Radiation’s Effects And Materials To Mitigate Them

Re-Post from MDSA


How many of you remember “Dr Strangelove”?

While in conversation with a friend the other night, he mentioned the two previous posts that were published on this blog, and asked if more topics could be discussed. I advised him that there were more in the works, and it was just time constraints that limited their release. Today we will talk about what types of radiation are of concern in a nuclear war context, what kind of a threat they are and for how long, and ways to mitigate those effects. Throughout all this information we will put out about radiation protection, the three basic things to keep in mind that you can use to protect yourself from radiation are Distance, Time, and Shielding.


Generally speaking, there are three types of radiation that we are concerned about. Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. The Alpha Radiation/particle is the least dangerous realistically, but it is still a concern. The effects it has can be mitigated by 1 inch of air, a layer of common clothing, and even your skin to a degree. The place where Alpha Radiation can cause you damage is if you ingest it, whether through inhaling or swallowing it. It can cause serious issues with internal organs it comes into contact with. A tightly sealed bandanna, commercial dust respirator or gas mask will inhibit the inhalation part, and cleaning your food off will generally stop the swallowing it part. Keep in mind though, the Alpha particle is 20 times more damaging to human tissue (in contact) than an equal amount of Gamma radiation/rays.

Beta Radiation is more of a concern, but it is usually stopped by 10 inches of air, or several layers of clothing. As with the Alpha particles, Beta’s are also a concern if ingested, and the commercial respirator or gas mask still applies for that concern. Although regular clothing in layers will usually defeat Beta particles, I suggests using a heavy commercial rain suit (pants and hooded jacket will work, but the “overall” type pants with a jacket or a trench coat type jacket with regular pants will work better for the overlap these combos provide), heavy rubber over boots, and gauntlet style rubber gloves (all this was talked about in this post) will help with a speedy decontamination when you arrive back at your home/retreat. You simply get brushed off then sprayed off in a designated decontamination area with a water hose.

Gamma Radiation is the big killer in a nuclear fallout context. Unhindered by a barrier, Gama particles have a range of a 1/2 mile. The way to defeat or mitigate the effects of Gamma radiation is to not be anywhere near it, or to use different types of material to shield against it. The radiation output measurement is called Gray (Gy) or Rad (R) and is measure by the hour.


Remember this Soviet funded  anti-nuke BBC production? I do. It was on TV and host by that POS Maury Povich in the summer of ’84. Make it look unsurvivable and no one will prepare for it. Unfortunately, by that time, I had read Nuclear War Survival Skills and knew the movie was BS.


The “Rad” term is an older one (old US system), and 1 Gray(Gy) equals 100 Rad (R). The term REM stands for “Roentgen Equivalent Man” is generally equal to the same amount as a RAD (1 Rad= 1 REM). The REM is the older US system’s nomenclature for dose received and 100 REM’s  are equal to 1 Sievert (Sv). Both REM and Sievert are a measurement of the dose received by the individual. 1 Sievert equals 100 REM in dose, 1 Gray equals 100 Rads in radiation measurements per hour.   If you are told the radiation level is 1,000R (10 Gy), that means it is 1,000 Rads (10 Gy) in an hour. If you are told the dose received is 1,000R (10 Sv), it means the person received 1,000 REM (10 Sv), and if that person was exposed to that dose for 3 hours, it would not be 1,000 REM (10 Sv), but 3,000 REM (30 Sv).


In this instance, you’d substitute Sieverts (Sv) for Gray (Gy), and if you are using the older standard US system, you’d take the Gy amount and multiply by 100 for the REM quantity.

Here’s another chart in my notes that will give you an idea of what happens after you are exposed to a given amount of radiation in a given time period.

Doses are listed as REM.

  • 0-70=  Dose period/6-12 hours. No effects to slight incidents of headache, nausea, vomiting. Up to 5%. No medical care required.
  • 70-150= Dose period/2-20 hours. Same as above, from 5-30% effected. Some medical care might be required.
  • 150-300= Dose period/2hrs-2 days. 20-70% percent same as above. Fatigue and weakness in 25-60% of personnel. 5% deaths at low end, 10% at high end.
  • 300-530= Dose period/2hrs-3 days. 50-90% as above. Fatigue and weakness in 50-90%. At low end 10% deaths, at high end 50% deaths
  • 530-830= Dose period/2hrs- 2 days, 80-100% of personnel with moderate to severe nausea and vomiting. 2hrs- 6 weeks, moderate to severe fatigue and weakness in 90-100%. 50% dead in 6 weeks at low end, 99% dead in 3 weeks at high end
  • 830-3000=Dose period/30mins to 2 days, severe nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, disorientation, and moderate to severe fluid imbalance and headache. 100% death in 5 days to 3 weeks
  • 3000-8000= Dose period/30mins to 5 days, 100% experience severe nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, disorientation, fluid imbalance, and headache. 100% death in 2-3 days
  • Greater than 8000= Dose period/30mins to 1 day, severe and prolonged nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, disorientation, fluid imbalance and headache. 100% death in 1 day

Understanding The Half Life of gamma radiation.

There is a basic rule that applies to the effectiveness of radiation, this is called the “Rule of Sevens”. “Half-Life” is the term used to measure the amount of time required for the radioactivity being generated to be cut in half. When measuring Gamma radiation, we use the “Rule of Seven”. In a nut shell this means that for any given amount of radiation, a time span of seven will reduce that radiation to 10% of the quantity previously measured (it will be reduced 90%).

If we start with an example of 2000R in your area one hour after a detonation (H+1), within 7 hours, the radiation level will be reduced to 200R. After 49 hours (approx 2 days), the radiation is reduced to 20R, and after 14 days (two weeks), it will be reduced to 2R. Finally after 98 days ( approx 3 months) it is at 2/10R. Note that the chart above does not measure below a dose rate of 1Gy/1Sv (100 R/100REM). Although there would be trouble spots where fallout would have collected, for the most part, you are relatively safe to come out of the shelter after two weeks in all but the worst hit areas. If you are in those areas, I think you probably would have had a more immediate concern from the initial blast damage, than the radiation.

Blocking Radiation

So now we’re all depressed because we realize what radiation will do to our bodies, let’s talk about how we’re gonna stop it. We’ve already talked about how to block the radioactive Alpha and Beta particles from harming us internally and externally with protective apparel, but one other thing to mention in this regard is potassium iodide (KI) tablets. These are to be taken 48 hours prior to a possible exposure to Alpha and Beta particles due to ingestion or inhalation (they don’t help with external radiation exposure).


I purchased these here

It’s good to have them on hand in case you won’t have the ability to block the inhalation or ingestion of Alpha or Beta particles with some type of respirator, but KI does have numerous side effects that are possible after being taken. Also, KI is not recommended for people over the age of 40, due to side effects affecting the thyroid that are possible.


OK, so now we are going to shelter in place, and we need to build or add to a shelter, whether it is a shelter within a building, or making the whole building into a shelter. What are some common materials that are available to us for use in our shelter.

We will talk about a number of readily available materials and what radiation shielding capabilities they have. First up is air.

AIR– Distance is your friend when it comes to radiation. To cut the output of radiation in half, you need 200 feet of air/space. This 200 feet of distance will halve whatever Rad or Gray count is emanating from the source of the radiation. Using an uncontaminated parking garage basement that you decide to build a shelter in as an example. If you have 200 feet of air between you and the outside, discounting any other material (steel, concrete, etc) the radiation level is cut in half with that 200 feet of distance. Different types of architecture (high rises) will assist with this.

DIRT– It requires 3.3 inches of dirt to halve the amount of radiation that is put out from a source outside the shelter. If you have an outside radioactive source, 12 inches of dirt will reduce the radiation to 1/10th of the original output, 23″ to 1/100th, and 33″ to 1/1,000th of the outside radiation output.

WOOD– Wood will reduce the effects of outside radiation to 1/10th with 35″, 1/100th with 58″. and 1/1,000th with 88″. The halving thickness is 8.8″.

STEEL– Steel’s radiation reduction is as follows: 1/10th is 2.3″, 1/100th is 5″, and 1/1,000th is 7″. The halving thickness is .7″.

CONCRETE– 10 inches of concrete will block 1/10th of the outside radiation, 15 inches blocks 1/100th, and 23 inches blocks 1/1,000th. The halving thickness is 2.2″.

PAPER– the protection books and magazines provide equals 1/10th with 28 inches, 1/100th with 54 inches, and 1/1,000th with 77 inches. The halving thickness is 7.7″

WATER– Something like a waterbed in the room above might be factored into your protection. Water provides 1/10th the exposure with 19 inches, 1/100th the exposure with 30 inches, and 1/1,000th with 48 inches. The halving thickness is 4.8″.

In case you didn’t notice, the denser and heavier a substance is for a given size (example 1 cubic foot) the better the protection and shielding from radiation.

In the next nuke series post, we’ll talk about using some of the materials listed above to build shelters out of your home, within your home, and in a building you might get caught in or in the open after a blast.


 Expedient shelter, page 101, chapter 14 of Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson Kearny


A Realistic Bug Out

Re-Posted from the MDSA blog


Bergmann Rock

Bergmann training pic

Most who know me, know that I am staunchly against most people planning to just “Bug Out”to the mountains when the SHTF. I advise people to plan on “Bugging In” where they are, or “Bugging To” a pre-planned location. The are a number of reasons why I’m against a “Bug Out”, but chief among them is that most who plan to do this are doing it out of laziness and/or an overwhelming lack of reality.

Laziness, because it is a lot easier to plan to just throw the pack on and grab the rifle, than it is to prepare to stay put, stock up on supplies, and plan a realistic defense. It would be great if it was that easy (and cheap), but it is not. After approximately two weeks, you will go from being a “Survivalist”, to being a “refugee”.

I say “lack of reality”, because most who plan to “bug out” haven’t even carried a pack any distance, let alone carried the weight of gear and food necessary to sustain ones self for any length of time. As I said above, not planning correctly will abruptly shove the “would be Survivalist” into the “refugee” category relatively quickly.

If you’re gonna “Bug Out” to the mountains, the plan my friend Bergmann has is the way to do it. It’s not a perfect plan, but then again what is? For his situation and location, he has come up with the most realistic plan he can, and is putting effort into preparing for it for years. Watch and learn.

If you have the opportunity, go check out his blog, you’ll more than likely learn something.


Bergmann training pic


American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

Knife Combat Realities


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?).


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.


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 penetrate 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.



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.




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. 


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
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.


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).” 


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.


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.



American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

Compact Defensive Rifles For The Survivalist

As a Survivalist, your primary role is not as a combatant, but as a “Jack of All Survival Skills”. As I’ve said before, a Survivalist should be a jack of all trades, master of some (specifically the life saving and protection arts). A Survivalist needs to understand farming/gardening, animal husbandry, woodsmanship, mechanical repair (vehicle, farming implement, and firearm), and the technical/tactical skills of first aid (TCCC), extended wound care, coupled with the defensive tactics implementation of firearms, blades, and empty hands.


While this is an extreme type of activity while having a rifle slung on you back (most rifles will flop around on your back), the Keltec SU16C is light enough that it isn’t a problem.

Although a Survivalist should always be ready to fight after a SHTF scenario has taken place, that is generally not his primary task on a day to day basis. If there is a good possibility that a fight will happen, and it is possible to carry more than just a pistol, you carry a rifle, period! carrying a full size rifle all the time every day is extremely inconvenient if your primary tasks are not that of a grunt. While growing up on a farm, I can tell you that if you are carrying a full length rifle around (us kids didn’t have handguns, but during hunting season we always had a rifle handy), you are always looking for a place to stash it so that you can accomplish the task you are involved in.


Full size long guns are very inconvenient to carry while doing everyday chores.

Although a Grunt usually doesn’t have a dire need for a compact rifle unless he is operating out of a vehicle, the parameters of what a Survivalist needs and can use can be very different. A Survivalist uses the type of rifle we are talking about for defense of himself and those under his care. While the combat rifle is EVERYTHING to an Infantryman, the rifle is only one tool of many to the Survivalist.

Enter the Compact Fighting Rifle (CFR). Having a rifle that is reliable, durable, powerful, and compact is a tall order. There are a few out there, but they’re few and far between. I generally will only use a system that has been adopted by a military with high standards (this doesn’t apply to .22LR’s). I’m still waiting for the AR-10’s to be vetted and proven reliable to my satisfaction (still a lot of the feedback has been negative),  so I’ve never owned one.


A pic of a DSA SA58 (FAL) carbine I had back in 2002 during the ’94-’04 federal gun ban. No threaded barrel (integral brake) or folding stock was allowed, and this was about as compact as you could get with this type of rifle.

Others in the 7.62N (.308Win) category that I have owned and used are the M1A (M14), HK91 (G3), and FAL, and I can vouch that they’re all reliable weapons with good reputations. I’ve owned one HK91, seven FAL’s (of various configurations), and four M1A’s (of different configurations). In the assault rifle caliber category, the majority of what I’ve owned were AK’s or AR’s with a few Mini-14’s and one Daewoo K2 (A Fed Ban model). I have had a dozen AK’s of various configurations, and a half dozen AR’s (two Rifles and four carbines).


Although the M1A Socom in an EBR stock is somewhat compact, it’s loaded weight of 14 lbs. with an optic makes it somewhat cumbersome to be considered a “Compact Fighting Rifle”.

The US military has used the short M14 (16 inch SOCOM with Sage EBR stock) that weighs in at 13 lbs. empty, and is 34 inches long. The HK91 with the factory collapsible stock weighs 10 lbs. and is 33 inches long. The FAL carbine with folding stock is 8.75 lbs. and approx. 27 inches long. In the rifles of the “assault rifle” calibers, you generally have the AKM and the M4 variant of the AR-15. The average folding stocked AK (7.62x39S or 5.56N) weigh in at 7.5 lbs, and is approximately 28 inches long. The average M4 weighs in at 7 lbs. and is approximately 33 inches long.


Of course we’d all love an SBR, but who wants to do that paperwork?

In the bullpup category (all the mil models are 5.56N), readily available, military tested rifles available to civilians, are generally the IWI Tavor TAR-21 and X-95, and the Steyr AUG A3. The TAR-21 is approximately 26 inches long and weighs in a 8 lbs.. The X-95 is almost exactly the same. The AUG A3 is almost 9 lbs. with its optic, and a little over 28 inches long. All the specs listed above are factory tech specs reflecting rifles with no accessories and no magazine.


Although the Keltec SU16C is a lightweight and capable rifle, I would relegate it to the “Truck Gun”, or “Get home Bag gun” and not give it the position of “Combat Rifle”. Empty, this rifle weighs right under six pounds with the optic and is 26.75 inches long. The only reason I still have this rifle is due to it’s super light weight and compact size.

So what is available for the Survivalist in the category of compact semi automatic rifles? We are going to look primarily at side folding stocked rifles, and Bullpups. I have never been a big fan of the Bullpup design, but I know some people that love ’em, and have nothing but good things to say. In the following paragraphs, we are going to look at what the practical weights are of different rifles when compared to the caliber of the rifles being covered.


Probably the most popular of the semi-compact fighting rifles. The M4 version of the AR is usually around 33 inches long (stock collapsed) and in this configuration weighs 10.5 lbs.

First up, we’ll look at some Bullpups to see what their specs are. IWI  is a well known manufacturer and is known for it’s reliable rifles. Pictured below (rifles in the center and on the right) are the Tavor’s X-95 and the TAR-21. they are both chambered for 5.56, and with muzzle brakes are 29.25 and 28.5 inches long. With a tac light, IR laser, and Elcan 4x optic, the X95 weighs 11.3 lbs, and the TAR-21 weighs 11.75 lbs.


The rifle that is pictured to the left is an M1A Scout in a Rogue chassis. The overall length with muzzle brake is 30 inches, and with a 6x Trijicon optic, tac light and DBAL IR laser, this rifle weighs 16.3 lbs. (compact but very heavy). Both the Tavor bullpups and the M1A (not in the Rogue chassis) are considered to be combat tested systems, and although there are a number of other bullpups out there in the 5.56, the Tavors seem to be the most economical in the combat tested category. There really isn’t any combat tested .308 bullpups available out there that I’m aware of (the Keltec RFB is not combat tested), but as I’ve said, the M1A platform is a time tested system, and it has performed well in the Rogue chassis through a number of tactical rifle classes for the owner.

Next up we have two folding stocked Sig rifles. One is the model 556, one is the model 522 (it’s the owner’s cheap shooting “training rifle”). The 5.56N chambered 556 weighs in at 12.35 lbs. with an Elcan 4x, Vltor bipod, and a tac light. Overall folded length is 28 inches and 36.25 inches with stock locked open. The .22LR 522 weighs 12 lbs. with a Trijicon 6x optic, a Vltor bipod and a tac light. Folded length is approximately 27 inches and 34.5 inches with the stock extended.compact-rifle-post7

When this type of comparison is done, the calibers of the rifles in question are typically of the “Assault Rifle” variety. Although there are a number of compact rifles available in the usual 5.56×45 or 7.62×39, there are a few available in 7.62Nato (.308 Win). One such rifle is the DSA SA58 (FN FAL) Compact Tactical Para Carbine.


DSA SA58 (Para FAL) Compact Tactical Para Carbine with a 30 round mag at the top. AKM with Magpul Zhukov folder on the bottom.

Most will tell you that you can’t compare a battle rifle with an assault rifle in size or magazine capacity. Below are some picks of the FAL in comparison to a AKM with a Magpul Zhukov folding stock. The FAL weighs in at 11 lbs. with an optic, tac light, and DBAL laser (unloaded weight). It’s overall length is 37.75 inches, and the folded length is 29 inches.


In the compact defense rifle category, it’s hard to beat the FAL Para or a folding stocked AKM.

In comparison, the AKM that is pictured weighs 10.5 lbs. without any accessories, is 36.5 inches long, and 28.25 inches folded. Here’s an interesting comparison. With a 30 round magazine the AKM weighs 11.75 lbs. and the FAL weighs 12.85 lbs. with 30 round mag. Normally, battle rifles use 20 round magazines, since they are the most convenient. Since people like to make the apples and oranges comparison with these two rifle types, I figure I’d show that the size disparity isn’t as great as some would have you believe.


The AKM pictured on top of the SA58 showing the size is almost exactly the same, but the 7.62N cartridge far exceeds the performance of the 7.62x39S.

In contrast to the AKM with side folder shown above, this AKMS is a lot harder to put optics on.



The DSA SA58 Compact Tactical Carbine with it’s normal 20 round magazine weighs 12.25 lbs.

If you are looking for a super compact defense rifle, it’s hard to go wrong with one of the bullpups we talked about earlier, an AKM folder or FAL Para. There are a number of good rifles available to civilians these days, and the most important thing to keep in mind is that when you make your selection and purchase your rifle, TRAIN WITH IT! It makes no sense to have something for that purpose, but to not train and become proficient in it’s use.

This post is about being realistic. Be realistic in what you think you will be doing during a SHTF situation. If you think you will be running from firefight to firefight, like your Modern Warfare 3 video game, you need to read some of Selco, or FerFal’s stuff. Be realistic in the rifle you select as your “Go to gun”. A compact rifle for a Survivalist beats the Hell out of a typical full size Infantry long gun for all but a few limited uses. Being practical, being realistic, and being ready is what it’s all about. Just like most people won’t carry their handgun if it is too large or uncomfortable for them to conceal, so to, the compact rifle will be carried more in a SHTF situation while doing the chores if it’s not a pain in the ass to transport.


American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE