Cookies

Notice: This website may or may not use or set cookies used by Google Ad-sense or other third party companies. If you do not wish to have cookies downloaded to your computer, please disable cookie use in your browser. Thank You.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Urban Survival - Reader Question on Viability of Defending Your Home

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received a comment from Anonymous that said... “Plan, Prepare, Procure, and survive...good idea, BUT what if word gets out YOUR place is the place to be "raid" if you will? Do you have a self destruct button around in case you are at your "last stand" there? No bug out place...you are dug in and in it for the long ride…Massive crowd surrounding your place moving in at a high rate 20 yards from your home – not land, but home (the area you surround yourself defensively).”

UrbanMan replies: Good points. Here is some food for thought:

In the preparation phase, where we are now, it is a two edged sword to try and get neighbors, family and friends to prepare. If there is a chance they may be relying on you, then you want them to prepare as best as they can and to come to you prepared to reduce the burden on you. This of course exposes you and your efforts to a lot of people, who can in turn expose that information to a host of other people,....and with any of them having bad intent on you and yours, especially when they are cold, hungry and scared....in other words desperate,..can and will place you and your family and group in danger.

Survival is a team sport. A Urban Survival Group would not only need enough people to reasonable provide for security but to also complete all those mundane tasks such as procurement, maintaining gardens, treating or filtering water, cooking, etc., and still get rest.

In my mind that is a bare minimum of four adult capable of all tasks. This group may be several different families living in the same building in an Urban environment or in nearby houses on a Suburban street, but obviously a larger group would be able to do more tasks, especially the essential task of security and force protection.

A larger group obviously creates a bigger burden on feeding and creates bigger odds for personality problems. If you are the Survival Group leader, you will need to be able to foresee problems like this and wargame solutions to solve this without tearing the group apart. Some people are not team players,....others can't see the forest for the trees...and little problems will become big problems if not addressed immediately.

I have written an article on hardening your home, click here to view. Even if you have a very hardened site, manned by veterans of Afghanistan and plenty of firearms and ammunition, you will still need to plan for a Bug Out so in case you are over run or staying at the present location becomes no longer viable.

Every firebase has at least primary escape routes to rally points at a location with at least a significant terrain feature between the the rally point and the firebase (or hardened home) you are escaping from.

The rally points,...they have been called "Go to Hell Rally Points", or "Initial Evasion Locations" can and should be supported with nearby caches of Survival Gear, Equipment and Supplies in order to get you to your next planned or tentative safe location.

So,.....you can plan in secret, covering your intent to survive in place or effect a Bug Out,.....but, it is hard to maintain that Operational Security (OPSEC) unless you are in a remote area or actually at your Safe Location. I have chosen the other path,...to witness to people the need to prepare and how to prepare for the coming collapse. Surely that information can make me a target,..and I've been a target before,...but, I'm pretty adept at making myself less of a easy target.

I'll do what I can to help strap hangers showing up,....I'll do what I can to help my neighbors,...I won't place my family or my Survival Group at undue risk. I may certainly have to turn away some people, but people will have a better chance being accepted in my Survival Group is they come prepared and with skills and abilities we can use. Welfare recipients need not apply.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Urban Survival Book Review - American Apocalypse


Fiction books on Surviving the Collapse, a la “Patriots”, “One Second After”, “Lights Out”, and a host of maybe lesser known novels all serve to present us with problems that we surmise would be common or probable in a Survival environment.

The series “American Apocalypse” is such a story. Set around the Nation’s Capital this story picks up well into a gradual economic collapse where there are designated security zones separating the “haves” from the “have nots”.

What makes the scenario of this novel realistic is the host of reports that have recently came out warning of a disappearance of the Middle Class, see this article here.

The first book, “The Beginning” involves a decreasingly un-safe Urban Survival situations with conditions deteriorating from increasingly harder to get commodities and lack of security outside of the secured zone of Washington D.C. Some elements of normalcy exist with a fluctutating levels of sporadic electrical power and access to the internet, but inter-mixed with gang activity and murders among the mostly empty urban multi-story buildings of highly vacant urban area, and draconian government response to food riots.

The second volume picks up with the core characters leaving town heading to a rural interim safe position. The skilled Survivalist will recognize many bad habits and errors as the core group move overland, like a long range patrol in denied enemy terrain, as they move towards a safe area.

After arrival in a small town, the core characters face problems dealing with organizing the community for basic law enforcement and security; dealing with some hostile actions of competing groups.

The big lesson learned from my reading and observations was the failure of the characters to start developing a food supply through farming to supplement the meager food they had or what came in on increasingly rare shipments. This lack of plot line reminded me of “One Second After” where it took the surviving townspeople some time before they planted crops and tried to develop or barter for a livestock herd.

All in all I recommend these novels because I think they realistically portray what is going to happen in either a sudden or gradual economic collapse with the Urban areas becoming increasingly violent and essential tip over when utilities (water and power) and food shortages become critical short or non-existent. The flood of refugees out of the urban areas are going to massive. Imagine 6 million folks (or more) exiting the major Washington D.C. area. If you are in an urban area, you need to have a plan and make a decision before your Bug Out options are closed off to you. Plan, Prepare, Procure and Survive. Be decisive, as an 80% solution executed in a timely manner is always better than a 99% solution executed too late.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Urban Survival Skills - Making Expedient Ice

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received this in an e-mail from an alike minded Survival Prepper,….."Urban Man thought you may want to let everyone know how to make expedient ice. In a collapse we probably won't have electrical power for refrigerators or freezers."

Absolutely true. In the aftermath of a collapse, or maybe just in a State like California or Illinois which are bankrupt and can't pay their bills let alone the utilities bill, frequent power blackouts leading to a total electrical grid infrastructure failure would be the projection.

Urban Survivors would have to do what their ancestors did,...can produce, jerk or dry meats and dehydrate vegetables. Building a cellar well into the ground with a well insulated container or room can produce storage temperatures well below the ambient air temperature on the surface.

A reader's contribution to the projected lack of a power and therefore lack of cold storage is the below instructions on how to make field expedient ice.

Making field expedient ice

Items/Material needed:

Ammonium Nitrate

A Bucket or Large Pot

A Smaller Metal Bowl

Water

Measuring Containers - At least two of these.

Mixing the coolant for making the ice:

1. Mix equal parts of ammonium nitrate and water in the bucket.

2. Fill the bucket 3/4 of the way full with the mixture.

3. Place a smaller metal bowl on top of the rim of the bucket or large pot.

4. Fill the smaller metal bowl half full of water.

5. It will take several hours for the water to freeze into ice.

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com has not tried this but is interested in any reader having experience using this method and any associated tips.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Survival Chronicles of Jim – Chapter 16

Well my vegetable garden is kicking butt. My pomegranate tree, really a bush, is producing some small fruit. My tangerine tree is not producing yet.

I have harvested about 18 large squash fruit and several smaller egg plant fruits. I can see that if I needed to I could grow more produce. If everyone in the neighborhood also grew vegetables and fruit, a local farmer’s market type concern could be established for barter. I guess that’s probably asking for too much. There will be some people who did not prepare or procure in any shape or fashion,….God forbid them to have weapons and demand to be taken care of or given food. So yeah, I can to the conclusion that Bug Out at some point as the only option. Urban Survival is possible, but most likely only for a time, unless you very well planned and have prepared well, and, had a substantial Survival Group for mutually support.

More and more I see that an economic collapse is not only possible but probable. The article about the shrinking Middle Class hit home. I do really well financially and should be in the “haves” group, but worry about the “have nots” and what they may be capable of when the food runs out and the utilities stop. Plus I am not immune from losing my job – I am not a government employee.

I am making plans on heading back to my Safe Location, which is family cabin well North of my city, and emplace another cache. I last emplaced a cache near the cabin in February. This new trip will allow me to check out the first cache and see how it is faring,..if any animals or people uncovered it, or if water running off the hill threatens it.

The February cache has the following items:

Aqua Mira Bottle Water filter unit,

Frontier Pro Water Filter Straw,

Extra water purification tabs,

Pack of three butane lighters,

Six of the Three Day Main Stay bars,

Two small green ponchos spray painted sand color and brown,

Small camp hatchet,

100 foot roll of green parachute line (small diameter rope),

One set of long underwear plus four pair of extra socks,

25 rounds of 12 gauge buckshot,

450 rounds of .22 LR ammunition,

Six small cans of roast beef,

Twelve packs of Ramen noodles

Two large packs of Beef jerky and some freeze dried fruits

I bought the “Vegi-Max” collection of Heirloom seeds that come in a sealed #10 can from EarthWaveLiving. I traded a old computer, that I repaired and upgraded, for a .22 LR revolver as well (can anyone say barter society?). I am going to cache these items plus these additional items:

200 more rounds of .22 LR ammunition,

Sharpening device for my knife and hachet,

Pack of 8 “AA” batteries,

Pack of 8 boxes of wooden matches,

Small gun cleaning kit

Pair of Green 5.11 pants,

Extra t-shirt and Sweatshirt

Two small emergency ponchos

Rather than put this cache in od metal ammunition cans, I'm going to put all the items in a two lengths of PVC pipe, pop in an oxygen absorber then seal up the PVC cache container, using PVC glue, and conceal near the cabin. I'm going to glue some webbing straps from old M16 slings so I can carry these into the cache area. I remember that I need to emplace the cache in a location that I can get to if the cabin is occupied by unfriendly people if/when I Bug Out there.

I don’t know about Neomi anymore. I think I’m going to have to cut her out of my Urban Survival Plans, unless she just plain shows up after the collapse, as she was telling me she has to include her Mother and Sister, who will be a burden and won’t prepare. Hell, I can't stand to be in the same room with her sister. I don’t know if I’m being too hard or lacking humanity here, but to include people I have to care for places me and my son at risk. I just don’t know.

Have not found anymore coins for Silver Melt value, so I went and bought five more Silver one ounce rounds. I’m starting to get a collection of silver here and it makes me feel good to have the Silver rounds and Silver Melt coins on hand.

Oh, and I bought some more re-chargeable AA batteries and another flashlight that runs on AA batteries, as well as another box of 7.62x54mm ammunition for my Mosin-Nagant rifle. Note: I was eating lunch with a couple of shooters that work with UrbanMan and we were talking about Survival prepping and guns. I had to admit that I don't have anything other than a Mosin-Nagant rifle and a shotgun,...not counting my Walther .22 LR handgun. I got alot of jaw dropping stares, then alot of advice on buying AR riles. We'll see.

Haven’t yet order more food, but will do so soon. Planning on ordering a case of #10 of Chili Mac and Beef (60 servings) and a can of Scrambled Eggs with Ham (96 servings) from EarthWaveLiving.

be safe, Jim

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Reader Question on Tactical Lights

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received a reader comment on the artivcle pertaining to Lights for other Handguns,...."Anonymous asked,......What about the battery life/supply for these lights? Do you have rechargable 123s or AAs, AAAs, etc hooked up to some type of solar pannel charger?"

UrbanMan replies: Typically, battery life on the tactical lights powered by the DL123 Lithium Batteries, sometimes called Surefire batteries, is about 20 hours of run time. If the flashight is a duel bulb and LED model like the excellent Surefire A2 Aviator, which has three small red LED light and a 60 lumen white light bulb), then when the batteries run down far enough, the white light will not come on but the red LED's still work. I still those bateriesi n a couple of these to use as map, signalling, tracking or navigation lights.

DL123 Batteries are not rechargeable. That's whay I have many more AA and AAA flashlights, than I do have tactical lights, in order to replace my DL123 powered tactical lights when I run out of stocked batteries. I have rechargeable AA and AAA batteries that I can recharge off a 110/115v outlet, 12v vehicle battery or from a Solar Panel. See this post for more on Batterys and Solar Recharging Systems. You are just not going to get the lumens, in a small package, from anything other than the DL123 3v powered flashlights.

Every person needs a red lens low powered light in order to read maps at night, work lock combinations, etc, without destroying their night vision nor giving away their position. I prefer the excellent little Photon red lens Micro Lights with an LED bulb for that. An alternate color would be blue, that works well to. These Micro Lights can be carried anywhere and are amful handy. I think I own about 12 o4 14 of them, one key chains,...in the un-used ashtray of my truck,..tucked inside a belt keeper on my gun belt,...lots of different places. And with 12+ hour battery life, and replaceable batteries, it lasts a long time. Cheap enough to have several for your Survival Bug Out Bags or kit you carry on your body.

Urban Survival Firearms - Reader Question on Other Handgun Lights

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received the following question on the post, Urban Survival Firearms - Tactical Handgun Lights:...."Anonymous asked,......What about lights for Beretta 92D, M9 (commercial 15rd), Walther P22 (.22LR), or Smith & Wesson Model 10, 15, and 40...What do you recommend? Not all of us out here have Glocks. Are there any lights out there with re chargeable batteries? If so, do you recommend anything with re-chargeable solar panels for these lights?"


UrbanMan replies: There are adaptor kits for the Beretta 92 and 96 series semi-automatics. These are plastic picatinny rails that fit snugly underneath the bottom of the Beretta frame and use a spring metal clip to secure the mount to the forward portion of the trigger guard. I will continue looking for one and if any company still manufactures this I will post their information. These actually fit and worked pretty good. Surefire also had an older light and mount called the Slimline, see photo below:


As far as the Walther P22 is concerned, I believe those are made with an integral rail (either cast or machined onto the frame of the gun) and they will accept a tactical light. However, the end user should match up the light onto the gun to ensure it works well enough before they buy it, if at all possible. I know the Surefire X200/X300 will work on the Walther P22.

For Smith and Wesson revolvers (model 10 and 15), I know of no light adaptor. All shooters should be comfortable using a handheld light in their off hand with a handgun. There are various techniques for this, probably the most common is the Harries technique where the support hand is underneath the strong hand (holding the gun) and the backs of the hands pressed together, see photo.












Two other methods of using a hand held flashlight in combination with a handgun are the Rogers and the old FBI technique.


I suggest you practice dry fire with these techniques; choose the one you are comfortable with then get proficient in the technique then head to the range for live fire practice. I would also suggest tritium night sights on all your guns, handguns and long guns. You can tell the shooters who shoot alot at night,....they have white lights and tritium sights.

I have done alot of shooting at night using night vision goggles. It is a acquired skill. I much prefer tritium night sights and a white light aid as you don't lose so much depth perception.

Your local gun shop can square you away on night sights, or you can order them through Brownells.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Reader Question on Planning for the Ladie's Monthly Visitor

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received a reader question from the post Urban Survival Preparation - Emergency Planning by Yahoo....."Anonymous asked,......Have you posted anything that relates to women's natural issues, like our monthly visitor? Material to stock up on that? Any natural grains or food that would substitute Midol? Good site."

UrbanMan replies: Boy, have you got me out of my comfort zone. But thinking about this will be good for my survival group’s planning as I have several ladies coming to the big change era and some just starting out getting acquainted with their new monthly visitor.

I have stocked many boxes of tampons……I think there is 160 total of assorted absorbency capacities. No doubt these would run out. In the back of my mind I have been thinking about some type of re-useable pad much like how the old cloth baby diapers were used. I think the solution in a post collapse world would be some sort of pad that can be laundered and re-used.

If a home made or field expedient product intended to be inserted was used, then I think the chances of toxic shock would probably be increased.

As far as natural hormone replacement therapies go, the following plants are in phyto-estrogen supplements: Black Cohosh, Cimicifuga, Racemoss root; Chasteberry; Licroice Root, and, Dong Quai Root.

I know a lady who is her late 40’s and is taking a pharmaceutical grade phyto- estrogen supplement and reports no menopause symptoms and sometimes goes three months between her visitor showing up.

Another product associated with reduced menopause symptoms, as well as other degenerative diseases is Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which balance The Omega 6 Fatty Acids that body produces and reduces problems associated with inflammation.

My source for this is http://www.myachingknees.com

As far as reducing pain from menstrual cramping, lessening your caffeine, salt and sugar intake just before your visitor arrives and using Chamomile tea to reduced discomfort associated with cramping,…again start drinking this a day or two before your visitor if he’s known to come on schedule.

As far a OTC pain meds such as Advil and others. Part of your Survival Medical kit should include the standard OTC medications such as Aspirin, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Benedryl, some decongestants and the like. I myself hate to take anything other than aspirin and even then only small amounts. But I assume these may be in short supply during a collapse. I buy the big bottles at Costco or Wal-Mart, then replace when the expiration date gets about six months past due.

I am attaching a link to herbal remedies for menstrual pains from www.Home Remedies and Nutrition, here.

Hope this helps and thanks for commenting earlier.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Argument For Economic Collapse with the Shrinking of the American Middle Class

The Middle Class in America is Radically Shrinking, from The Business Insider
by Michael Snyder, Editor of theeconomiccollapseblog.com

UrbanMan’s Comment: What do you think will happen when there is no middle class only a lower class scraping to get by and an elite class? What will this ratio look like? 10% Upper Class and 90% in the poverty zone? How long will the people in the poverty zone put up with that? The 10% in the Upper zone will include the super rich and government employees, over 400,000 added to the roles is the number I seen, compared to 2.5 million net job loss since the Obama Administration came into office. Keep in mind this article was written by a economist, who is not in the habit for preparing for the worst like we are.

