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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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”.


"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.


"Parata Vivere"- Live Prepared.

UW Gear And Some Of What They Offer

One of the never ending issues for some people, whether in the Military or part of the Survivalist crowd, is the selection of gear that makes the carry and employment of their tactical gear efficient, durable, effective and fast. A lot of us have been fortunate enough to have come up with a system that is modular enough to cover the different weapons systems we might be using, and hopefully not break the bank while we’re figuring it out.

I have a good friend who lives in the Jacksonville, Florida area and makes tactical gear for a living (It’s not a hobby). The company is called UW Gear. I’ve known John Ammons for a couple of years now, and I can tell you that you will not find a more down to earth, friendly and helpful person when it comes to setting you up with quality tactical gear at a modest price.

I have a number of items made by John, and have been testing his gear for well over a year now. I can say without reservation that you will not find better quality at this price anywhere else. Below I will show a number of the items I have tested out, and put through the ringer and give my impressions of each type of gear.

First up is the individual mag pouches John sells. So far I have multiple, double mag pouches for three different mag types, the 20 round M1A/FAL mag, the 30 round FAL mag, and the 30 round AR Magpul mag. Below is the FAL two mag 30 rounders on a Tactical Tailor vest (John also sells TT gear). If you note the pic below that. It show a piece of velcro on the mag pouch, and this is to keep the pouch closed when only one mag is in the pouch. This is necessary because the ingenious retention tab that all John’s mag pouches use relies on tension to keep it shut, and if one mag is missing, the pouch flap doesn’t have the prerequisite tension to keep it shut without help.

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The tension type closure tab is one of the reason I’ve chosen to go with John’s mag pouches for all my rifles. This type of closure doesn’t break off, pull a snap through, or wear out/load up with dirt like velcro does. Been there, done that…..Hated it! Below is the same vest with the AR Magpul pouches in place.

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These mag pouches fill the roll of any standard molle mag pouch, and do a good job of retention but are still pretty fast. One of the nice additions you can get on John’s pouches is a sewn in molle strap. This strap is easier to work with (not as stiff) than a lot of the other pouch attachment straps I’ve used, and swapping out pouches is a snap. It also uses another tuck tab instead of a snap or a plastic catch.

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Two of the first rigs of John’s that I used were the four mag M1A/FAL 20 rounder Swamp Fox harness, and the six mag AR Magpul 30 rounder Swamp Fox harness. These go on like a vest, but fit and ride similar to a chest rig. I’ve use both rigs a good bit, and they are made to be durable and provide easy accessibility to your mags. They also have convenient molle webbing on both side to attach an IFAK or radio pouch. The swamp Fox rig fills the roll of carrying enough ammo without equipping for a combat patrol.

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Because the two center pouches are singles, and the two outside pouches are doubles, the double pouches have the extra velco for single mag retention.

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This is the Swamp Fox Rig for four FAL 30 round mags

Up to this point, all the Swamp Fox rigs have permanently affixed mag pouches and were four across. This next one is my Son’s rig for AR Magpul 30’s, and it has two central double mag pouches, and a molle accessory pouch on the right side (of the wearer), and a UWG molle blowout pouch on the left side. The advantage of this rig is that it is minimalist in the amount of space it takes up on ones chest in comparison to the four side by side pouch rigs. By the way, I am a big fan of John’s blow out pouch. It will hold an Israeli dressing, a pack of Quickclot, and a roll of gauze. It also has slots on both side to affix a RATS tourniquet.

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Next up are the two chest rigs we’ve tried out. When I say we, I mean my Wife and I. My Wife finds the Minuteman chest rig completely comfortable. In comparison, she didn’t like the way my Son’s Swamp Fox rig rode, and the placement of the buckles were uncomfortable for her. Her chest rig is similar to my Son’s Swamp Fox rig, but it does not open in the front and therefore is a little less broad across the chest. My Son’s Swamp Fox rig and my Wife’s Minuteman chest rig are minimalist in nature, designed for those who are smaller in size, or want a very small rig on there chest. Her Minuteman is set up just like my Son’s Swamp Fox rig and has the two central AR Magpul double mag pouches, a molle accessory pouch on the right side, and a molle UWG blowout kit on the left side We all carry our blowout kits on the left front of our rigs as SOP.

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The last wearable carry rig I’m going to discuss here is a chest harness that I use. Normally, I’m not a fan of chest rigs, but this one was a little different. It is designed to be minimalist in nature, and is a molle chest rig with one of John’s AR Magpul three mag shingles and a UWG blowout kit. The webbing is all thinner (not double or triple thickness with padding) and the retention flaps are actually a strap with the same tuck tab his flaps normally have. This rig rides very well underneath a light jacket or heavy shirt, and is about as spartan as you’d want, while still carrying what you need if the environment get’s “non permissive”. This rig would work out well if you’re driving from “A” to “B” and think you might need more than what your pistol and accessories might offer.

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I’ve already discussed the three mag bandoleers that John makes in this post and also here. They are a convenient way to have three extra mags available in a small rig that can be attached to your pack or on your person.


Final thoughts. It’s hard to find well made kit in the U.S. that doesn’t break the bank. John is a conscientious, hard working, helpful guy that will give you an excellent product at a fair price. He can also work with you on something that isn’t in the line up. I sent John two of the FAL 30 round mags (No one makes a pouch specifically for them) and he had the mag pouches and four mag Swamp Fox rig ready in a timely manner. Give him a shout and tell him MDT sent you


American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE