Personal Protective Gear For A Nuclear Threat.

Was advised it might be a good idea to repost some of my nuke related posts, so here you go.

Re-post from MDSA

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As a kid, the threat of nuclear war was a very real. One of the reasons I chose to go to NBC School while in the military was due to my interest in learning how to survive it as a teenager, and realizing that whatever I may have learned as a civilian, I could probably learn a lot more in the military. At one point I served as a Battalion NBC NCO, and assisted in the planning and conducting of battalion level training events.

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Although there are a lot of resources out there, the book Nuclear War Survival Skills is still one of the best and most practical. Although a lot of people believe you need a military NBC suit to survive fallout, in actuality, a standard rubber rainsuit will protect you just as well. The military NBC suit is more for the chemicals in a chemical attack than the nuclear radiation threat. You cannot survive in a high radiation dose area simply by what you are wearing. Wearing a protective suit is to help keep the fallout off of your clothing, keep it off your skin, and to make a barrier that is easily decontaminated (decontaminate by hosing or brush off the fallout). Below is a rainsuit on the left, and an military NBC suit on the right.

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Besides the mask you wear to keep from inhaling radioactive debris, the other accessories you need are gauntlet type gloves and some type of over boot. Both of these items need to be able to be easily decontaminated like the suit you’re wearing, and heavy rubber seams to be the best material for that.

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Last but most definitely the most important part of personal nuclear apparel is the mask. The purpose of the mask is primarily to filter the air you breathe. Inhalation of radioactive particulates will kill you from the inside out. A secondary purpose is to keep the fallout out of your hair and the inside of your collar if the mask has a hood. Even a dust mask will work, but I use a military issue masks for their durability and filter compatibility with what the military uses. Below is the M17A1 Mask on the left, the M40A1 on the right. Both have the hoods attached.

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A lot of people discount the older M17A1 masks, but if you find one in good condition, grab it. The internal filters are a pain in the ass to change when needed, but this type of mask is harder for someone to rip off your face in a close quarters fight. However, the side filter models do give you a better cheek weld when using a rifle, and the filter is easy to change quickly.

 

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Keeping track of your personal dose of radiation is done by wearing a dosimeter “pen”. This is pictured on the left above. The item to the right is a dosimeter charger. This is basically a meter that you look through and a needle inside tells you what your radiation exposure is on a scale that is inside the “pen”.

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Last but not least in the electronics department is a radiation survey meter/geiger counter. Depending on the model you get, you can measure the radiation level in your immediate area, or at a distance (some have a cable that you can place at a distance from the meter). This will give you the Rad/Gray level for your location.

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That’s all we’re gonna discuss in this post about personal protective apparel for a nuclear threat.

JCD

Radiation’s Effects And Materials To Mitigate Them

Was advised it might be a good idea to repost some of my nuke related posts, so here you go.

Re-Post from MDSA

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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.

Radiation

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.

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Terminology

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).

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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).

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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.

SHELTERING

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.

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JCD

The Infantry Combatant Perspective

For those of you who have served, especially in the infantry, you know that there is a stigma when it comes to the profession of combat. Weak is the only four letter word that someone could call you that could possibly hurt you. The infantry is a profession for hard men who lead hard lives. We take no shit. We fight for fun. We drink more than we should. We have an invented derogatory name for those who were not man enough to join the profession of dispensing freedom one 5.56 at a time. That’s right, I am talking to you, you fucking POG.  We are the reason you can’t get laid in a 50 square mile radius of any major military installation if you sport a high and tight. Arrogance? You’re god damned right we are arrogant.  For enemies of the United States, we are the things that nightmares are made of. Oh you’re sick? Take a knee and drink some water. Oh you’re injured, huh? Take a god damned knee and drink some more water, pussy. Oh you’re having problems at home? Nothing a bottle of Jack cant remedy.  PTSD? That’s something POGs made up to get their queer little combat action badge. We are the top 10% of the 1% that volunteer to serve this country. We wear our combat infantrymen’s badge, blue cord and discs with pride because we know we have been there, done that, and got that T-shirt. We are better than you and we aren’t afraid to let you know it. Why? because we aren’t weak like you. We aren’t afraid to die in the most horrendous ways possible. We crave that day we get to pull that trigger and dispatch another America hating savage. If you have ever been in the infantry after reading that I know you feel a little pride swelling in your chest.

There is a reason that the stigma exists. Most people would never knowingly put themselves in harm’s way, let alone crave the challenge of being locked in a fight where only one side can come out with their life. It’s a badge of honor to know that you are one of the few that are willing to throw yourself into a kill or be killed situation. There is nothing like it. Unless you have been part of the fraternity of infantry no matter how hard I try to explain it you will never fully understand. I owe the infantry for some of the best qualities I have as a man. I can face any situation and know damn well I am going to come out on top. Everyone fails. It’s part of life but the drive to succeed at any cost and never allowing your failures to stand is something that this profession etched into my very being. I have faced crippling fear and overcame it. I can suffer long past where a normal man would give up. I am confident and driven and live for competition. You cannot feel what being alive means until you have come face to face with the reaper and spit in his face.

The flip side of the coin is something that we as a society need to look at changing. Even writing this I worry  about those I have served with and what they will think of me for having this opinion. We have to change the stereotype. We are losing soldiers on a daily basis to suicide. We lose them to the grips of substance abuse. We watch as they tear apart their own lives and their families with anger and depression. I have personally known 3 people who have killed themselves because they couldn’t handle the demons that were inside of them. How can we stop it? You can make any number of hotlines and support groups you want, but the real change needs to come from inside the infantry. We ridicule and abuse any sign of weakness we see because weakness is something we can’t possibly tolerate. Weakness gets people killed. So we push on with injuries that we should probably have looked at. We don’t go to the doctor when we are sick. We don’t talk about all the fucked up shit we saw and did overseas. We were just doing our jobs. We excuse away all the rage directed at people who don’t deserve it. We think the best medicine when you are feeling down comes from the local liquor store. Whats worse is if we see someone else do any of those things we call them out for being weak, for having no heart, for being soft. So when the time comes, and life just gets a little too overwhelming we would rather put the gun to our head and pull the trigger than let someone see past that mask we wear.

We can evolve. We have to evolve. The whole goal of not showing weakness is to be able to endure the rigors of combat and make it out alive. You have to be strong for your buddies because you need to be to bring them home. It is a hard job. We take care of each other when we are overseas. We watch each others backs. We go through those hard times together and come out the other end and know that we have brothers for the rest of our lives. Why can’t we accomplish that goal and take care of each other without that stigma that is preventing us from getting help? If the goal is to have no weaknesses, then why have we fostered an environment where we hide those weaknesses instead of dealing with the root of the problem? Wouldn’t it make you better to be at your best instead? Why do we wait till our friends get that DUI, get arrested for domestic violence, and in the worst case, pull that trigger to see that they need help?

I was at a buddy’s house the other day and we were sitting there knocking a few back and bullshiting about the old days. We served together as squad leaders in the same platoon for two years and a trip to Afghanistan. This guy is the epitome of what you would expect from a seasoned veteran. Poster boy for the infantry. Purple hearts, medals with valor, high PT, great leader and overall stud. Not to mention the cockiest son of a bitch I ever met in my life. A true brother. We always competed with each other trying to have the best squad or get picked to be the main effort for training scenarios. Somehow my medical separation came up and I told him I was shocked to see how much was wrong with me. I went from a sleep study and one diagnosis for narcolepsy and all of a sudden I have a shrink, I am getting psych tests, I am getting treated for TBI, I am on all kinds of medication and I told him the fucked up thing is that I still wont allow myself to belive that any of it is real. I know rationally that whats going on inside of me is abnormal but I find it easier to just write it off. Now I love him to death but I kind of figured I was gonna get mocked but he surprised me and told me about all the things that were wrong with him. Turns out he has been having a pretty tough time himself which I would have never known if he did not allow himself so share with me. I was shocked he did and honored that he trusted me enough to let me into that vulnerable place that we as war fighters rarely allow ourselves to go. We sat there and had a good laugh about it. We laughed about hiding it from people. What the fuck do we have to prove to anyone? We have already proved we can do it. Why does it matter what other people think?  We finally came to a conclusion. We accept all those things because they are normal. That is how I felt since I can remember. Hell, I enlisted at 18 and have spent the majority of my adult life this way. He asked something that really made sense to me. Wonder what it would feel like to be normal?

We will never know because we are who we are and we have done what we have done. Its shaped who we are as men and I truly belive that we are better for it as long as we can be honest with ourselves and know it comes with a price. A price we all pay in one form or another. Guilt, anger, and regret are the new enemies that could defeat us if we don’t face them. I see the best of us choosing isolation rather than seeking out someone to talk to because everyone else seems to be doing fine. None of us are fine but refuse to let it show. Refuse to show that weakness.  I know now that seeking out help gives us the best chance to get as close to what normal should be. At the end of the day, no matter who you are, your gonna have to hang up the uniform and try to be a member of a foreign society called civilian life. Your gonna have to accept who you are stigma or not. You may have been a grunt and done some shit but allowing yourself to admit your weakness and fix the problems is just as courageous as duking it out in a firefight. I know I didn’t give up all that time and effort deployed watching your back for you to come home and die by allowing these new enemies to win. So do me a favor. Take the time after you read this to give somone you know who has lived this life a call. Check in every once in awhile. Show them that even though you arent together every day fighting for our lives in those remote shitholes, they are not alone and you still have thier backs. Who knows, you may save a life.

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JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

Brushbeater Talks Gun Logistics

Although I’ve done a number of posts about Survivalist firearms, I haven’t put my thoughts on the blog about the logistics of keeping them running. Brushbeater did a good job here of pointing out the problems and some solutions for long term firearms issues.

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Running Spares- Keeping Your Weapon Going

AR-15 vs. AK-47. 7.62 vs 5.56. 308!! Mil-spec, mil-surp, match grade, green tip, etc, etc, etc. If you’ve been a shooter any amount of time, you’re familiar with these terms. In the internet-land these are hotly debated for some reason, each time by people who’ll no doubt prove this time around that their choice is the right choice, yours is not if you disagree, and whatever they’ve bought is by default the best (because they say so of course, along with it’s high price if talking among champagne elitists or it’s budget price if talking with the buildabag crowd) and every so often it’ll get backed up by unverifiable claims of “someone they know/trained with/watched a DVD of/thought lovingly about once who’s a no-crap SHTF ninjatype baddie” told them it’s what they run…

Yeah, Right. The overwhelming bulk of these people have never fired a shot in anger. Being a gun enthusiast doesn’t make one combat proficient. Pardon me for my genuine disinterest in their ‘opinions’.

What you very rarely hear is discussions about keeping your weapon running, long term. I guess that’s not ninja-enough. Believe it or not, it has little to do with weapon selection itself- it’s a question of logistics. Each of the common platforms have nuances, big and small, that need attention to keep your weapon from being deadlined. Nothing is worse that spending a month or more’s wage on a defensive rifle, an optic, mags and ammo, to have the weapon fail due to a dead trigger spring. It happens. It happened to an SR-25 I was running on a Known Distance (KD) range. Great rifle, but not widely known for its reliability. Even the Kalashnikov, the alleged marquee of reliability, has needs and can fail fairly easily and unexpectedly, especially with some of the lesser-quality brands out there. So all this being said, here’s a few guidelines to follow in order to keep your weapon running, post unpleasant-ness:

  1. Spare Bolts: Far and away, the only part I’ve actually seen break on the AR-15 platform (aside from the dead trigger spring on the SR-25…but that was different…) is the bolt. Just buy a spare, right? Well, yeah. BUT- Did you check the headspace with a go/no-go gauge? Do you own a go/no-go gauge for your weapon? Did you re-check it after so many rounds out of the weapon (the wear changes the spacing)? Did you test it for function? Is there any binding or unusual wear on the lugs? It goes without saying that the bolt must be quality- proper gas key staking, proper steel and heat treat, and no gimmicks (like the ‘lube-free’ AR-15 bolt…wtf, over?). The Kalashnikov also can have issues with the bolt. Some of the Yugo models have had mushrooming of the rear of the bolt where the hammer strikes- which could cause premature failure. You need to keep an eye on potential stress fractures as well, as some production runs from differing countries/companies have different heat treatments. You also need to understand not all AKs are the same; different countries have variations on their design. So know what you have, and pick up a spare parts kit for yours.
  2. Use Standardized Parts: Cornerstone to the homebuilt/bubba gun issues is the use of bargain-bin non-spec/non-standard parts. This is endemic to the AR, with all the snake oil being sold, so the watchword for keeping a rifle serviceable is using standardized simple spare parts. Believe it or not, for the money, DPMS makes a good lower parts kit.  On the AK, it’s a good idea to pick up a trigger pin retainer plate to replace the shepherd’s hook (you know, that paperclip that keeps the trigger in place and fails far more often than thought). They’re cheap, take all of 10 seconds to swap, and usually will never need replacing.
  3. Spare Trigger Packs: On the note of spare parts kits, the bulk of those parts are the trigger components. Now if you’re into custom triggers (and there’s some nice ones out there) that’s fine, but understand how it works. I strongly encourage new or inexperienced AR shooters to leave the internals alone- you need to get a feel for a bone stock weapon, and the trigger itself usually breaks in nicely with the weapon over time. In addition, if it’s a standardized trigger, with standard components, one can stock several running spares for all the rifles in the battery relatively cheap. The AK comparatively speaking has a very simple trigger, but believe it or not, can be the largest point of failure on the weapon. As cheap as the Tapco G2 is, if you’re a Kalashnikov kid it’s a great idea to have a spare on hand. Assemble it. The AK trigger is a drop-in component once assembled, but requires a tiny spring that loves to fly away if you have fumble fingers (ask me how I know). Have one pre-assembled so that it becomes simple under duress or less-than-ideal circumstances.
  4. Know the Points of Failure on Your Weapon: Every design out there, even the mythical Kalashnikov, has failure points in the design. It’s common knowledge that cleanliness is important to keep an AR bolt running (although it’s far more resistant to fouling than commonly thought). But other issues can arise, from the potential problems we’ve already identified to things unforeseen (like gas block issues or bolt hold-open failures) so it’s worth your training time not to just get mechanically better with the manual of arms but also to identify potential issues you may run into. The AKM for example, using a stamped-steel receiver, can suffer from broken rivets if improperly done. A broken trunnion rivet kills that rifle, then and there. Improper heat treatment or excessive wear of the bolt guide rails can cause failure to cycle. It happens. Having a working knowledge of the mechanics of your weapon is critical to being combat proficient- it’s a lot easier for a supporting apparatus to get a weapon running if the operator can diagnose the issue (more on that in a second).
  5. Use Common, De-Facto Standard Rifles: I really like the Sig MCX. That’s a cool little carbine, and although I haven’t run it with a can, I would be willing to bet it’s a dream to shoot suppressed. But aside from aesthetics, it doesn’t have a lot in common with the standard direct impingement AR. In fact, there’s a lot of proprietary components, such as the bolt carrier and dual recoil springs, which just might fail (and have, which is why it’s been recalled). If no one else in my Patrol is carrying that weapon (or can afford it), and we don’t have running spare components, then in the event my very expensive toy is deadlined, maybe it might be for good. Now I’m ineffective, all because I wanted to be the cool guy. The same for the PTR-91/G3/CETME weapons. Good rifles, sure. Popular in Iran, not so much with Rhodesians (according to Dennis Croukamp). But the HK roller-locked system is unlike anything else found in the wild here in the US, and although no doubt someone will comment to attest to it’s reliability, et. al., once those rollers go belly-up, that gun’s done. Get your spares now. So unless you’re a collector or enjoy cheap magazines for rifles that destroy brass, AND YES, THEY DESTROY BRASS, I wouldn’t bother but then there’s that rule that two is one and one is none if you happen to disagree. Be ready to supply spare parts or have the means to fabricate them. The AR on the other hand, far and away, along with the Garand action (both M1A and Mini varieties) and the AK to lesser degrees, are quite common and therefore are known quantities, so resolving group standards or potential logistical issues will much simpler. Any gunsmith in the world can usually keep them running…a CETME, maybe not. More on this in a second.
  6. Start Right, End Right. Buy Quality Parts: One of the biggest myths of the current gun culture is that quality must be equated with cost. While you do get what you pay for in most contexts, there’s also a definite law of diminishing returns. Quality, standard parts kits for the AR don’t usually cost a lot. $40-$50, maybe a little more, is about the norm. Spare quality bolts are a little more. The Tapco G2 AK trigger is ~$30. Spare milsurp AK parts, consisting of a spare bolt, bolt carrier and piston with recoil spring is around $100. Not a lot of money if you’re counting on that rifle working for the long haul. But in all cases, buy from a reputable manufacturer. On the other hand, you will reap Murphy’s rewards for being a cheap skate if you skimp on your resupply. Buy from reputable sources, buy from makers who stand behind their product, and buy from those who can tell you where and of what their stuff is made.
  7. Make Friends with a Gunsmith: There’s gonna be problems that come up that you can’t fix. Billy dropped his weapon during an IMT and bent the barrel at the receiver. Johnny’s gas block just failed. Jeff showed up with a non-standard kludge stick and won’t fire six rounds without binding up. Mike’s well-worn AK just became a runaway gun or even better, broke two rivets on the front trunnion. If you’re training the untrained to become Light Infantry, which is what a lot of this ‘SHTF’ talk boils down to, these things are going to occur. I’ve observed each of these things happen with well trained guys by the way, and while that might be great for a chuckle, it happens more often than you think. It’s also very easy to laugh and say that ain’t us while sitting comfortably in your chair reading this…people do clumsy stuff under duress. A person cannot fix everything themselves, but a good Gunsmith is a great person to know and crucial to an Underground support. In addition to being a de-facto gun guy, he’s going to have a base of knowledge that you don’t, and chances are high he’s also gonna have the means to fabricate the parts that you otherwise cannot. (As an aside, I’ve never met a Gunsmith who wasn’t a pretty serious Survivalist) But along with that, just like a Doctor can’t look at you and just know you have the flu vs. an appendicitis, he needs an accurate description of symptoms, and a Gunsmith’s job gets a lot easier if the shooter can accurately describe what’s going on vs. mah gun just don’t work! -that takes experience and knowledge of the weapon, only gained through trigger time.

Standards matter. It’s not really about whatever your particular preference may be, or even what weapon is better for this or that, it’s about what the group can acquire, standardize upon, proficiently employ, and keep running long-term. In the US that favors the AR-15 the strongest. There are no guerrilla forces I can think of off-hand that simply picked what they wanted, either- it boils down to what the external support supplies them with or is expropriated (but this, of course, is another discussion for another day). So while that may or may not be your concern, creating a standard for your group, adhering to it, training around it’s strengths and limitations, and having a plan to keep those weapons running is critical to your success.

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JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

Brushbeater Commo 4

Here’s another in a group of posts from Brushbeater on Commo gear and use.

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Radio Question #3: My Response, of Sorts

So with the thought experiment of a fictional occupation of the Southeast and setting up a listening and signal outpost, a lot of solid answers have been posted. Here’s my take on the situation.

What equipment will you have delivered first, and why?

Of the listed equipment, the first items to be brought include the SDR play, one computer (ideally this would be a good time to point out how neat a Raspberry Pi can be…), the Bearcat scanner, the four DTRs, the Baofengs, both the F6As, the 12x FRS HTs, and the TA-312s. Supporting those will be the LMR-400 rolls, the RG-8x, two of the spools of fence wire, and the insulators.

The first priority is listening. The SDR and Bearcat accomplish this at the local level, as do the Baofengs. Redundancy matters. The F6As have far further utility in their wideband RX capability, and with short runs of wire as an improvised antenna make good compact units. The FRS units are for my OPs and locals recruited into the organization- they run .5w of power and are idiot-proof…requiring no training in an already stressed environment. The TA-312s will be in tow for communications between transmitting and listening sites along with the dual strand commo wire. Finally, the 50 ohm transmitting line is a must, as it’s harder to come by. The 75 ohm cable was abandoned- you can find that anywhere. The fence wire is needed for obvious reasons (antennas) as well as the insulators.

How will you provide power to your equipment? Provide a power plan, including contingency for weather, and including risk assessment for enemy detection.

The majority of the equipment is handheld and compact- and can be run from AA batteries. They’re easy to come by, and probably still will be come hell or high water. Seriously. In the near term however, the charging bases for each of those radios are brought along. Baofengs in particular are quite power efficient, as is the TH-F6A. EVERYTHING IS CUT OFF, save for the Bearcat running close call, when not needed. For my watchmen, keeping an FRS radio on one interoperability channel is the go-to- why? Half-Watt transmitting with nothing really needing to be said. Break squelch in morse code. Think outside the box. The DTR could also be used in this role- but until the posture changes with increased OPFOR activity, keep it as simple as possible.

One of the items I would have brought along is a power-pole equipped set of battery clamps- I can run anything (within reason) from batteries I scrounge on the move. There’s a lot more power sources out there sitting idle, even now, than most people realize. Under duress, while others are panicking, the calm thinking man can do well.

One important note to make here is that the power port on the side of the Baofeng extended battery matches the size of the power port on the back of a Yaesu VX-series charging base AND the Yaesu 817. Those items were not included in the scenario, but for information purposes, I can run all three of those items from the same Power-Pole cable. That’s why standardization, and figuring out NOW what you can standardize, matters bigtime.

Concerning enemy detection, we’re minimized by just listening as well as the fact that the primary equipment is easily hidden. My OPs, carrying low power sets I have running spares of, are not likely to get rolled up. But tossing a FRS radio is not a problem.

What equipment, if any, will you want to bring with you beyond what you have been given so far? What antennas do you need to have, and how will you provide them if they cannot be locally acquired?

The equipment I’d want is mostly what I’ve already named- a couple of Yaesu VX7Rs with the charging bases, AA battery packs for them, and of course, my trusty 817. The 857 would be a better from the frequency range it can cover ( the 817 doesn’t rave the ability to receive the last two MURS channels, Marine, or NOAA, for example) but is more power hungry and harder to conceal.

There was a number of older equipment I purposefully left behind- for starters, they’re large, takes up pack mule space, undeniably contraband, and power hungry. The IC-2 HTs are also very old, which means the batteries are in unknown condition. They may hold a charge today, but tomorrow, who knows. And while right now I can get on flea bay and buy more, that ain’t happening in our scenario. You’re also gonna want a fold up solar panel and charge controller. They’re a dime a dozen and relatively cheap these days.

Everything I own, signal-wise, can be run from 12v Power Pole equipped cables. This includes the charging stands for HTs. I also have multiple wall warts that are easy to cut and equip with power poles to run scanners and such from scrounged 12v supplies. I cannot emphasize enough the value of getting on one standard.

One reason I brought the amount of wire I did was for the ability to make any antenna I may need (because it’s what I do…as long time readers know) . In this case, since my requirements include direction finding, making a simple Yagi can do the trick. An easier option is building a receiving loop (what you really need is the butterfly capacitor for tuning, which the TV boxes are the easiest field source for this) to find the Null, which is the direction of the transmitter we are targeting- it’s simple and works- check here for basic instructions.

You’re also going to need a few maker’s tools. A butane soldering iron and a full size Leatherman or Gerber tool is a must. I’d also carry a bag of Anderson Power Poles, the crimps for them (they make life so much easier than using pliers) and a set of standard wire strippers. Electrical tape and duct tape as well, along with a small spool of bank line. You can carry much more bank line that 550 cord, with it hoisting antenna lines just the same.

What cables, connectors and adaptors are you likely to need? Training materials?

I’m gonna be carrying extra UHF connectors as well as adapters- F Type for 75 ohm TV coax, SMA for the HTs. I’m also gonna be carrying along several Split Post adapters for making antennas, with BNC-UHF adapters already connected to make attaching coax simple.

As for training materials, I’ve brought a digital copy of Lawrence Myers’ Improvised Radio Jamming and Spy Comm for reference on a couple micro SD cards, hidden in a junk android phone and somewhere else less desirable.

For our monitoring mission, I think with that most bases are covered. Transmitting would be a bit different animal, but with what’s already been listed here, it’s entirely doable. But, as Mors Kochanski famously said, “the more you know, the less you carry.

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JCD
American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE