Knife Combat Realities

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An Ontario Marine Raider Bowie with a 9.75″ blade up top, and a 7 inch bladed Randall 1-7 on the bottom. Both knives would be good slashing knives, but for stabbing, not so much. The Raider would have an exceptionally hard time getting to the vitals.

While teaching a “Defense against the knife” segment in a Defensive Tactics class yesterday, I was asked, “What should I do if I also have a knife when I’m attacked by a knife wielding opponent?”. I said ‘Run!”. The response was,”But I have a knife.”. At that point, I said, “Look, this is not a duel. Jim Bowie is not in the bar waiting for you to cheat at cards. When you carry and plan to use a knife it’s generally for one or all of three reason. One, it is a back up weapon for the firearm that you should be carrying to protect yourself and you have no option to run away if the firearm is disabled. Two, It is used to quietly take out a bad guy by sneaking up on him (Sentry removal, but you should have had a suppressor for your .45ACP or .22LR pistol, right?). Three, you carry it for it’s utilitarian ability as a tool for construction, chores, etc.

Speaking of knife attacks, here’s some footage from the recent Knife/Gun fight at Ohio State University LOL

As a good friend who was trained in the use of the knife by guys who were OSS in WWII said, those who haven’t used a knife on a person always “out” themselves by talking of grandiose “knife fights”, which end with them as the victor and dripping with their opponents blood. Reality is that anyone claiming to have been in knife fights (especially those claiming “But we did it in the dojo with real blades”), and “getting wet” with their opponents blood are usually nothing but blowhard, fantasy monkeys with delusions of their actual abilities and experience.

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Carrying a full sized knife on the shoulder of your combat gear makes it accessible, even if a bad guy is on top of you (straddled/”on the mount”).

There are very few people who are (or have been) in a position to use a knife in a combat situation. Unlike the movies, the situation very rarely presents itself to personnel in the military. I know a lot of LEO’s carry a knife for the purpose of “Back up defense”, but those same guys are usually carrying a back up gun as well. The average citizen should definitely be carrying a defense and utility (if you don’t carry a multi-tool as well) blade that is easily accessible, even if they can’t legally carry a gun.

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Carrying a knife on the opposite shoulder strap of your concealed handgun shoulder rig, gives you easier access if you are unable to get to your belt line (the bad guy is “in the mount”/ straddling you).

Generally speaking, using a knife in a defensive scenario means you have no means of escape and your firearm is either out of action, or you can’t access it (guy is on top of you [mount] and you can’t reach your pistol, but the knife is in an accessible location). Anyone who says that when given the chance to escape, they will go toe to toe with a knife wielding bad guy who has threatened them is a liar and/or a moron. As I said, this isn’t the early 1800’s, and you ain’t Jim Bowie.

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As said earlier, multiple ways to access your defensive blade can be important.

What I teach in knife defense is the same as what I teach in defending against a handgun (handgun takeaways). The acronym is “RCAT” Redirect/Control/Attack/Takeaway. REDIRECT- You redirect the thrust of the blade, or the direction the muzzle is pointing. CONTROL- You gain control of the wrist, forearm, and upper arm on the side that the weapon is held (try not to be on the inside of the arm, they can wrap you up if you do that). ATTACK- You use a punch or elbow to strike an area that will cause immediate debilitating pain and/or nerve damage ( example-head or neck and/or nerves in the hand/arm). TAKEAWAY- You use a technique to strip the weapon (gun or knife) from the attacker’s hand. Usually, this takeaway will involve the fact that the thumb is the weakest point of the grip, and will “give” very easily if leveraged correctly. The caveat is that some people will wrap the knife’s lanyard around the back of their hand, so you might not be able to strip it.

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One popular way to carry a full sized knife (especially by Paratroopers) is on the outside of your boot, because it is easily accessed, even in a parachute harness.

Although I teach/have taught how to perform a “Knife Takeaway”, I usually just suggest that they stop the immediate attack by the bad guy, follow up with some combatives (kick, punch, elbow) to reset his “OODA Loop”, and push the individual off/away and get out of there if possible. If you can’t get out of there, my advice is this. You were just attacked by someone with a deadly weapon. It is a “Deadly Force” attack. Morally, ethically and LEGALLY, you have the right to attack with the same force to stop them. Stopping them, doesn’t necessarily mean killing them. If you knock someone out, or make it impossible for them to continue, YOU stop YOUR attack! It would be ridiculous to come out of a knife attack with little or no harm to yourself, only to end up in jail because some jackass videoed you killing someone who was no longer a threat (think it can’t happen?).

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Although the 5″ Air Force Issue Survival knife (TOP), and the 3.2″ bladed CRKT Sting (BOTTOM) would do in a pinch, a longer blade, especially one without serrations would do better in a defensive encounter where you have to use a knife. The convenience of the Sting is due to it’s strength (one piece of steel), and its concealability.

Unlike most of the defensive tactics instructors out there, I have unfortunately seen real knife attacks up close. Several “instructors” out there make the claim of, “I’m a knife fighter”, but their BS is usually easy to see through if you have any DT experience. Once you’ve seen a knife attack personally, you realize there is no “fantasies of the blade” (A knife is a tool, not some fantastical implement that you have a semi sexual bonding ceremony with), just a grim reality. Although I probably have more training in the use of the knife in combat than most “instructors” (most don’t have much, just some basics they’ve learned, but there are a few that are really experienced) out there, I still would not consider myself a knife fighter, and definitely don’t believe I’m an expert. It’s one thing for the DT instructors out there to write what they’ve been taught and hopefully that is based on reality. It’s something else entirely when they claim to be “The voice of experience”, because they “Got wet at belt buckle range”, but conveniently have no bona fides to back it up.

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TOP, Fairbairn-Sykes Commando knife (handle is wrapped with tennis racket grip tape).  BOTTOM, Gerber MK II.

If you are getting a blade specifically for taking out bad guys (remember, it’s not a knife fight, it’s a sneak attack), I recommend you get a Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife (get a real Sheffield, not a crap “knock off”), or a Gerber MK II. The Gerber has a little more going for it in the utility blade (is a dagger ever really a “utility” knife?) department (heavier blade, serrated edges), but what makes it better on the utility side, takes away from it’s ability as a sentry removal tool. Once again, from experience, I can tell you that the closer your blade profile is to an ice pick (“needle point” as opposed to the “spear point”), the better it will perform on a human target. The F-S knife has the prerequisite length (& inches) for reaching vital areas when you are attacking a target location like the clavicle (at a downward angle towards the aorta/heart) or neck from the rear.

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If used in the military for anti personnel duties, this depicts training in how to use a dagger properly.

Last but not least, if you plan on using that large or medium sized bowie or tanto (7-10 inch blade), understand that they are primarily slashing weapons (you know all the primary slashing targets….right?), and if you stab someone with a blade with those types of profiles, there is a good chance it might not penetrate, or will get stuck.

Below is a post from DTG that imparts some good lessons from DTG and Marc MacYoung. There are many good takeaways from that post, Read and Heed.

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First, before we get into the post as written by ‘Marc MacYoung’, which I very much agree with on the whole; the man makes a lot of sense, I am an admitted ‘student of the knife’ when it comes to capabilities and techniques.  Out of all the years I’ve studied one system or another, technique upon technique, I’ve learned a few good things:  A:  Knife duels (what most consider a ‘knife fight’) are rarer than hen’s teeth.  B:  People who say they prefer to get into a fight with a knife wielding opponent are either 1 – consummate bullshiters or 2 – in possession of a ‘less than sane’ death wish.  C:  All the knives in the world and all the ‘knife training’ in the world will not prepare you for a knife attack.  Read the article.  Knife attacks are more precisely defined as ‘assassination attempts’.  Also, pay particular attention to what the writer says about ‘self-defense’.  You have to know when to stop….many don’t.

The only place where the knife fighting fantasy exists is in the martial arts. There is no such thing in the modern civilized world. In legal terms it is attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon or homicide. To the street fighter it is assassination, not a “fight” at all. To the criminal it is a tool for robbery  Everyone else considers it abhorrent macho stupidity. 

MM

Knife fighting lies

On this page:
Lie #1You’re going to have time to draw your own weapon | Lie #2 It’s going to be a knife “fight” | Lie #3 But what if I’m cornered?” | Lie #4 He’s going to attack you a specific  way | Lie# 5 And then he is going to passively stand there while you carve him | Lie #6 Trapping and stripping | Lie #7 Bio-mechanical cutting | Lie #8 Knowing how to stickfight means you know how to knife fight | Lie #9 Knowing kali makes you a knife fighter | Lie #10 Grappling with a knife | Lie #11 The knife is an extension of your hand | Lie #12 There is such a thing as a “master knife fighter” | Lie #13 That this is a “fight” at all | Lie #14 Expect to get cut | Lie #15 The FMA are the ultimate knife fighting systems | Lie #16 It’s easy to disarm an armed opponent | Lie #17 You can successfully fight an armed attacker | Lie #18 Drills teach you how to knife fight | Lie #19 You can use a knife on another human being without legal repercussions

There are many so-called “experts” who claim to be able to teach you either knife fighting or defense against a knife. The problem is that most of them are just teaching regurgitated martial arts, usually from the Philippines. While I have lots of respect for the martial arts of other lands, the truth is that you live where you do. Odds are you are not in a “knife culture.” And that means that whatever you do regarding knives must:

A) Work to keep you alive against how you are likely to be attacked by a knife in your homeland
and
B) If it does work, not put you in prison for murder or manslaughter

While B is important, it only becomes an issue if you survive A. Unfortunately, based on a lot of what I have been seeing taught with my own eyes or encountered while working with the students of these self-proclaimed “knife experts” getting past A is going to be a whole lot tougher than you think. Quite simply, most knife assaults are assassination attempts…how they occur is significantly different than how one “knife fights.” While I express my opinions on other knife instructors elsewhere, what this page is for is to help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls with what is being taught out there.

Oh yeah, one more thing, always remember…it’s your ass on the line out there, so don’t let *anybody* tell you that you don’t have the right to ask about these things or think for yourself.

Read the rest, here, then let’s have a good discussion on the subject.

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One of my favorite lines from MacYoung is this one, “For civilians, the best preventative measure of them all is not to put yourself into situations where you need to fight your way out. That is what he teaches, lest people find themselves in the same kind of situations that he did. For professionals the message is “IT ENDS NOW! — and of course in your favor.” But even there, it’s better if you can keep it from going physical (if for no other reason than the paperwork).” 

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

 

 

The “Special Snowflake Second Class” Award Goes To……

This is Trent. Trent is a Millennial. Trent is a “Special Snowflake” of the liberal variety and he apparently owns a gun (I know, scary isn’t it) and want’s “Fascists” (Trump and his supporters) to know he will protect those who he thinks will be persecuted by Trump.

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I’m curious what Trent thinks Hillary (he probably was a disenfranchised Bernie supporter) would have done with his “privacy” if she’d taken the field on Nov 8th? What about the muslims who aren’t your “friends”, and have vowed to kill you (the western devil) Trent? “Marginalized”, you mean like Christians, heterosexuals, or Americans with a Southern Heritage were in the last eight years? That kind of marginalized? “Immigrants”? You don’t mean immigrants, you mean “Illegals”, don’t you Trent? “Refugees”? Like the ones who have murdered or raped how many Americans in just the last year?

Do you even know the answer to the last question Trent? Of course you don’t, because you get your information from social media and/or MSM outlets that were proven to be biased before, during, and after the election. Tell you what “Snowflake”, you might want to check your enthusiasm at the porch, before you jump off of it. (At least his gun isn’t blue….right?). Generally, the shotgun you have there would never be considered an “Assault Shotgun, simply due to it’s limited magazine capacity ( but it is good for squirrels, BTW).

Before you try and take your Modern Warfare 3 fantasy into the bloody, scary reality, I’d suggest you consider taking up airsoft or paintball. It will give you the thrill you think you’re looking for, without the finality of someone ending your participation in the defense of some of the criminal elements you so admire. There is no “Participatory Award” in the real world Trent, and the fact that you believe Trump and his supporters are fascists, shows that you are not ready for that kind of a reality check.

Here's something a Buddy made using my description LOL.

Here’s something a Buddy made using my description LOL. The Special Snowflake Second Class w/ Crossed Diaper Pins

“Special Snowflake Second Class w/crossed Diaper Pins” is about the closest you will come to an award in our world. The sooner you and your type accept the reality I’ve spelled out, the better and SAFER it will be for you. We will no longer tolerate fools. Realistically, that’s what this election was about. Unfortunately, along with the entitlement crowd, your generation has shown it’s ass, and the adults in the room are now taking over. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Trent!

MDT RBTEC Class

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

You’re Made, Not Born

One of the problems I always had with Grossman’s “What People Are” analogy was comparing them to animals. Although I know people that act like sheep or wolves, none of them are, and I’ve seen them change (something a sheep or wolf won’t do). You can become whatever you desire. It’s all about your dedication, hard work, desire, and intestinal fortitude. Just something to think about.

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Warriors—Born or Made?

[Today’s article was brought to you in its entirety by EOTech, a member of Joint Task Force Awesome]

Warriors—Born or Made?
Pete Nealen

There’s a weird sort of determinism running through the talk about veterans, warriors, and even law enforcement these days. Most of the blame can probably be placed on David Grossman, a non-combat psychologist who put forth, along with a lot of other well-received but ultimately flawed studies (mostly based on the discredited work of SLA Marshall), the model of “Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs.” This model has been embraced by real professionals and overweight wannabes alike.Grossman and others say there are some people who are simply sheep: passive and gentle creatures who are incapable of hurting anyone, or conceiving of hurting anyone. Others are wolves: remorseless predators who kill and rob the sheep with impunity. And the third category are the sheepdogs: soldiers, police, etc., men who are capable of the wolves’ violence but with the honor to protect the sheep instead of prey upon them.

The first problem with this analogy is that it falls apart under scrutiny. People aren’t sheep, wolves, or dogs. They’re people. The aforementioned animals act out of instinct, not reason. A sheep is a placid herbivore because that’s its nature. Same with the wolf. The dog has been carefully bred and trained for generations for a particular task, and behavior akin to it can often be observed in certain breeds even without training (for instance, Huskies are known to want to run, as they are bred to be working dogs, running and pulling sleds).

While I have had people argue on this point that people are really just animals as well, as driven by instinct and impulse as the unreasoning animals described, that again falls apart under scrutiny. A man makes decisions, however flawed. He can change his moral course. He can learn, and he can refuse to learn. For example, look at one of the greatest American warriors: Alvin York.

Alvin York grew up poor, relatively uneducated, became a brawler and hard drinker, and was generally considered a local nuisance at best. Following the killing of his best friend, Everett Delk, in a bar fight, York had a religious conversion and joined the Church of Christ in Christian Union, which forbade drinking, dancing, swearing, swimming, movies, popular literature, and had very strict words against violence and war. When he was drafted in 1917 he applied as a Conscientious Objector, writing on his draft card, “Don’t want to fight.” Since the Church of Christ in Christian Union wasn’t recognized as mainstream Christian his request was denied, and he was sent to France with the 328th Infantry.

Once in France, York’s company commander was able to convince him, though with difficulty, that war is sometimes justified, and York reluctantly agreed to fight when needed. In the Argonne forest in October 1918, York and his sixteen comrades were able, with the help of York’s excellent marksmanship, to silence a machine gun nest and capture 132 German soldiers, though they lost eight men in the process. York was awarded the Medal of Honor for the exploit, though he was never proud of what he had done. He considered the killing nothing more than a necessary evil, but an evil nonetheless.

So if one goes by the Grossman analogy,York was a wolf, if a poor one, became a sheep, and then became a sheepdog. If these are “just what people are,” as Grossman says in the original “Of Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs,” then that shouldn’t happen. But York, just like any other man, wasn’t a sheep, or a wolf, or a dog. He was a man who made decisions and acted upon them.

But what about people who are just weaker than others? I’ve heard from more than one person, when hearing about what we did in training, “Oh, I could never do that.” Bullshit. If Theodore Roosevelt, a scrawny, sickly asthmatic, could turn himself into the poster child for “the vigorous life,” then the only thing keeping any other man from the basic fitness of a warrior is his own will. Are there genetic differences that will keep some from reaching the peaks of others? Of course. But no one who truly sets out to become strong just stays weak. That is cowardice and sloth talking.

Largely thanks to this extremely flawed “Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs” analogy, a certain toxic combination of arrogance, wishful thinking, and laziness has taken over the wider thought processes about what a warrior is. A warrior is a man trained for battle. That’s it. There is nothing inherently special about him. Skill, strength, endurance, and discipline are learned. Stop thinking that because you learned them that you are better than others, or that because you don’t want to learn them, that “well, that’s just the way you are.”

No excuses.
-PN

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JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

The Neighborhood Protection Teams And Ignorant, Defeatist “Know It Alls”

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I recently was made aware of an experienced (no mil background but apparently he’s just always looking for the next “One” to follow) “Rookie” that had all manner of “good” (not) things to say about the “Neighborhood Protection Team” concept. He was poo pooing the notion that an NPT could be formed during or right after a SHTF event, and actually do some good. From what I understand, this guy is very “well off” and has the ability to house all of his friends at his “retreat” during a SHTF event, and that is where they will run their “Ops” from. Great! Awesome! Good for you! Now let’s talk about the typical reality most normal people face.

The reality is that most people are lucky just to have a “Battle Buddy”. Reality is that if they are part of a group, most of the group fall under the “Non Combatant” or “Less Combatant” group member heading. These “Non Combatants/Less Combatant” members can generally assist with defense/security/observation of a fixed point, but will not be going out on the presence patrols conducted around the retreat or neighborhood. How do I know these facts? It’s simple, the people that come take my classes tell me what their reality is in their neighborhoods and areas.

Although I have had 4 man groups take some of my classes like RTTC  (Rural Team Tactics Course) and “The Bushbastard Course”. The majority (about 85%) usually take the RBTEC (Rural Buddy Team Essentials Course) because they have only one other person to rely on and/or attend with, and/or the others in their group just can’t afford or get time off to attend (I don’t want to hear the BS from people about “What’s your life worth”, some people just can’t afford it). I guess this guy’s “fact or fantasy” filter is inoperable, because very few people have the opportunity to set up a “Todd Gray” “Patriots, Survive The Coming Collapse” capability.

This guy wasn’t just randomly using the term “Neighborhood Protection Team”. I believe he has a hard on for someone that uses it in their training. I’m not sure if it’s me (Doubt it, I don’t know him, and don’t care to) he’s trying to make look stupid/incompetent, or one of the handful of other trainers out there that use the NPT term to describe the organizational template and methods we advocate. He obviously doesn’t “Get it” when it comes to realistically assessing problems and coming up with common sense solutions for the average person.

Some of what he posted makes sense (a broken watch is right twice a day, right?), but the fact that he is posting something that basically tells people “You have no chance if you don’t have a group you train with RIGHT NOW!” or “If you don’t go to __________’s tactical course, you obviously don’t care about your loved ones.” is an exercise in defeatist thinking usually said by the typical rookie “Know it all” with delusions of his own competence and experience. The mindset of the “If you’re not doing what I’m doing, YOU’RE DEAD!” imbecile, shows his experience and mindset only lies with the “I’ve been to some tactical courses so I ‘Know’.” crowd. When training civilians in small unit tactics and defensive measures, I advocate planning on the “possible” outcomes, not the “probable” outcomes. The outcome of the Revolutionary War was a “possibility”, not a “probability”. Hell, the outcome of this election was a “possibility” not a “probability”….correct?

Why am I bringing this up? Am I trying to make him look bad? Not really. If I was I’d have said who he was, and I’m not going to do that. The point of this post is to show the ridiculous mindset of certain types who think they’ve arrived (Cuz I gots da trainin’), and believe they can now talk shit about what some instructors have put out. Unfortunately for the “Rookie Know It All”. he still has only a thimble full of the training and experience compared to that of the average PFC Rifleman in an Infantry Company when he’s half way through his enlistment  (By the way, why didn’t you go in the military if you have such a hard on for infantry stuff now?). This guy’s problem is probably that his ego has gotten the best of him (Cuz he’s gots da trainin’) and he isn’t concerned about the facts concerning his actual ability in relation to an Infantry Soldier (that he wishes he was).

As I’ve said many times, “You are not a commando, but you don’t have to be.”. Are you screwed if you don’t have an NPT right now? No. You might be behind the curve somewhat, but you are not screwed (you do need to get squared away though) unless you give in to the defeatists out there. Having a small cadre of people in your neighborhood (a friend you’ve trained with, two or three vets, etc.) is all you need to set up the beginnings of an area defense. The whole point of the book “A Failure Of Civility” is to show the validity of the NPT concept (I hear a new printing is in the works). Garand and Lawson (who have real world experience, not this guy’s “I went to some classes.” BS) make a good case for the NPT concept, and give well thought out details on how to accomplish it.

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Those who think they’re gonna form up their “trained” squads and go out to conduct their idea of “Operations” (that fantasy probably involves them ambushing a Gang version of an infantry squad), are stuck in their “Modern Warfare 3” fantasy and are in for a rude reality check . If your people are separated by more than 10-15 miles (that’s being generous and counting on a vehicle), they might as well be on the moon when you need an immediate response. “Defend in Place” operations might not be the sexy “Deliberate, Point, L-Shaped Ambush” Op you think you want to perform, but they are realistic and based on what has happened to others in SHTF situations.

Hopefully, this guy isn’t running the show in his group (probably is since it his “Bat, ball, and part of the field” they are “playing” on), because he strikes me as the type that doesn’t like to be disagreed with and apparently, his opinion is the only one that matters in his mind. When he’s controlling “His” retreat (as opposed to a neighborhood where all of you live and have a say), you know you’ll have to tow his line or else…..right? Don’t let jackasses like the guy we’re talking about get you down. As long as you have a plan, you are preparing, you are doing PT, and you are training in some way, you are ahead of 99.5% of others out there. This guy probably has fantasies of being a warlord when it hits the fan, and he’ll be running from firefight to firefight in his mind. Yeah……about that…. Next time you decide to criticize (especially regarding a specific term that obviously is implying the incompetence of someone with whom you are not a peer) , do it about something you have standing in. Several tactical classes does not make you a competent critic, just a vocal amateur.

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JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

 

Brushbeater Talks Commo Alternatives And Networking

Brushbeater talks alternative commo and makes some important distinctions between Survivalists and the tactical/militia crowd.

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Field Phones, Community Networking, and thinking in Three Dimensions

 

brushbeater1A lot of what has been written on this blog communications-wise revolves around the radio, primarily due to the fact that it’s both the first option for most and the least understood by nearly everyone. While the fact is indisputable that radio or wireless communications make for the bulk of signal plans, it is also indisputable that wireless communications are the least secure means of communication. Yep, you read that right. Radios make life easy, but they also can make the opposition’s life easy too.

But I’ve bought digital frequency hopping triple secret squirrel encrypted radios! I’m good! Right?

Well, kinda. While you may make many inroads to protecting what is said, you’re still creating a signature. And while this may protect you from 99% of adversaries (the ‘golden horde’ from Asheville) a determined baddy with it out for you can figure out your S6 plan with patience. Smart folks wait for the attack; we sit back and look for the other player at the table to tip the hand. They may have something simple like everyone’s favorite, the Baofeng, or maybe a couple cheap CB radio handhelds, spring for a couple MD-390s, or even pick up some used Motorola Astro Sabres on fleabay and an old hacked program for them. Each can be very capable in the right hands with someone who knows what they’re brushbeater2doing, such as building a 2m dipole for a Baofeng and transmitting directionally to a known point. This will mitigate who hears you. MD-390s with their digital configuration will deter the average listener, as will an Astro Sabre, but someone with a frequency counter and/or Wideband receiver such as an Icom R5 or R6, AOR AR-mini or Alinco DJ-X11 will still be alerted to your presence and get a bearing if they’re trying to find you. And the Frequency Hop Spread Spectrum can be broken if a really dedicated smart guy gets wind you’re using it.

So are you telling us all this stuff is useless????

No- not at all. The broader point is that your radios are tools. Tools require knowledge of use, regular practice, and implementations for a purpose larger than simply having them. The knowledge of use is lacking (normally) among most civilians, and the regular use is (normally) lacking by many aside from emergency services, hunters, truckers, boaters, aviators, and radio amateurs who make use of them as tools. But even then, aside from the amateur community (and a couple other rare exceptions) most of the knowledge is gathered from a plug n’ play mentality. It’s not wrong, it just is what it is. Most of the audience doesn’t have the time or the resources to research building an SOI, learning propagation paths or creating a signals package and practicing it in the field, and most Hams are too busy working from the hobbyist perspective to think about making it work in a tactical environment. Even ARES is simply concerned with disaster relief and bends over backwards to be little else. And that’s ok, because again, it just is what it is. That’s why I run this blog; it’s the intersection of all of these skills. But tools each have a place- just like hammers, just like saws, just like weapons- radios have a place and limitations. In order to make best use of them, say, for tactical and survival networking purposes (which are two very different things), it’s paramount to understand what those limitations are and where the holes manifest themselves in your plan.

So from the community networking model, is using a radio bad?

Well, we’ve identified radios as having at least one weakness, being that it’s easily intercepted or can quickly give away a position of the transmitter to a committed foe. But is this always a concern? No. There’s two different paradigms to think within, being Survivalist and Tactical. While Tactical radio uses are an animal unto their own (and covered exhaustively in past posts), Survivalist-oriented communications must focus on networking with others to pass along whatever information is necessary and not restricted to threats. This may be exclusively your retreat, your community, or your region with HF coverage, all limited only by what your needs are once you’ve identified them. Think of it the same way we used to use telephones. Following a PACE plan (primary, alternate, contingency, emergency), rapidly creating your own infrastructure and redundancy of that infrastructure can be done rather easily using radio, be it a bottom-of-the-barrel Chinese HT or a very expensive Icom or Yaesu base unit, all according to need. But it does not exclusively solve all of your problems.

Sometimes you don’t want to go wireless- just the opposite, actually.

In certain situations, field phones brushbeater3are much more advantageous. For fixed Observation Posts at a retreat, linking Hide Sites to reduce our electronic signature when out and about, or hardwiring a couple of close houses together if say, you have an elderly neighbor or relative close by, incorporating field phones into your plan can have many advantages. For fixed OPs, like the fellas in the bunker above, working with a closed loop system keeps things extremely secure, provided you have 100% control over the linking wire. In a security retreat, you have this (or should, if you’ve done it right). Among a small rural community, it’s pretty easy to do as well and used to be very common. Between hide sites in a tactical sense, carrying a field phone in the ruck and several hundred meters’ worth of wire (or claymore wire as I did) works very, very well. I’ve used everything from twisted pair wire to speaker wire and lamp cord, and they each work.

Field Phones are pretty common. You can roll the dice and buy them cheap from online surplus outlets, buy newer US made models such as the TA-312 pictured above (my recommendation) which frequently show up at hamfests, or you can check out this really cool project by a fellow Patriot and Outside-The-Box Thinker which close-loops an everyday off-the-shelf office phone and takes it off the grid for several interesting field uses. The big advantage to those is that they look like common everyday phones- most folks, without prior knowledge of what they are, would completely overlook them.

Not to go off on a tangent regarding their implementation, but the person who introduced me to this particular phone system and helped develop it posted information on it to a very well known ‘survivalist’ forum and in doing so pointed out the prevalent issue with such sites; he was met with ridicule, told his system was ‘no good’, ‘unsecure’, and ‘useless’, with each ‘expert’ giving their own opinion (all of which actually were completely useless, spouted by no doubt useless individuals, of those that were even relevant). Long story short, if you control the infrastructure, you control the tool, and the same is certainly true of a system as simple to use as field phones. But one must recognize that it is but a single tool, part of a larger plan, and has its own limitations.

Thinking in Three Dimensions

The most common fallacy for most is adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach to communications and to survivalism in general. This is a large mistake most of the community makes, be it signal, weapons, food, water, or even building materials. All of these items are tools- different hammers for different jobs. Just as you don’t eat freeze-dried food all the time, it’s supplemented with normal food stuffs and canned food (Because you do have a pressure canner and are actively canning and putting up food, right?) While it is critical to constantly red-cell your equipment and plans (Ask yourself: How would I kill Me?), never limit yourself to the fallacy of thinking ‘well this works now, so this is just what we’ll do.’ Plans constantly evolve. Equipment needs constantly evolve with training and experience as well as sometimes changing at a moment’s notice from necessity. The key is being as flexible and as redundant as possible, while knowing the strengths and limitations of everything of which your plans make use. Wireless communications are great, convenient, and rapid in deployment, however with cost in regard to security in most cases. For rapidly creating infrastructure in a community, having a supply of simple radio sets contains distinct advantages. To those who make the argument, ‘I don’t wanna talk on the radio to people I don’t know’, resolving METT-TC issues (mission, enemy, time, terrain, troops, civilians- AKA, know the people around you)might prove extremely beneficial. In addition, implementing field phones and operating within their intended use compliment an S6 plan quite well. Think about adding a couple to your inventory, while you have the time, and think outside the box while doing it.

More notes on Community Networking

brushbeater4Sometimes its important to strip down to the bare essentials in order to refocus on why we do what we do. It doesn’t matter what the task is, be it in a professional sense or the survivalist sense, everyone (myself included) can get lost amid distractors, detractors, and shiny objects that pry our attention away. Its understandable; things happen, situations and equipment evolve, as do the requirements justifying their need. But at the core, there are two differing ends of needs which we identified in the last post- Survivalist and Tactical, with Survivalism being far more important in the long run.

Yeah, the election happened. “Our guy” (or the man who seems to be anyway) won for the moment. Maybe. Somebody go get Auntie Em out of the dugout, it looks like the tornado passed. Or did it? I’m of the opinion that the long messy divorce is just getting going; we’re in the domestic shouting phase right now, just prior to throwing random objects at each other. It doesn’t matter who’s actually right or wrong, the marriage is over and we’re gonna fight about it. And that’s ok. Its gonna suck but it happens, its needed to happen, and we’re in a much better position forcing the opposition to its extreme ends.

While it’s important (somewhat) to focus on all the doomsday civilization collapse kinda stuff, because it very well will affect you should all that happen and you are still living in your slothful suburban enclave, it’s a myopic view that’s reactionary in nature. People react to fear; they’re scared of variable-X happening, which apparently gets assigned a corresponding political party usually opposite of your particular lane. The Left does it, the Right does it. You’re all missing the larger point. Why not dofor yourself that which you take for granted?

One way we do this by creating resiliency. One of the big things the far ends of the spectrum have in common is a general mistrust of what’s accepted- whether that’s your food, water, beer, security, and yes, communications; resiliency becomes control over the means of production; that is, the ability to produce. This concept should be applied to as many areas as possible, going beyond a hoarding mentality that many of us become subject to and focusing instead on the underlying values associated with contemporary Tribalism.

Survivalism then becomes not about having a large amount of stuff but rather a living version of Merton’s Retreatists in perfect form. It used to be difficult (and often still is) for Right-leaning Survivalists to understand how the Left could believe essentially in a mirror of these views, but they can, and they do. Their brushbeater5label is Rewilding. Its underlying philosophy lay with a Marxist rejection of Industrialization, while Right-leaning Survivalism is more John Locke, William Godwin, and possibly to a lesser extent Henry David Thoreau in its Individualist philosophy. While differing in its rejection of material goods in lieu of feralizing themselves, or at a basic level, simply rediscovering more primitive ways, the parallels to Survivalism in the Right-leaning sense are fairly strong. And a lot of lessons can be gathered from both angles. The Left however generally has a stronger focus on independent community, whereas the Right caricatures Survivalists as some sort of one man army fending off the world through a sense of ‘armed rugged individualism.’ This cartoonish image has traditionally been a vehicle for the Right’s brushbeater6detractors meanwhile the Left encourages similar behavior but in a collective fashion, often going unnoticed among the masses. Those lessons of community building is a critical one that in nearly every way is neglected among the Survivalist circle. It then must become more of a matter of perspective and re-discovering the ways of yore.

Survivalism then is not about a Right-Left divide so to speak; the divorce is coming, and you very well may be caught up in it. Neither the mainstreamleft or right brands will last long (although the Right might last a bit longer). But there’s plenty of lessons to be gathered in the meantime, which we have a bit more of now. A Survivalist in the individual sense cannot lose sight of the very real danger of which our contemporary world resides, and that apathy is the danger we’re currently in. We are still in an economic death-spiral. The weight of the Max Weber-inspired bureaucracy that comprises the Colombia leviathan will not stop with one man, although that helps. One way to diminish the blow at the local level when the hammer finally falls is to identify the local sources for the required means of production and embrace them; in doing so, you’ll build ties with your neighbors, appreciate the world beyond the closed walls we create for ourselves, and most of all, begin to rediscover the skills required to not jut survive but thrive. Self sovereignty may start with attitude but it hardly ends there. One must not only have the resolve but the means.

Make a list of the items you consume most often. Whatever that is, is what you should either focus on creating for yourself, sourcing locally, or stacking deep. You’re probably going to be doing a lot more eating, building, and pooping than you will shooting. You’ll very, very likely need a way to communicate with neighbors that works without cell phone towers or switchboards. You’ll need a way to keep warm in the winter. A way to stay cool in the summer. Home are built much differently these days than they were 30 years ago based around certain assumptions and completely reliant on outside infrastructure. A means to clean water is critical and often completely misunderstood. A means to medicine. A knowledge to put all this to use. And people. This stuff all matters far more than the simplistic paradigm of ‘I got a room fulla guns…‘ because even though those are important too, they’re tools, just like anything else.

Go out this weekend and find a community market or a yardsale. If you can’t find that, go to a thrift shop. Browse around, find old stuff, and think outside the box as to how you’ll put it to good use. Find locally made food, talk to the person producing it. Get their phone number. Make friends. Meet a local fabricator, mechanic, or small engine specialist. Find out what they like to do. Think about how you’d keep them on your side should Variable-X happen.

Do not lose sight of the very real dangers facing civilization. Use your time wisely. Most importantly, rediscover the sense of community we’ve lost among the advent of technology.

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JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE