C
Duty cycle 10 minutes on, 10s off
Expected lifetime >5,000 hours
Warranty 2 years

The two things that stood out for me from these specs are the expected lifetime (5,000 hours!) and the 2 year warranty. I’ve had lots of smaller laser “pointers” and none of them had a warranty or such a long life expectancy. Those two points are proof to the quality of manufacturing put into these lasers.

Survival Applications

Nighttime signaling device:

After playing around with this at night and seeing just how powerful this laser is, the first thing that came to mind terms of an immediate survival application is as a nighttime signaling device.

Shining this thing in the sky it literally looks like a huge light saber. Now I must warn you, do not shine this up in the sky if you see any airplanes. The laser is so powerful that it could easily blind a pilot and can be seen from miles away.

With that being said, if you were ever lost out in the woods and needed to signal to a rescue party or someone within your group, they would easily see this at a distance

In the video I included below you can see the beam in the daytime and the contrast of that with what it loos like at night (yes, I did make sure that they were no planes flying above when I shined it vertically):

Self-defense tool:

When I was testing this laser, I wanted to see how effective it was through glass (which it is). And because it was dark outside and inside was lit, I did not wear my dark safety glasses. Well, a small amount of the laser light was reflecting back at me off the glass and just that small reflection was enough to temporarily blind my eyes and cause discomfort which I felt for a few minutes.

If directed at someone’s eyes, the beam is so powerful that it can easily cause temporary blindness; and if exposed for a longer periods, permanent damage will result. While I certainly understand it’s not the most practical self-defense tool, if you did have enough distance and the time to aim, it could be a great tool to cause temporary blindness while you try to get away.

I don’t recommend using this if you are in a threat situation where an attacker is close and coming at you. Your adrenaline will cause you to shake too much to allow you to focus the beam on a small area such as the eye (especially if the guy’s moving).

Another application I could see it working well in, is to prevent someone from pursuing you in a car. Especially if you had a passenger that could help you with this, by shining the beam in the pursuing driver’s eyes, there would be no way they’d be able to keep up the chase with this powerful beam hitting their eyes.

Nighttime camp security:

One great application I could see using this is in nighttime camp security.

Let’s say you were in a bug-out situation or had a remote camp and you were a distance away for whatever reason (gathering supplies, night patrols, etc). You could hook up the remote interlock wire to a switch that is triggered when someone trips a line entering your camp. With the laser pointed to the sky you would immediately see and know that someone is in your camp, alerting you to their presence.

Hunting

If you’ve ever used a normal laser pointer to play with your cat or dog, you know how the glowing and moving dot on the floor draws them in like a moth to the flame. They can’t help but to chase it around.

Well, this technique doesn’t just work on your pets, it also works on wild animals as well. While it’s more effective on predators such as from the bird, weasel, racoon, canine, and feline variety, it will also attract herbivores (like deer) in some cases too.

The application I see is to set up in a stand somewhere in the daytime and point the laser out ahead of you to draw animals in for a closer inspection — just enough to put them into shooting range. The range and brightness of these lasers will easily overcome any washing-out that the sun would do to a normal red laser pointer.

Fire starter:

This last application I played around with just to see how effective it would be in making fire. While it is not the most effective (in terms of the laser directly causing fire) it can be used to start a fire indirectly by igniting a primer like char cloth, birch fungus, or even a cigarette.

In the video below you can see me attempting to start a fire with it directly on the tinder bundle (it smokes, but no flame) versus lighting the char cloth and then blowing that in a tinder bundle into a flame.

In addition, it easily ignites matches if you were in a situation where you’d forgotten your matchbox/striker and had your laser.

Conclusion

Besides how impressive these lasers are in their normal applications (you really need to experience them at night to fully understand how powerful these are) they are actually fairly useful in a variety of survival situations.

While I wouldn’t trade this for some of my other gear, if you’re the prepper that “has everything” and you’re interested in adding this to your collection of “cool” survival gadgets, be sure to check them out over at SkyTech Lasers, you won’t be disappointed.