The 22 statistics detailed here prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence in America. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer at a staggering rate. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a blinding pace.

So why are we witnessing such fundamental changes? Well, the globalism and "free trade" that our politicians and business leaders insisted would be so good for us have had some rather nasty side effects. It turns out that they didn't tell us that the "global economy" would mean that middle class American workers would eventually have to directly compete for jobs with people on the other side of the world where there is no minimum wage and very few regulations. The big global corporations have greatly benefited by exploiting third world labor pools over the last several decades, but middle class American workers have increasingly found things to be very tough.

Here are the statistics to prove it:

83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 43 percent in 2007.
66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to retirement savings.
A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America's corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.
Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

Giant Sucking Sound

The reality is that no matter how smart, how strong, how educated or how hard working American workers are, they just cannot compete with people who are desperate to put in 10 to 12 hour days at less than a dollar an hour on the other side of the world. After all, what corporation in their right mind is going to pay an American worker 10 times more (plus benefits) to do the same job? The world is fundamentally changing. Wealth and power are rapidly becoming concentrated at the top and the big global corporations are making massive amounts of money. Meanwhile, the American middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence as U.S. workers are slowly being merged into the new "global" labor pool.

What do most Americans have to offer in the marketplace other than their labor? Not much. The truth is that most Americans are absolutely dependent on someone else giving them a job. But today, U.S. workers are "less attractive" than ever. Compared to the rest of the world, American workers are extremely expensive, and the government keeps passing more rules and regulations seemingly on a monthly basis that makes it even more difficult to conduct business in the United States.

So corporations are moving operations out of the U.S. at breathtaking speed. Since the U.S. government does not penalize them for doing so, there really is no incentive for them to stay.
What has developed is a situation where the people at the top are doing quite well, while most Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to make it. There are now about six unemployed Americans for every new job opening in the United States, and the number of "chronically unemployed" is absolutely soaring. There simply are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.

Many of those who are able to get jobs are finding that they are making less money than they used to. In fact, an increasingly large percentage of Americans are working at low wage retail and service jobs.
But you can't raise a family on what you make flipping burgers at McDonald's or on what you bring in from greeting customers down at the local Wal-Mart.

The truth is that the middle class in America is dying -- and once it is gone it will be incredibly difficult to rebuild.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - M4-M16 Tactical Lights

This is the second part of a response to a reader who was asking about Tactical Lights.  First of all I think everyone needs to be able to mount a white light on their Survival-Defensive Long Gun.  You have to train with these lights just like any other piece of equipment.  You can have an accidental light discharge which would give away for your position so you have to know the controls, switches and pressures down cold.

The weapons light world has come along way since mounting D cell Mag Lights underneath our M16's using hose clamps.  But that's still a valid technique if you have no other equipment.  In fact, I was teaching a weapons course to a unit which had M16A2 rifles without picatinny (aka 1913) rails.  I gave them a familiarization shooting our guns which were mounted with various lights, but the white light for all of their night fire training can from the Mag Lights we mounted with hose clamps underneath their handguards.   Hey the only handheld flashlight they had was the old Army issue Angle Head,...so guess what,....all the white light for their handgun night fire was using the Angle Head Flashlight.


There are many tactical lights available today that mount to picatinny rail sets, primarily, on M4 carbines or their clones. I have a definite preference for a smaller light. I mount a Surefire G20 light using the excellent Viking Tactics mount on my carbines. I mount a pistol grip underneath the rail so that the thumb of my off hand is utilized to operate the light. This light operates on pressure to turn momentarily on and when that pressure is released the light goes off. You can still turn the push button housing until the light is fully on.

One of the newest lights on the market is the InForce light. It uses a picatinny mount and the flashlight is pressed into the mount being held in place by grooves. I think this is to allow the shooter to rapidly remove the light for other purposes. The light is push button activated on the tail and has three functions: full on high lumen, full on low lumen and a strobe feature. Best use for this light is also with a pistol grip so that the off hand thumb can operate it. Strobe lights are popular and the idea is that the pulsing light disorients the bad guy. I did not find it very effective when tested on me. However the rapid dis-mount for this light is something worth considering if you do not carry other lights. Inforce light shown below.

Surefire is the King of Tactical Lights. Their M900 series Tactical light is a very high lumens capable flashight producing 125 to 500 depending upon the bulb you use. The flashlight is built into a picatinny capable mount with a hand grip.

Both the M900 and M900 with Turbo Head (you'll know it when you see it) are operated with a squeeze pad on the grip and a "dead man's" switch near the thumb. There are also two small LED's that are operated separably as a navigation light and are routinely used by teams to illuminate locks to be cut, or hinges/door knobs to be breached. The Surefire M900 with Turbo Head (higher lumens) is pictured lower right and the M900 with standard head is shown lower left.

















The only problem I have with most Tactical Lights, and certainly all the weapons mounted lights, is that they use DL123 lithium batteries which are not rechargeable. You could buy a hundred of these for your Survival Stash, but the cost would be around $300 (minimum), and the fact they will eventually go bad is a deterrent. I have AAA and AA powered flashlights to replace my Surefires when I have no more DL123's, as I can recharge these batteries.


The lights shown above are all available from Brownells. The Urban Survivor would be well served to have the weapons light capability on some of his/her firearms.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Urban Surival Preparation - Emergency Planning by Yahoo

One of my Urban Survival Planning and Preparation considerations is how to handle my neighbors (and friends) who come to me after the collapse seeking help. Many of them would undoubtedly be burdens on me and my family due to their Survival unpreparedness. Most of them, even when facing the undeniable indicators of a pending collapse, won’t prepare either. This Yahoo News article may serve to help some of the those people, who will not be readers of this site, to have enough Survival food stocks to endure more than a couple days which would also serve to allow more time so better decisions can be made,...which hopefully would be to get out of Dodge and eliminate the chances of them being a burden on me, and I say that only partially in jest. I am going to re-produce this article, with my comments (in Italicized print) and place them on their house doors in hopes of giving them a moderate and comfortable education in the beginning of Emergency Preparation. Have you ever noticed how the connotation of Emergency Preparation and Survival Preparation are different?

The top foods you should keep in case of an emergency – An article from Yahoo News. By: Vanessa DiMaggio

Natural disasters--such as a flood, hurricane, or blizzard--often come without warning. Stocking non-perishable food items ahead of time (and choosing wisely what you include) will help you weather the storm with less stress.

Fueling your body during an emergency is very different from your everyday diet. Because you’ll probably expend more energy than you normally would, you should eat high-energy, high-protein foods. And because you have a limited supply, the higher-quality foods you eat--and the less of them--the better. "In a disaster or an emergency you want those calories," says Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University . "You want some nutrients and some fiber—something to keep your diet normal."

UrbanMan’s comments: High Protein foods are not necessary. Foods high in caloric value, and fats are generally a better choice for a survival situation.

But that doesn’t mean you have to eat like a pauper. "In an emergency, generally you tend to think of meeting more basic needs than preferences and flavors," says Elizabeth Andress, professor and food safety specialist at the University of Georgia . "But if you plan right, you can have a great variety of foods and nutrients." Here, Andress and Swanson weigh in on what items you should include.

What to Always Keep in Your Pantry
These items have lengthy expiration dates, so you can stash them away for long periods of time. Make a list of everything in your stockpile and check expiration dates every 6 to 12 months to keep things fresh. And don’t forget to have a can opener on hand at all times--all that food won’t be of any use if you can’t open it.

Peanut butter. A great source of energy, peanut butter is chock-full of healthful fats and protein. Unless the jar indicates otherwise, you don’t have to refrigerate after opening.

Whole-wheat crackers. Crackers are a good replacement for bread and make a fine substitute in sandwiches. Due to their higher fat content, whole-wheat or whole-grain crackers have a shorter shelf life than their plain counterparts (check the box for expiration dates), but the extra fiber pays off when you’re particularly hungry. Consider vacuum-packing your crackers to prolong their freshness.

Nuts and trail mixes. Stock up on these high-energy foods—they’re convenient for snacking and healthful. Look for vacuum-packed containers, which prevent the nuts from oxidizing and losing their freshness.

UrbanMan’s comments: Peanut Butter, crackers, and nuts are all great things to have plenty of on hand. Consider a mix of nuts, however peanuts are particular cost efficient. Almonds are a great source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids which will help maintain your health.

