Everyday Gear Uses For Elastic Shock Cord

Over the years I’ve had a number of people ask me about what the cord is that I have on the shoulder holsters I’ve shown in other posts. Considering the damage that can result from having your gear come out at an inopportune time, let alone if you lose the item because it wasn’t secured effectively (we always “dummy corded” everything in the Infantry), I figured I’d go ahead and post about what I use here.

I have used two different sizes/diameters for different gear over the years, and between the two, they’ve covered most of my needs. Although the 1/8th inch stuff is pretty light, and can’t retain anything with any weight to it while under a direct load, I’ve found the 3/16th inch stuff to be just right for most general applications.

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Here is a pretty common place you’ll see elastic cordage used commercially for tactical gear. Open top mag pouches usually use it in an “Over the top of the mag” bungee, or as an elastic retainer around the body of the mag. This is 1/8th inch shock cord in the picture.

Having had a pistol fall out of a horizontal shoulder holster (my preference on concealment shoulder rigs, and “No, I don’t care about your opinion of that type of holster”) due to the thumb break getting caught and unsnapped, and seeing a mag in an upside down mag pouch (usually associated with a shoulder holster) fall out, due to the same circumstance, I decided a number of years ago to come up with a way to retain those items, without hindering their ability to be removed quickly when needed.

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Although my first iteration of what I was going for worked, it required the “support hand” to thumb down the cord loop while unsnapping and drawing the pistol with the strong hand. 

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Most recent (2nd) version of the elastic setup for the Keltec PF-9. This shows the elastic position on the outside of the holster.

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This shows the elastic after being unsecured from the holster and mag pouch.

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In this pic we see the elastic positioning on the inside/body side of the holster and mag pouch.

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Here is the shoulder holster retention system I use for my Glock 30 (my normal “non duty” carry gun) with double mag pouch.  

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This shows the outside/away from body side positioning of the elastic.

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This pick shows the backside/body side of the shoulder rig and how the elastic is positioned and secured.

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When drawing your weapon, you place the thumb against the inside towards body side of the knot in the elastic, and push forward and away from the body. 

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After you push off the elastic retention strap, your thumb is in position for pushing inward on the thumb break to be able to withdraw your weapon from the holster.

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Withdrawing a mag from the mag pouch is as simple as pulling down on the mag flap. This action will automatically slide the elastic retention strap off of the mag pouch/pouches.

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There is no extra action required to remove the elastic retention strap from the mag pouch other than to pull down on the mag pouch flap.

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Using this system for the mag pouch makes them very secure, but available instantly when needed.

Below we’ll show how the elastic is tied before securing it to the holster, then how to secure it to the holster.

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Makes sure you start with more length of elastic than you think you’ll need. First we start with tying one overhand knot in a single strand of cord. and in the center of the elastic cord. This knot will be the one that slides over the thumb break snap.

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Referring back to the Glock holster Pic#2 as an example, the second knot, which is a double corded knot, is made/positioned a little less than halfway back (to be exact, 47% in this example) towards the tied off base at the rear of the holster. Tie the first knot, then lay it next to the holster to get your approximate location for the second one. Keep in mind, if you make the knot too close to your thumb break (front loop will be too tight), it will not slide off as easily.

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The third knot shown is also a double corded knot, and is put through two holes in at the rear of the holster made with an awl, or a punch. it is then secured with a double overhand knot as shown here. Make sure it has enough tension, without going too tight. If you do too much tension, pushing the loop off of the front of the thumb break will be more difficult. You want just enough tension to keep the thumb break from being accidentally unsnapped. 

The next type of gear I’ve used the elastic for is on some of my cutting tools’ sheaths. Although I love the kydex sheath I purchased from Cleveland Kydex for my CRKT Chogan Tomahawk, I didn’t like the fact that a hard drop or blow in the upright position (the way I normally carry it) could cause it to come out of the sheath. I remedied that issue by using some well placed elastic on the underside of the sheath.

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The elastic will catch either end of the tomahawk if it happened to slide out of the sheath.

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A well placed notch with the dremel tool on the bottom of the blade side will retain the tomahawk when the elastic is pulled out of the way for use. The backside, hammer end of the sheath already has a natural notch to catch the elastic when it’s pulled out of the way. 

For my Ontario Raider, I also have a Cleveland Kydex sheath. Since it didn’t come with a retention strap, I decided to put an elastic retention strap on it as well.

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The elastic retention strap can be easily moved with either hand when drawing the knife. 

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The elastic retention strap has a spot to sit out of the way without needing anything added. 

As I said earlier, we always made sure our gear was secured when we were in the field in the Infantry. No feeling is worse than finding out an important piece of gear is missing because it was not secured properly. It could be the difference between life and death.

JCD,

“Parata Vivere”- Live Prepared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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P.A.C.E. Yourself

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I have received a number of emails over the years askin’ how I plan for SHTF events. My answer for any type of planning is usually to use the “P.A.C.E.” concept as your guide, and it will give you multiple options and directions to go in your planning that you might not have otherwise. I have talked about this elsewhere, but I think it might be a good idea to go into some detail on how to prioritize and figure out your P.A.C.E. planning.

“P.A.C.E.” stands for “Primary”, “Alternate”, “Contingency”, “Emergency”. This model can be used for everything from planned food storage use, to your emergency response in a “Bug In-Bug To-Bug Out” scenario. With your food planning, it might involve things like the “Primary” category of foods being used after an “Event” are what is in your pantry that you have put up from your garden or livestock production. “Alternate” might be store bought canned goods that have also been put up, but that might have a higher shelf life, and are more easily moved if need be.

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“Contingency” could be the freeze dried food and grains you’ve put away in buckets and that have a long storage life. They are bulky, require equipment for preparation, and are not as easily moved if you have to travel by “Shanks mare”. These items are what you might want to store at another location that you might be “Bugging To”. “Emergency” would be food like freeze dried retort pouches, MRE’s, or items like beef or deer jerky and trail mix. These items are easily packed and stored, they are easily carried on your back or in/on a cart if need be, and are easily prepared for consumption in the field.

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In preparing the “Bug In-Bug To-Bug Out” P.A.C.E. plan, you might start it as follows. “Primary” is to “Bug In” at your residence. This is where you have the majority of you preps, and it is hopefully a prepared strong point for your defense. This choice has advantages no other option in the BI-BT-BO P.A.C.E. plan has. You are generally not as vulnerable in a fixed position like you would be on the road, whether you are in a vehicle or on foot. This option assumes you have identified key points in the site for hardening, and also that vulnerable locations have been hardened and secured to slow down or stop an advance in that given area.

Knowing how to prep and defend a fixed position is a key to survival in this choice. Learning how to identify key avenues of approach by the enemy, your best defensive observation and firing points, best area (most secure and least observable by bad guys) to retreat from the residence if necessary, and where a good rally point, upon evac of the residence is, are all basic Infantry skills needed for survival. I say they are “Infantry” skills and not “Fighting” skills because sometimes, the Infantry does not fight, they must haul ass out of an area to keep from being overwhelmed.

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Moving by vehicle with or without a trailer gives you more options than being on foot.

“Alternate” could be a plan to “Bug To” a friend or family member’s domicile by vehicle. This option has some risks, especially if you take too long to implement the plan, but compared to a move by foot, this is a breeze in certain key aspects. Downsides might be that you are confined to roads, and they are their own version of a “fatal funnel”. An upside is the ability to carry a lot of your preps with you to the “Bug To” residence.

Once again, some key “Infantry/Dragoon/Cavalry” (Dragoons were mounted Infantry who would ride to the fight, then dismount to “Do the deed”. Cavalry generally fought from their mounts) skills needed here are the ability to use the vehicle in the fight, whether it’s as a battering ram (not advisable for a non armored vehicle unless absolutely necessary and you know what you’re doing), fighting from the vehicle with weapons (short weapons come in very handy here), and the ability to quickly dismount to continue and/or finish the fight. The movie “Heat” comes to mind when I think of this situation.

“Contingency” planning for “BI-BT-BO” scenarios might involve the “Bug To” to your family or friend’s residence or property by foot. At the “Contingency” level, you don’t have the option to leave by vehicle. An advantage of the “Contingency”, compared to the “Emergency” level ,that we’ll talk about shortly, is that you can pre-position a lot of your supplies at the planned destination. This option makes it easier on what you have to carry for the trip to that location, because you don’t have to carry what you need for serious long term survival. You only need to carry the basics for the time you think it will take to walk there.

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Fighting gear and basic survival supplies for the environment is what is needed for the “Contingency” part of this scenario. You are “Bugging To” a location that has supplies already there for you.

This option has certain implied Infantry tasks inherent in it’s planning. Planning for this type of “Mission” is a basic Infantry/Mountain Man task. Being able to fight and move (maneuver) on foot as a buddy team or Fire Team (FT has 4 shooters involved, and having that many actual, not bystanding, participants is probably a pipe dream in a SHTF reality), is a basic Infantry task. Living in the field is a basic Infantry/Mountain Man task.

Now to the “Emergency” level of  “BI-BT-BO” planning. This is your least desired choice and will be not only the most daunting, but the most risky. In this scenario, you don’t have any of the above choices, or an above choice was implemented but turned into the “Emergency” option (Example: You started heading to your family’s farm. When you got there it had been over run by bad guys who now occupy it. Your vehicle was damaged and put out of commission during your escape from that situation, but at least you got away and down the road a bit).

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In the “Emergency” option, you plan on carrying what you need on your back or in/on something like a game cart for a long term “mission”. How much can you carry for an extended period through rough terrain perhaps? Do you have a physical fitness plan that you do regularly? Is it practical for what you might envision is in the future?

Many of us are not the proverbial “Spring Chicken”, and just can’t do what we used to be able to do. I know what I can carry because I go out and carry it. I carry from 120-150 lbs. (rarely 150) because it is PT. I do not plan on carrying that much in an Evac, (although there are some I’ve read who can’t wrap their head around the fact that I carry more in training than I plan to in the real situation, whether it’s my Load bearing gear, or my ruck weight). I average 15-20 min miles (usually closer to 20) with that 120 lbs. of weight. Wanna know what the hard part is? It’s not walking at break neck speed (15 min miles with 120 is “Breakneck speed”, at least for me), it’s walking as slow as you need to to “see” before you are “seen”.

My Friend Bergmann talks about one type of plan you can use for this type of Evac.

My “Emergency” plan involves carrying or pulling a lot of gear (about 100 lbs. give or take, is what my load bearing gear and my “Evac” ruck weigh in total) over hilly terrain to a location I don’t feel comfortable caching much more than “disposables” right now. Food and associated expendables (ammo) are at the top of the caching priorities list for that area. Couple this with certain amenities like TP, and gear repair items. You can make certain parts of the “Emergency” survival plan not only more survivable, but more comfortable (“Comfort” is purely subjective. Things we did in the Infantry are not considered comfortable by the vast majority of the population, but for us, we made do and sometimes really enjoyed it).

Bergmann illustrates in this video what you can put in a small cache, and what to put it into.

Along with the Infantry tasks we discussed earlier in the “Contingency” level of planning, there are other considerations at the “Emergency” level. The load you carry is heavier, and the ability to fight and move (maneuver) is severely hampered by that weight. The first option is to plan on using the old school “LRS” (Long Range Surveillance) team approach (back when the 4 -6 man teams only carried M16A1’s or CAR’s and no SAW’s were present). This is the Hide and Observe method. Practicing going to ground quickly is an art form, especially if you’re carrying a heavy load. Another option is to be so well camouflaged that you simply are not seen if you stay still.

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Can you hump a ruck through the woods. Better figure it out now and plan on a contingency if you can’t.

If you plan to fire and move (maneuver) by assaulting through the objective or having to break contact at high speed, understand that you will probably lose the load you have in your pack (you will have to drop it) unless you fight and win. A couple of options to use if you do have to fight are higher cap mags (more than the average mag cap of your rifle whether box or drum mag), and smoke or gas grenades. (throw smoke up wind of the attackers while you try to keep their heads down with rifle fire, then throw the gas when their vision of you is obscured by the smoke which has drift between the two groups. If they attack, they will come right through your gas grenade stream)

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Gaining fire superiority due to your ability to fire for a longer period (extended mag cap) coupled with smoke and gas grenades being deployed can give the single Survivalist or small group of Survivalists a huge advantage in a break contact scenario. The use of the gas also sets the bad guys up to be “Hasty Ambushed” by you (if you’re by yourself, just be smart and break contact) or your group since you stepped off at a right angle from you original engagement/firing point and the gas choked bad guys came to where you were, not where you are now and can’t see a thing.

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Have you trained to fire and move in terrain like this. This is much better terrain for breaking contact and getting away, than assaulting the objective/bad guys.

What should your pack contain for the “Emergency” option? As many non disposable items as you can carry. It starts with a solid pack. Tools for defense, construction of shelters, food procurement, and water carriage and treatment are at the top of the list. Clothing that is durable and long lasting (lots of quality socks). Items to keep all of the important gear dry. FIRST AID items, whether for trauma or even more important basic first aid and hygiene (antibiotic ointment, hand sanitizer, ace bandages, band aids, etc. These are all good items to cache ahead of time). Quality sleeping gear. I carry two weeks worth of freeze dried food, but the food in the caches and what can be harvested will supplement this. The list can go on forever, but you get the point. Anything less than what we’ve talked about will convert you from a Survivor to a Refugee in weeks.

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CRKT Chogan tomahawk and an MSR 10 liter Dromedary Bag Water Reservoir are two tools I’d want in my ruck for an extended “outing”.

Keep in mind, the options from “P” to “E” are cascading from the best case in a worst case scenario, to “In the suck” in a worst case scenario. No one wants to plan on being in the situation that required implementing any of this plan. Things happen and either you have war gamed a plan for the bad things that come about, or you leave it up to “Chance” as to whether you will survive it with your life and sanity intact. By the way, “Chance” has a brother named “Murphy”, and he is an SOB to those that prepare and unforgiving to those that don’t.

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Items and gear for treating traumatic injuries

Although we talked about different Infantry tasks you should try to learn and practice, don’t think for a minute you are Infantry. That kind of a mindset will get you killed in a survival situation. Regardless of what some moron told you about your high end ability to “wack” regular Army Infantry (that’s who you’re plannin’ on fighting?) after you take a few of tactical classes. The facts are that it just ain’t so, and it’s a dishonest disservice to those of you who want to learn to fight from a realistic perspective. The objective of the Infantry is to accomplish a task set forth by their higher command with the least amount of casualties possible. Mission accomplishment overrides the desire for a low casualty count many times.

The Survivalist’s mission is to keep themselves, and those they are responsible for, alive. Anything that gets in the way of that is the enemy, whether it is a group of gang bangin’ troglodytes dressed like SEAL wannabes, or a serious flu pandemic. Don’t get wrapped up in the anti individual survival terminology used by some “experts” because you think they are “In the know”. They “Aren’t” and they “Don’t”.  You can survive on your own. Yes, you are at a greater disadvantage without someone in support (I hope you at least have a Buddy), but as I’ve said many times, we practice and train for what is “possible”, not what is “probable”. If you have to use the “Emergency” plan of your P.A.C.E., figure out now what you will need to make moving that gear over various terrain possible, then, practice doing it.

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Have you practiced breaking contact during a live fire exercise? The noise alone is reason to practice your communication with your Buddy.

Hopefully you won’t be on your own, but only a “Walter Mitty” fool or a charlatan believes you will have a heavy squad or platoon of actual “shooters” when the SHTF. If they do have ’em, those same “shooters” will probably be on the prowl when necessary things start to run out, and we’ll end up callin’ them “Brigands”.

JCD

"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.

 

Carrying Essential Weapons Parts (and other items) For Your Firearm

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Having the appropriate support gear for your weapon is a priority for the Survivalist.

My good friend Bergmann and I were talkin’ about parts/survival gear storage locations on the weapons we both use, and I told him that because my Para FAL’s use the M-4 style stock and have no buffer spring, the whole tube was empty, and I use it to carry among other things, spare essential weapons parts. He immediately told me I needed to post something about it, considering how great it is to be able to carry essentials on your weapon, without it having a ton of pouches or extra parts hanging off of it.

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Both of these Para FAL rifles use the M-4 style, hollow tube stock. No buffer spring in it means lots of storage area.

Here it is short and sweet. and in pics.

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The space available in the M-4 style stock buffer tube on the Para FAL. Keep in mind, those of you with other rifles which use the M-4 style stock, but require no buffer spring (Example: AK’s) can do the same thing with your rifles.

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The original style FAL pistol grip also has some storage space that I put to good use.

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Remove the Phillips head screw with your multi tool, there is no tension ring like on a regular AR/M-4 style stock needing a special wrench.

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There is a hole (red arrow) drilled through the stock tube that the Phillips head screw hole (yellow arrow) lines up with when you’ve screwed the stock in as far as needed, and keeps the stock at the correct position/attitude.

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Various essential springs and parts (firing pin w/ spring and complete extractor) on the left side column go into the stock tube. The spare tritium front sight with allen key and a sight adjustment tool go into the pistol grip (bag on right side).

 

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The stock filled with parts and ready to be reattached to the folding mechanism.

Here’s the video my Buddy Bergmann did on how he outfitted his M-4 with survival gear. below is the first of the four part series he did on “Total Utilization” of your gear.

Hopefully this post will give you some ideas of how to better utilize the storage space you might have on your weapons to carry extra essential parts you might need. As I said, this one was short and sweet, have a great 4th of July.

JCD

"Parata Vivere"- Live Prepared.