Cereal. Choose multigrain cereals that are individually packaged so they don’t become stale after opening.

Granola bars and power bars. Healthy and filling, these portable snacks usually stay fresh for at least six months. Plus, they’re an excellent source of carbohydrates. "You can get more energy from carbohydrates without [eating] tons of food," Andress says.

Dried fruits. Such as apricots and raisins In the absence of fresh fruit, these healthy snacks offer potassium and dietary fiber. "Dried fruits provide you with a significant amount of nutrients and calories," Swanson says.

UrbanMan’s comments:
Would suggest buying some #10 cans of dehydrated fruit from EarthWaveLiving, click here. Fruit will be at a premium during a collapse. I am basing my daily Survival diet around rice and/or beans,..maybe some pasta instead, with a vegetable (fresh, canned or dehydrated) and one serving of dehydrated fruit each day.

Canned tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey. Generally lasting at least two years in the pantry, canned meats provide essential protein. Vacuum-packed pouches have a shorter shelf life but will last at least six months, says Diane Van, manager of the USDA meat and poultry hotline.

Canned vegetables. Such as green beans, carrots, and peas when the real deal isn’t an option, canned varieties can provide you with essential nutrients.

Canned soups and chili. Soups and chili can be eaten straight out of the can and provide a variety of nutrients. Look for low-sodium options.

Bottled water. Try to stock at least a three-day supply--you need at least one gallon per person per day. A normally active person should drink at least a half gallon of water each day. The other half gallon is for adding to food and washing.

UrbanMan’s comments:
Bottled water is always good to have on hand, better yet have lots of storage containers so you can fill up when the collapse indicators are getting due. Have a plan and the items needed to conduct a "water less life" – meaning conserving water for drinking and only drinking. You simply cannot live without water.. You can use water-less hand soap to clean; use a field expedient "porta-potty".


Sports drinks. Such as Gatorade or Powerade. The electrolytes and carbohydrates in these drinks will help you rehydrate and replenish fluid when water is scarce.

Powdered milk Almost all dairy products require refrigeration, so stock this substitute for an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D when fresh milk isn’t an option.

Sugar, salt, and pepper If you have access to a propane or charcoal stove, you may be doing some cooking. A basic supply of seasonings and sweeteners will improve the flavor of your food, both fresh and packaged.

UrbanMan’s comments: I would add rice and beans, about 10-20 lbs per person at a minimum. Beef and Chicken bullion cubes can be stored with the rice and beans to provide flavor. Powdered mash potatoes, boxes of macaroni and cheese, bags of 16 bean soup and mix are all good food stuffs to stock.


Multivitamins Supplements will help replace the nutrients you would have consumed on a normal diet.

UrbanMan’s comments: Vitamins from an off the shelf are virtually worthless. You are literally wasting your money. I would save your money for something else. If you are buying quality supplements, then consider stocking a 6 to 9 month supply; start taking them now to build your body’s immune system; rotating extra stocks out but keep track of expiration dates.

UrbanMan’s final comments:
Vacuum packing dry food stuffs can preserve these foods for two years or more. An investment into a food saver would allow you to vacuum pack things like rice, spices, crackers, granola bars, dried fruits, etc., for a longer shelf life. However, I’m afraid you may be forced to use these stocked supplies before the expiration date. If you are not in the full Survival prep mode, then at least put some vegetable seed packets (non-hybrid type) into a #10 can and put into your pantry. You may be very glad you did this at some point.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Tactical Handgun Lights

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received the following comment on the Carbine Back Up Iron Sights post,....."Anonymous said.....Exactly the information I was looking for. I bought what they call an Optics Ready Carbine from a friend of mine, but there are no sights. I want to put a scope on it,..was thinking about a 2x9 rifle scope, but will wait until I get iron sights as I agree they are most important. Any chance of you doing an article on lights for handguns and rifles? Do I need one of those lights that attaches to my pistol? How about my carbine?

UrbanMan replies: I'll have to break weapons lights into two articles,...one for handguns and the other for carbines. There are many tactical handgun lights out there. Streamlight, Safariland, Blackhawk, and Smith and Wesson among others, but the tactical handgun lights I have the most experience with are from Surefire and Insights Technology (ITI) who pioneered handgun lights. These lights mount to picatinny (also called 1913) rails or a one groove rail section underneath the appropriate handgun.

The older lights, such as the Surefire Slimline, required an adaptor for handguns that did not have a 1913 rail and these were okay in most cases, but the new generation of handguns with the a section of 1913 rail are much better to mount tactical lights to. I know a gent, Jim from the Survival Chronicles, who has a Surefire light on his Walther .22 LR handgun for Urban Survival - Home Defense.

I only own Surefire X200 and ITI M3X tactical lights for my handguns. If I'm going to need another handgun light, then I would buy the more expensive but better Surefire 200X or 300X as the LED is more durable than a light bulb that the M3X utilizes even though the "X" in the M3X designation is for a more shock resistant Mil-Spec type construction. The ITI M3X is above LEFT and the Surefire X200 is above RIGHT. The Surefire is of aluminum construction and the Surefire is of Plastic. Both use 2 each DL123 lithium batteries and have adequate run time for the light produced. Both have a momentary on/off switch and a "constant on" switch in case you need to use your off hand to open doors, tighten flex cuffs or whatever. Surefire now has the X300 light available which produces 110 lumens of light with a 2.5 hour runtime.

I have a light for each of my M-4's, shotguns and Glock pistols. The tactical handgun lights would also mount to the 1913 rail on your carbines or shotguns. Shown RIGHT is two Glocks,...a Model 22 with a Surefire X200 and a Glock 19 with a ITI M3X light.

The ability to use a light to disoriented your attacker(s), illuminate targets, clear section of a dark building like your home at 3 am, are all great reason to own a tactical light for one or more of your firearms.

The video below will give you an idea of how valuable these handgun lights are for illuminating dark areas of your house. The Surefire lights, as well as others, are available from Brownells - click here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Geography of a Recession - Map to the Collapse

The below video covers the month by month unemployment since January 2007. But that's not the only indicator of a coming collapse. Real unemployment, counting those who cease looking for work,...or those who are under employed,..... you know those PhD holders flipping burgers, would raise this rate more than double. Add projected taxes increases to pay for the Obama Administration's social programs, taxes and fees associated with National Health Care, projected fuel increases and the following higher prices for commodities all make the case for a depression, not recession, and great chance for a economic collapse of this country. Are you prepared?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 31 million people currently unemployed -- that's including those involuntarily working part time and those who want a job, but have given up on trying to find one. In the face of the worst economic upheaval since the Great Depression, millions of Americans are hurting. "The Decline: The Geography of a Recession," as created by labor writer LaToya Egwuekwe, serves as a vivid representation of just how much. Watch the deteriorating transformation of the U.S. economy from January 2007 -- approximately one year before the start of the recession -- to the most recent unemployment data available today. Original link: www.latoyaegwuekwe.com/geographyofarecession.html.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Back Up Iron Sights



UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received a new comment on the post, Urban Survival Gear - My Basic Kit: Load Bearing ...: “Anonymous said,…..Remember to know how to use ALL that fancy scopes and what not on your AR-15/ M-4 rifles. Good old fashion iron sights are the way to go! If you can’t see at night, hide well!”


Troy Industries Back Up Iron Sight - shown Above

UrbanMan Replies: I absolutely am a fan of iron sights,….given a choice between iron sights or a scope, I would choose iron sights. I carried an M-16 then an M-4 for over two decades using only iron sights, when I wasn’t assigned a scoped bolt gun. I started using various scopes, first the old Bushnell-EO Tech precursor when I was teaching shooters to use the same. I have used many scopes over the years,…primarily the Bushnell, EO Tech, Aimpoint Comp ML-2, Trijicon TA-42 and TA-11’s and Leupold CQT. If I had to pick a scope from the aforementioned list, it would probably be the Trijicon TA-42, but they are pricey so I don’t have one on any of my M’4’s. My work gun has an EO Tech.

If you mount a scope on your M-4 you should also have BUIS (Back Up Iron Sights). Lots of good types out there. I happen to use the old A2 version BUIS from GG&G, although there are many makes and models of M-4 rear sights out there, presuming you have an M-16/M-4 with the OEM front sight.

Troy Industries, MA Tech and A.R.M.S. all make BUIS that I have used and are familiar with. I really light the MA Tech BUIS except for the fact that the spring loaded aperture often loses or breaks the spring under repeated use. In my opinion, the GG&G is a robust BUIS and as good as any, better than most.

A.R.M.S. Back Up Iron Sights - Shown Left
MA Tech BUIS - Shown LeftNote the elevaton adjustment, from 200 to 600 yards via the lever on the left hand side.



GG&G Back Up Iron Sight - Shown Right





Any of these BUIS can be purchased from Brownells,…click here.

Urban Survival Planning - Courtyard Vegetable Garden

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received the following e-mail from a reader who appears new to Survival prepping, but seems to be catching on, learning skills and acquiring Survival Gear and Equipment.

Dear UrbanMan, I am a HVAC technician and am located within the city with a population of just over 500,000. I am living in a quad plex one street of a main six land boulevard. I started a courtyard garden this late spring with the intent to gain some experience growing some vegetables as well as produce some food for the table!

I am growing two types of squash, egg plant, cucumber, mini tomatoes, onions and beets. I tried growing carrots and peas, but that didn’t work out.



You can see from the picture that my squash is large,…..I placed the coke can for scale. With four squash plants so far this year I have harvested 13 or 14 squash fruits. I have about six or seven other fruits coming to ripeness. Each squash fruit is large enough to last three, sometimes four meals easy. I add them to everything, but in a Survival situation I would use the vegetables to augment the rice, beans and pasta I have stored in buckets.

I use one egg and some flour to bread the sliced squash and fry up in a pan, then added to the cooked rice. I have grilled the sliced squash like shisk-k-bobs over the grill and also over an open fire. Pretty good actually. Next I’m going to try baking in a dutch oven over an open fire with rice, beef bullion and some beans – sort of like Survival Jumbolaya.

I am learning how to preserve by canning so I can make some of these vegetables last into the fall. I live in a climate where I think I can grow vegetables through late October. I am also thinking about a small greenhouse so I can grow late in the winter.

I bought a couple of those Suisse Sport Alpine Sleeping bags and Aqua Mira Water Filter Bottles from your Survival Store and am in the process of building some Bug Out Bags.

In my quad plex, I have witnessed Survival Prepping to two out of the three other occupants. I myself have a wife; the other people I’m beginning to develop into a Survival Group are also couples, but not married. One I took to the range shooting my Bushmaster copy of the M-4 and now he bought a Mini-14 and a .357 Magnum handgun. I am working on the other couple as well – at least he owns a 12 gauge shotgun. But both have also planted some vegetables and are about ready to stock some basics like rice, beans, salt, soup stock and such.

So you can see we are starting to get prepared. I have gained a lot of confidence as I am beginning to get prepared but scary as I have along way to go before I satisfy I am ready. Can you ever be really ready?

So thanks for all the information on your site.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Financial Collapse Likely

We're three feet away from a thick curtain. When it raises it'll be a bleak picture.

From The Dollar Collapse, "Why We’re Ungovernable", by John Rubino on July 14, 2010

For the first time in 250 years, politics has become irrelevant. Not uninteresting or unimportant; obviously the way a society organizes itself matters to its citizens and its place in the world.

But today there are no policies left on the “possible” menu that will save us from what’s coming. So a rational person’s time is better spent preparing rather than debating.* (Later, when we’re trying to decide what to build from the rubble, the argument will get interesting again.)

The most recent batch of election and poll results illustrates this point:

The Social Democrats and Greens took over Germany‘s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, on Wednesday in a minority government the centre-left says could one day challenge Chancellor Angela Merkel at federal level.

At a time of weakness for conservative leader Merkel nine months into her second term, the Social Democrats (SPD) speculate that they and the Greens could form a minority German government after the next federal elections due in 2013.

According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, registered voters are increasingly critical of President Obama’s work on the economy, and by an 8-point margin they say they’d prefer to see the Republicans take control of Congress. It’s a clear sign of GOP opportunities and Democratic risks going into the 2010 midterm elections, with 51 percent of poll respondents saying they would rather have Republicans run Congress “to act as a check on Obama’s policies.”

So what’s happening? Just a few years — in some cases just a few months — after sweeping into office with promises of “change” and a quick clean-up of their predecessors’ messes, leaders of major democracies from across the political spectrum are being swept right back out.

Did they turn out to be incompetent, or their policies wrong-headed? There’s hardly been enough time for either verdict. But if not that, what?

The answer, in a word, is debt. When an economy’s borrowing passes an historically identifiable point it loses the ability to navigate from crisis to solution. In the case of Europe, Japan, and the U.S., the range of choices has narrowed to only two, inflation and austerity, and neither is working.

When Europe tried inflation by promising to bail out the PIIGS countries, the euro collapsed, as the global markets correctly saw an oversupply of paper currency on the horizon. When it switched to austerity, workers across the continent saw their livelihoods threatened. Either way, the folks in charge get blamed and have a tough time holding their jobs.

In Japan, public debt keeps soaring no matter who is in charge. The government, believe it or not, will borrow more this year than it raises in taxes. So the newly-elected Prime Minister proposed doubling the national sales tax to 10% and then backed off in face of falling poll numbers, thus becoming a tax raiser and a ditherer, a combination that hardly ever wins popularity contests.

The U.S. government has been flooding the system with liquidity for two years, but unemployment remains in double digits. Three of the five biggest states are functionally bankrupt and will either lay off hundreds of thousands of workers in 2011 or receive a bailout that will dwarf what Goldman and AIG got last year.

The next round of elections will bring either new leaders or old ones who adopt the other side’s ideas in order to hold power. Either way, the death spiral of the military industrial complex/welfare state/fiat currency system will continue, and accelerate.

Entire article here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Urban Survival Skills - Fire Starting with Magnesium and Steel

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received a comment on a recent Bug Out Bag Post,...."Anonymous said...Good information and good tips on all the bug out items. Can you do a couple short videos on fire-starting for those if us who don't do it very often? Also with the metal sticker creating sparks technique? Thanks."

UrbanMan replies: Fire Starting should be a basic skill for all. However, I imagine there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people who either have not started a fire or have only used a butane lighter to start a fire and then maybe using a flammable source (I'm thinking charcoal briquets, propane grills, etc.)

I carry several butane lighters in my kit. I use green duct tape over the plastic part of the lighter to protect against cracks and crushing. I also carry several boxes of wooden stick matches in my Bug Out Bag, and, Strike Anywhere Storm matches in my small, complete Survival Kit. Wow, alot of fire starting tools, but starting a fire is so important.

The key to starting a Survival fire is to have a flame source, igniter material (something that catches on fire easy and burns with a flame, and your tinder. I carry small strips of newspaper rolled up and dunk in liquid wax, compressed cotton wads and a small bag of dryer lint (save that dryer lint!). You should keep your igniter material in a water proof container.

You need to have tinder (dry wood works best) from small pieces to feed into your ignited material to increasingly larger pieces and fuel (larger pieces of wood to burn longer). Wet wood makes a sizeable amount of smoke which can give away your position if this is a concern. So be careful with your tinder material and fuel. Have this available so you can rapidly use it as your igniter material may quickly burn out, and no sense using more than you have to.

I also carry a magnesium stick and steel. The steel is struck against the magnesium to produce sparks onto your igniter. Why the magnesium and steel if I have more lighters than I can use at one time plus matches? Same reason why you learn to navigate by the stars, tell direction from the sun's shadows and filter water with expedient means such as charcoal and sand. You may need this skill.

I am traveling right now, so I asked a friend of mine to shoot a video using magnesium and steel to start a fire. He is very familiar with living off and reading the land and if you are into horses you may enjoy his site: http://www.functionalhorsemanship.com

Hope you can get something out of his fire starting with magnesium and steel video.

Oh and my apologies to Xcalbr8 I told the Functional Horseman, who shot the video, that a reader named Xcaliber8 asked for it. Sorry buddy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Urban Survival SKills - More Readers Questions on Survival Bug Out Bags

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com continues to receive many comments on Survival Bug Out Bags. I’m going to address a couple of them here:

“Anonymous said.......Excuse my ignorance, but why not have a small caliber handgun with your Load bearing kit?

“John in Kansas asked,……What do you think about building Bug Out bags around the Maxpedition SITKA gearslinger or KODIAK gearslinger bags? I like the water bladder and concealed weapon feature.”


UrbanMan replies:
Concerning the small handgun in my Load Bearing Kit…….. I actually have six rigs, only two of which I posted pictures of. A couple of the other rigs have molle plackets with Blackhawk Serpa holsters for my Glocks. I have pretty much settled on Glocks as my family and group Survival handgun. If I did it all over again, I probably would have went with the S&W M&P semi-automatics. These are highly touted by some friends of mine who use them regularly in bad places.

With different rigs and configuration I can select the rig I need for the purpose. Some rigs are light, no armor and other’s have soft armor and/or plates. For the rigs I use without a Glock holster, I can wear a handgun on my pants belt or a drop rig, and although I am not fond of drop rigs, I own several…mostly for carrying Glocks with the excellent Surefire X200 pistol light.

So to answer the question, I don’t carry a small handgun on my rigs. I do however always carry a Kel-Tec .32 auto. In my shirt or BDU/ACU type pocket all the time. I guess you could carry a small handgun on your rig, and I am interpreting your question to mean an additional handgun.

I am a big believer in having some gear on your body in your clothing, such as a folding knive, belt knife, handgun in belt or shoulder holster, firestarting equipment, etc. in case you are separated from your load bearing rig for any reason. I know, I know,…but as much discipline as you have not to be separated from your kit, it happens…and a good example would be a river crossing when you have to jettison your kit.

As far as the other question on Maxpedition SITKA and KODIAK bags. The best bag for a Survival Bug Out bags are like anal orifices,… ….everybody has one. All gear and equipment from Maxpedition is quality gear. Either bag would an excellent Bug Out Bag. I like Small Rucks with a hydration bladder and Molle compatible so extra smaller bags can be hooked to the outside.

As far as the hidden compartment for a handgun,…that’s a decent feature, but I would carry my handgun in an more accessible location. If I was actually using my Survivial Bug Out Bag for it’s intended purpose I would also be carrying a M-4 carbine in my hands. So I see no reason to hide a handgun unless you are using the Bag before the collapse.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Urban Survival - Additional Items for Survival Bug Out Bags

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received a new comment on the post, "How would you spend $1000 Contest Winner":.: “Xcalbr8 says….. Congrats- excellent list. This gives me more ideas for my needs.” (Xcalbr8 was congratulating ScottSeigel on wining the Maxpedition Gear Bag and M-16/M-4 accessory tool in the ‘how you would spend $1000 contest’).

UrbanMan Comments: Xcalbr8 – thanks for your comment. I think the proper mindset is not to have an ego about Survival, Urban Survival, Prepping,…the whole nine yards. None of us, excepting some guy named Rawles up in Idaho , have all the answers. Just this week I received some comments and tips which led to me placing or planning to equip my Bug Out Bags with small glass magnifying glasses ( to read maps and small print and also as a fire starting tool), and small V cutters (like seat belt cutters).

There has been a lot of “modern day” Survival Gear and Equipment hitting the market these last few years. Survival Preppers are benefiting from some of the lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan . I think the main reason we all visit Survival blogs and forums is to learn and apply that knowledge to our own situation and preparation. Water hydration systems, such as Camel-baks and other water bladders, are now common and highly touted. I utilize water bladders in my Urban Survival Bug Out bags as well. One day another Survival oriented gent told me I should probably look at placing some old time one quart canteens and canteen cup in my Survival Bug Out Bags – great idea since I did not previously have a metal cooking cup.



Another great idea for the Bug Out Bag are the pre-measured coffee in filter sacks, so coffee can be made just like tea bags. I took a bunch of smaller coffee filter bags and vacuum packed a dozen then put into my Bug Out Kit. My wife’s Bug Out bag as a vacuum packed tea bags.

I was also "tipped" to add folding water-ewash basins, which I also promptly ordered and placed in my Urban Survival Bug Out Bags. Useful for watering dogs or other animals and using for a "whore's" bath - no disrepect to hooker's intended!

Urban Survival - Financial Planning with Silver Melt and Bullion Comment


UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received a comment on the post "Financial Survival Planning – Melt Value of Silver...",…. “Silver Bullion Coins said…..Hi friend, I read your post. Really this post is very interesting about financial survival planning. Which melt value of silver coin. Really I thankful to you for providing this unique information.”

UrbanMan replies: Thanks for your comment. 
I would suggest buying silver one ounce rounds rather than stockpiling coins for silver melt value, as I believe there will be more people who recognize one ounce silver rounds and other weights of silver bullion, than there will be people who can recognize and calculate the silver melt value of coins. I guess you can always calculate the value of silver in the silver melt coins as a percentage of the price of silver per ounce, however the guy with five gallons of gas you need to buy/barter for may not be able to make that calculation,...hence the majority of your precious metals in Silver bullion and then in one ounce rounds would be my recommendation.


Today's (July 15, 2010) silver melt value prices…....

Jefferson War Nickel, 1942-1945
silver melt value $1.03

Mercury Dime, 1916-1945
silver melt value $1.32

Roosevelt Dime, 1946-1964
silver melt value $1.32

Washington Quarter, 1932-1964
silver melt value $3.31

Walking Liberty Half Dollar, 1916-1947
silver melt value $6.62

Franklin Half Dollar, 1948-1963
silver melt value $6.62

Kennedy Half Dollar, 1964
silver melt value $6.62

Kennedy Half Dollar, 1965-1970
silver melt value $2.71

Morgan Dollar, 1878-1921
silver melt value $14.15

Peace Dollar, 1922-1935
silver melt value $14.15

Eisenhower Dollar, 1971-1976
silver melt value $5.78

Silver Eagle (1 oz), 1986-2008
silver melt value $18.29

I already have a decent supply of coins for silver melt value. Some I inherited, others I have collected from going through loose change. I won;t be buying anymore, instead concentrating any additional purchases of Silver in one ounce rounds.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Urban Survival Gear and Equipment - Reader's Bug Out Bag Comment

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received the following comment on your post "Survival Bug Out Bag - Fire Starting Kit,…..”Anonymous said,….A knife would not be bad either with a good old fashion magnifying glass for every bug out bag.”


UrbanMan replies. Thanks for the comment. Good point on the magnifying glass, especially for people who are dependent upon reading glasses to read fine or close up print. I am that way,..20-20 and 20-15 eyesight even at my age, but need reading glasses to read the finest print on maps and documents. The magnifying glass will also let you start a fire and is easy enough to learn so everyone can do it.

It would be a good idea for people needing reading glasses to buy a small compact pair or two of cheap reading glasses,..they can be purchased from Wal-Mart, WalGreens, etc., in hard vase, and place in Survival Bug Out Bags. I also keep a credit card sized magnifying glass in my Survival Kit.

As far having a knife is concerned. My practice is to wear one on my belt and one my Load Bearing Vest, as well as have some type of multi-tool in my Bug Out Bags. In case you are separated from your Bug Out Bag, you will still have some Survival tools on your person. The items I carry on my person (in my pockets) are again a good fixed knife, fire starting kit (another in my Bug Out Bag) and at least two silver rounds.

The new SOG Tool, called the Power Lock, you can read about it here, is the latest and best tool in the multi-tool, multi-plier category, however I only have one of those. I have about ten or eleven other multi-tools (Gerber Multi-Tool, Leatherman Wave, etc.) spread through Bug Out Bags, other gear bags and the occasional book shelf or kitchen counter, much to my wife’s chagrin.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Urban Survival Gear - My Basic Kit: Load Bearing Vests and Firerarms

When asked about my personal kit, I very seldom get into detail, because it'll take awhile to explain what I have and why. I have two basic Load Bearing Vest packages including rucks with water bladders.

My first kit shown is actually my alternate kit and what I call my lightweight load bearing vest.  It is designed around a Blackhawk Chest and back plate carrier, in sand or tan color. I have four pistol magazines pouches on the chest and two first aid packet pouches; two dump pouches (one on each side) round out this vest. The rifle picture is a Rock River M-4 clone, with a Surefire light on a Surefire M73 rail, a Luepold CQT scope and GG&G back up iron sights.  I am using a Spec Opns Mamba sling - just haven't replaced them with the two new V-Tac slings I have on my desk. 


My heavier kit is comprised of a London Bridge Tradining Company load bearing vest. It will carry six 30 round P-Magazines. I have three pistol magazine pouches on the chest (for Glock magazines); one utility pouch on one side (holding mini-binos, small survival tin and several nutrition bars) and a full up First Aid Kit on the other. On the outside of the first aid kit, I carry an additional first aid pouch for a battle dressing, several band-aids and alcohol preps to use on other people.  I have a radio pouch and when not in use it can hold two more 30 round magazines.  I also have a smaller pouch for a Surefire A2 Aviator light.

The weapon shown below is my primary gun and is another Rock River M-4 clone with a very old Bushnell red dot scope that preceeded the EO Tech.  I have been using it for many years and am comfortable with it.  This gun has a pistol grip, another Surefire light and a UTG folding Bi-Pod. This gun also has a Spec Opns Mamba Sling, which is a great sling the way I modify it, but will soon be replaced with Kyle Lamb's V-TAC sling once I get un-lazy.


Both Load Bearing Rigs have Camel-Bak bladders on the back.  I have several other lighter rigs such as Blackhawk Chest Carriers (like the old Chicom AK magazine bandolier type) one set up for an M-14, one for an M-1 carbine and one set up for a 12 gauge pump riot gun.

Survival Bug Out Bag - Fire Starting Kit

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received the following comment last week, from the post on Wilderness Survival Skills List,...."Anonymous said...What do you suggest I carry in my Bug Out bags to start fires? Just some butane lighters? Maybe a steel and magnesium stick?"

UrbanMan replies: You probably can’t have enough Survival Fire Starting Equipment in your Bug Out Bag. In my dedicated Fire Starting Kit I carry the following items: Butane Lighter, Magnesium and steel striker, Strike Anyway Storm Matches, compressed cotton tinder, and compressed roll of newspaper coated in wax. Everything but the lighter and newspaper fire starter fit into a water proof container.


Each of my Survival Bug Out Bags are set up to stand alone in case any survivor was separated they would not have to rely on another Survival Group member for anything.

I also carry a small pouch with a zip lock bag of compressed lint gathered from the clothes dryer, a box of stick matches and a butane lighter. This kit stays in my pocket, so if I am separated from my Bug Out Bag I can have the tools to start a fire.

Being able to start a fire is a primary skill. You should be able to build a fire using wet wood if that was all that was available. Keeping in mind that wet wood will smoke much more than dry wood and perhaps give away your position, but it may be necessary risk that if you are freezing or are soaking wet in very cold weather.

The Newspaper fire starter is just a tightly rolled strip of newsprint, tie up with string or with a rubber band, then dropped into a double boiler of welted liquid wax. These Survival Fire Starters are water proof. I also carry at least six more in a small plastic bag inside the Bug Out Bag. I have seen people make these by rolling up saw dust or almost pulverized tinder in side the newspaper rolls.

Dryer lint makes excellent tinder. I’ll place the lint on a dry leaf, place smaller grass or dry stems on top, then build either a teepee or a lattice work of small to bigger twigs. I can’t remember it ever failing me.

I suggest having several boxes of wooden matches and butane lighters. Usually at the checkout counter of Wal-Mart, Target and other stores you’ll see deals like six four regular sized butane lighters, get three smaller one’s free – I’ll always buy a pack. My wife thinks I have enough, but boxes of matches and butane lighters will be good barter items if you have enough of them.

Why the magnesium fire starter? Old school I guess. A friend of mine makes a kit where the magnesium rod is glued into a groove in a small section of Mule Deer or White Tail antler. Then he attaches a small section of hack saw blade on a string to the antler. The teeth side of the hack saw blade is used to shave off magnesium onto your tinder, then you use the smooth side of the hack saw blade to strike and direct sparks onto the tinder.

Hope this answers the question on Fire Starting.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms – Spare Guns for Barter

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received the following comment from Chuco Passtime regarding my article on Urban Survival Firearms Battery,…… ”I would not call the specialty type guns "junk" guns to barter; rather, label them as antiques or collectibles. You would have a better chance to barter or sell at a higher price. You will be surprised how much a word can co$t you!”

UrbanMan replies: Chuco thanks for the prompt to clarify what I meant. You are right,..words do have meaning. Maybe I should have said “spare firearms”. I never call my collection of older firearms as junk – don’t know why I wrote it. These older guns consist of such gems as .30-40 Krags, .45-70 lever and single shots, Marlin .22 magazine fed bolt actions, .22 LR revolvers, 12 gauge double barrels, .45 LC single action revolver, etc.

These guns are not my primary defensive weapons that would be relied upon during the collapse, but are instead available for barter after a collapse when there will be many people looking to possess firearms for defense, hunting or whatever. My primary Urban Survival defensive armory is centered around my M-4 carbines, Glock handguns, and, Remington and Mossberg 12 gauge shotguns.

I know there are more than a couple opinions out there about trading or bartering firearms since they may end up being used against you. I know if I was on the move with my family and weaponless, one of my first priorities, if not my absolute first, would be to procure a firearm. Even a .22 LR bolt action single shot rifle would be a step up. Besides, if I was going to barter away firearms, I would ensure that the person intending upon receiving the gun would be someone that I would not anticipate coming back to use it against me. And I would control the amount of ammunition with the barter of that gun.

You would think that about all Americans own guns,..but that just ain’t just true. There are tens of millions of gun owners,..alot of these guns are older firearms that you would not consider first line defensive firearms suitable for protecting your family against gangs or mobs. And I would think that the majority of these gun owners may, maybe, one box of cartridges for these guns. That’s why I suggest holding onto your collection of ammunition in odd calibers. Just the other day I found three boxes of 5.7x28mm ammunition. I traded two boxes for three M-14 magazines and am keeping the other box just for barter or in case I end up with a 5.7 handgun or P90 carbine.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Reader Question on Weapon Standardization

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received the following question from a reader: "Anonymous has left a new comment, on your post "Urban Survival Firearms - Is this Survival Firearm, .......What about standardization of weapons for ammunition. It would be easier to stockpile ammo that way and be inter changeable?"


UrbanMan replies: Good question and here is what I think.

It would be preferred to have a Urban or other Survival Group likely equipped with the same firearms. This would support commonality of parts and stockage of repair parts; magazine exchange capability (assuming you standardize on a magazine fed weapon); commonality of training; and, commonality of ammunition.

It is hard to put together a Survival Group where the members will agree and abide by a majority group decision. I think at best, for most Survival Groups (especially in an Urban environment), a loose knit group with all members at various stages of preparation and a plan to rally on someone's Urban location would be the norm. Obviously, from this Urban location, there should be a plan and routes to a Safe Location outside of the urban environment to support contingencies where the Urban Location is not tenable.

It would be likely that members of your group, if they are serious about Prepping for Survival After the Collapse, or if you prefer, TEOTWAWKI, would own an M-16 or M-4 type weapon. That would solve a lot of your problems with standardization. If you cajole or pressure members of your group to procure the same weapon, you may build resentment. You may alleviate this problem by having a Group Charter or rules that mandate the procurement of a minimum Survival Gear and Equipment list to include firearms, magazines and ammunition. I think this is the preferred method. You may be able to bleed off those aspiring Urban Survival Group members who are not really serious, but DO expect them to come knocking when the SHTF.

I have a core group of Urban Survivalist planners who are equipped with the M-4 carbine as the base weapon...most of us have two or more M-4 or AR-15/M-16 version rifles. Many in the group also have M-1A1 or various versions of the excellent civilian M-14 rifle. We all have 12 gauge pump shotguns and all have several handguns in 9x19 and .40 S&W; many of us have handguns in .357 magnum and .45 ACP as well. This was not planned, we all had these firearms before we started getting together sharing knowledge, prep ideas and plans.

If the SHTF, I expect many, but not all of these Urban Survivors to end up at my location which is the easiest Urban Location to defend and withdrawal from. We have actually did planning exercises or Threat Vulnerability Assessments of each others Urban locations in order to build defense plans. But Urban Survival is a team sport and everyone in my group recognizes the need to team up to survive.

Another consideration would be having "junk" guns and odd ammunition for barter. We all have .22 LR rifles and handguns and PLENTY of .22 LR ammunition - this is good for hunting and training as well as barter. As is some of the odd ammunition we all stock individually such as .30-06, .30-40, .45-70, .243, 7mm Magnum and 7x57mm Mauser among many others.

I tell people don't give away the odd box of .45 LC, 9x18mm Marakov or whatever. Keep it for barter and in case you come across, battlefield recovery or whatever, a gun that fires that caliber.

I hope I gave you some things to thing about if not answered your question. Be safe, keep preparing- this planning and preparation phase if the most important phase.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Is this Survival Firearms Battery Good Enough?

UrbanSurvivalSkills.com received the following comment on the post entitled 'Survival Mindset and (Survival) Keyword':...."Anonymous said,.....Thanks for that post. On a different note, I have a Marlin 9mm carbine, a Taurus 9mm semi-auto pistol, a 12 gauge shotgun (bird hunting type), and a 7mm Mauser rifle from WWII. Do you think that with sufficient ammunition stockpiled this is a decent armory?"

UrbanMan replies: Lots of factors and considerations goes into selecting firearms for survival applications. Hunting and Self Defense come first to mind. Other considerations may be: training people to use firearms; ammunition commonality and availability; and simply if the guns "fits" you - and this is primarily whether or not you can effective use it...a Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum revolver probably would not a good choice for 5'1" 95 lb person.

Generally, starting Survival Firearms Battery, in my mind, would consist of:

Pump Action Shotgun. In 3 inch, 12 gauge. Pump action since it will be more reliable with different brands of shells. You'll need a 3 inch chamber in order to be able to shoot all 12 gauge shells.

Handgun. In 9x19mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP primary calibers; I would consider the following calibers adequate .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .45 Long Colt but these are going to be in revolvers. I would not buy a handgun in .380 ACP, .32 ACP and such before I bought a larger caliber. The .380 and .32 Autos are hideout guns, usually short barreled, hard to shoot accurately, have limited stopping power and the .380 cartridge in particular is very hard to find on gun shop shelves. Never knew so many people owned them!

Remember a handgun is a defensive weapon. A magazine fed handgun (a semi- automatic) is generally a better choice since it usually holds more cartridges if a person is adequate trained. A revolver is much easier to operate, but slower to reload and maybe harder to train someone to shoot if effectively.

Rifle. In a common centerfire chambering such as .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield. I supposed your rifle in 7x57mm Mauser is okay if you have enough ammunition for it, since after a collapse you'll have a hard time finding any. Most Survivalists have an M-16, AR-15, M-4 type rifle/carbine in .223 Remington also known as 5.56x45mm NATO. This cartridge is actually a carbine round, but a good choice in an AR platform due to it's accuracy and magazine capacity. While your bolt action Mauser is a good rifle, particularly for hunting, it is not a battle or self defense rifle since it is not a semi- auto and is much slower to load and shoot.

Your Marlin 9x19mm Carbine is a large platform for that relatively anemic round. Too bad your handgun is not a Ruger P85, in which the magazines would be inter-changeable.

Your handgun in 9x10mm is a good gun, albeit for a defensive purpose.

I would ensure you have adequate ammunition stockpiled. Don't forget about extra magazines for the Marlin carbine and Taurus handgun.

I would really consider getting a magazine fed rifle or carbine, such as an M-4, as this is a much better defensive weapons that a bolt gun. I have several and my survival armory is built around the AR platforms.

I would also consider getting a .22 LR firearm, rifle or handgun. I would probably buy a .22 LR handgun, such as a Ruger or Browning because any game you will be taking with it can be taken with a handgun and it can serve as a defensive sidearm for anybody intimidated by a larger caliber.

Survival, especially in an Urban Environment is going to be a Team effort. First rule, everyone should be armed. Some people who end up into your Survival Group may not show up, Collapse +1, with a firearm. Better to have more firearms than not enough.

If I was starting from sratch this is what I would buy, in that priority:

1. M-4 Carbine, .223 Remington (5.56x45mm caliber)
2. Pump Action Shotgun, 3 inch 12 gauge
3. Handgun, 9x19mm, The S&W M&P semi-autos are great guns!
4. Rifle, in .308 Winchester (7.62x51mm NATO), M1A1 rifle (magazine fed) but I would not feel bad with a decent Remington slide action .308 or a bolt gun.
5. Handgun, .22 LR, Ruger or Browning or good choices.
6. I would then look for good deals on several others guns: another M-4, a .357 magnum revolver since .38 special and .357 magnum ammunition is common,..maybe a rifle in .30-06.

If you are looking for a gun, then I would suggest checking out GunBroker.com, click here to see what they have available, or you can enter it at the bottom on this site.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wilderness Survival - Heimo's Artic Refuge

Since we have talking about Wilderness Survival on UrbanSurvivalSkills.com, we opted to post this VBS.TV video on Heimo Korth, called the Omega Man of America's Final Frontier, the last of six families of settlers who was grandfathered in and allowed to stay when President Jimmy Carter (remember that Buffoon?) established the Arctic National Wildlife Refugee.

This may give some people a more realistic look at life in the wilderness. However, after a collapse I doubt you will be able to get to "civilization" for supplies every once in a while.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Survival - Eight Deadly Dangers of Survival

When faced with an Urban or Wilderness Survival Challenge there are many dangers. The result of not dealing with these dangers in a successful manner can and will be death. We are calling these dangers, the Eight Deadly Dangers of Survival.

• Fear and anxiety. Humans will be fearful of any new situation outside of their comfort zone. Have a decayed or non-existent infrastructure; being unsure of your very survival on a day by day basis; and, fearful for the future of your children are all factors that can drive even the most mentally sound people into paralysis. We are really going to be challenged in faith. Our belief in a higher authority; our beliefs in our abilities and the overall belief that a day by day scrapping to survival will be worth it. Knowing that fear and anxiety will be dangers is half the battle. Keep observation on your survival group for people giving into fear and anxiety. If you watched the movie: “The Road”, you’ll remember the mother of the young boy not being able to deal with the situation then walking out into the cold to presumably die (from Hypothermia)

• Cold and heat. Hypothermia and Heat Stroke. The components of battling cold are clothing, shelter and a heating source. The key here will be preparation. Be equipped with Survival Gear and Equipment such as fire starters, good clothing including rain gear and the ability to make or build a temporary shelter or even a fixed substantial structure. In very few instances will we be naked in a desert devoid of anything at all. If we find ourselves in a very degraded environment with little Survival equipment, then the improvisational part of our nature, enhanced through training, will be the difference in our survival,….or not. Rocks, terrain and depressions become ways to get out of the wind to minimize the cold and tree boughs and other plants become insulation. With the danger of Heat, causing heat injuries leading to heat stroke and death, we have to minimize the loss of our sweat. Too many people have been found dead with water still in their canteens. Don’t ration your water,..just use it wisely.

• Thirst. This danger goes along with thirst,..it’ll drive a person crazy. Crazy enough sometimes to drinks sea water without distilling the water from the salt (drinking saltwater will kill you); thirsty enough to drink polluted water. You need to know enough to, again ration your sweat, limit your food consumption…you can go along time (many days, even weeks) without food; but 2 days maybe 3, without water.

• Boredom and loneliness. Being separated from family and friends, a lack of normal communications means such as cell phones, e-mail, facebook, etc., will be hard on most people, but doubly so for children, teenagers and young adults who have grown up with this technology and will at a great loss without it. The hard work of daily survival may leave little time for fun and pleasure. If you are leading or managing a survival group you will need to consider how to alleviate boredom and loneliness. You may even be faced with a situation where there are more men than women and the potential trouble that may cause. You will have to deal with this swiftly and decisively.

• Fatigue. Hard work and lack of nutrition will bring on fatigue. There also is mental fatigue to consider as the daily grind of survival will weight heavily on people. With inadequate rest comes bad decisions,…ensure you and your people are getting adequate rest to be up to the challenge of hard physical work and the mental challenge of making well informed decisions.

• Hunger. Like I said before, you can go along time without food. You don’t necessary want to. Upon the immediate knowledge of a collapse or ability to procure commercially available foods, the Urban or Wilderness Survivalist or Survival Group should implement food rationing. Smaller meals twice a day are much better than one bigger meal a day. Gives people something to look forward to more often in a day as well as is better for the metabolism. Most of us could afford to lose a few pounds anyway. If you are in a decayed situation, understand that you have several days of not eating and still have 100% physical ability before your physical abilities start to degrade gradually or in some cases a little faster than gradually. Adjust your physical work accordingly. Work slower and work smarter.

• Pain and injury. Although when placed in a survival scenario whether it’s a collapse of the infrastructure or placed as an individual in wilderness survival situation, pain can be good,….it’s show us we are alive but can be a warning that something isn’t right and that we have sustained an injury. Be very careful not to let pain develop into an injury especially when our ability to seek and get medical care is greatly or totally diminished. Same of illnesses,…do not let sniffles and a head cold develop into a chest cold then pneumonia. Death follows pneumonia with high powered anti-biotics. Be prepared. Learned alternatives treatments.

• Poor security. Survival is a team sport. Security is not just an LP/OP or lookout providing forewarning of the approach of an outlaw motorcycle group or a bunch of armed zombies. Security is not just your ability to defend you and your group, your home or base camp. The exception to the Survival team sport rule is an individual survival situation in the wilderness,…and in this situation you probably won’t have people hunting you. If so, they take appropriate precautions. Have cold camps. Dry tinder/dry fuel fires during the day only, perhaps heating rocks for nighttime warmth. Be careful crossing linear danger areas/natural lines of drift (roads, trails, power lines trails, dry river beds, etc) and sterilize the signs of your passage to avoid detection. Skirt open areas (we call them irregular danger areas). Have light, noise and litter discipline as to not provide any clues where you are at.

These are the Eight Deadly Dangers of Survival. Being aware of them and the counter measures may make the difference between staying alive or being eaten by animals or cannibals.