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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Survival Firearms: Dot Scopes and Zeroing

Anonymous sent a comment on a prior article about Zeroing the M4 Carbine: ”To zero the scope, why not just keep the rear-flip-sight up and while maintaining sight alignment with the front sight, adjust the red dot to coincide with the sight alignment of the iron sights?”.

UrbanMan’s reply: What you are describing is actually how you do a mechanical zero on the dot scope before you head to the range to shoot live and adjust the scope zero from there. There are a many people who have zero’ed a lot more dot scopes than me but I have done my share. After I mount the scope, and with a rifle/carbine that have already been zero’ed with iron sights, I would do as you suggest:

With a weapon on a stable surface, I will flip up the BUIS (Back up Iron Sights) and looking through the rear sight using the smaller peep sight, I wll use the windage and elevation screws on the scope to put the top half of the dot on the top of the front sight. Again, this is a mechanical zero. You will still need to shoot live ammunition and make adjustments, mostly likely fairly small adjustments on the scope.

I received another question from Jer4421 asking ”If the EO Tech was a good scope and what reticle type I would choose.”

UrbanMan’s reply: I am aware that EO Tech has different reticles available, however I became comfortable with the circle dot reticle. Once you get used to something and get older, comfort is important.  I mainly use these three dot scope:  the EO Tech with the circle dot reticle; the standard single dot Aimpoint; and, the circle dot reticle of the Leupold CQT scope. 

However, I'd have to say I prefer the EO Tech’s scopes on a couple of my M-4’s. Both are Model 552 which are night vision compatible. I have the circle dot reticle with the 65 MOA circle and 1 MOA dot - see photo of this reticle at the top of this post.  If I had to buy another EO Tech, I would look very closely at the AR223 reticle, however I’m happy with the Model 552 and standard reticle. If you do not have a need for night vision compatibility, then you can probably save a hundred bucks or more going to the Model 512.

When I first got a Model 552 I remember being told the battery life was 70 hours. But I asked around since I received your question and 100 hours and then some seems more the norm. The EO Tech have a cut off or automatic turn off feature so in case you inadvertently leave the dot on it will turn off in 8 hours, or you can change that to 4 hours.

No matter what scope or reticle you use, the most important factor is competency born by many sweaty hours on the range making it second nature to mount the rifle/carbine, acquire a sight picture and engage your target accurately.  

But's it not just about accurate shooting.  Clearing stoppages, changing magazines, shooting from disadantaged positions,...recognizing cover and using it correctly,....and a host of other skills.  Good luck to you on your venture with dot scopes.    

Thursday, July 26, 2012

America Heading Towards a Collapse

From an article titled America Heading Towards a Collapse Worse Than 2008 AND Europe! from Peter Schiff by Jeff Macke on Breakout.

According to CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital Peter Schiff, the U.S. economy is heading for an economic crash that will make 2008 look like a walk in the park. Stimulus programs can delay this day of reckoning, but only for so long and only at the expense of making the eventual meltdown much, much worse.

Schiff, who famously warned investors about the housing and financial crisis in his 2007 book Crash Proof, says the Fed's palliative efforts during the housing meltdown have made the next crisis inevitable. "We've got a much bigger collapse coming, and not just of the markets but of the economy," Schiff says in the attached clip (see video below).

"It's like what you're seeing in Europe right now, only worse." In this nightmare scenario detailed in The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy, the current economic pause is actually the beginning of a material slowdown or recession into year end.

At that point, the Federal Reserve will unleash a third round of Quantitative Easing — weakening the dollar without jump-starting the economy. As a result of dollar weakness, import prices rise, pressing the margins of corporate America.

Lower margins lead to heavy layoffs, sending millions of workers into unemployment during a time when they can least afford it. Banks fail, housing collapses, and taxes are raised in a futile effort to give the tapped-out government the capital to try yet more futile stimulus. "That's when it really is going to get interesting, because that's when we hit our real fiscal cliff, when we're going to have to slash — and I mean slash — government spending," says Schiff.

Those cuts will not be at all unlike the draconian austerity measures in Greece, with programs like Social Security and Medicare being dramatically cut or possibly disappearing entirely. The easiest way to put it, is that everything you don't think could possibly happen in America will come to be. "Alternatively, we can bail everybody out, pretend we can print our way out of a crisis, and, instead, we have runaway inflation, or hyper-inflation, which is going to be far worse than the collapse we would have if we did the right thing and just let everything implode," he offers.

So what should investors do to protect themselves? Schiff has three suggestions:

1. Get Out of Treasuries The U.S. dollar is going to get trashed in Schiff's scenario. Locking in a yield on a government 10-year bond of 1.5% is a paltry return in the first place. Should inflation tick up to even 5%, a level much lower than that seen in the early 1980s, bond owners would have 3.5% less buying power at the end of every year. If they go to sell the bond, they'll only find buyers at a much lower price than what they paid.

2. Own the Right Stocks With bonds and the dollar bearing the brunt of the pain, Schiff says stocks will outperform dramatically, provided you own the right ones. Exporters and multi-national corporations will benefit from a weak dollar. Better still would be to buy foreign stocks and avoid the U.S. entirely.

3. Buy Silver and Gold Schiff says the recent weakness in these precious metals is just a pause as we wait for the other shoe to drop. Most of those on Main Street haven't even taken positions yet in gold or silver. Once they start dropping bonds and looking for a place to hide, the price of these metals will soar. Are you preparing for a major U.S. market and economic meltdown?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Alt-Market Prepper's Site

Came across another preppers site previously unknown to me. I don't know, I may be the last Survivalist in the U.S. to know about it, but in case one or two of you don't, the title of the last article on the site, Americans Are Being Prepared For Full Spectrum Tyranny will take you there.

Alt-Market states that is an organization designed to help you (the prepper) find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense. I think that local, careful recruitment to a prepared lifestyle provides much more OPSEC that on-line or otherwise non-local exposure on the internet.

It's not like you should be ashamed of being prepared for anyting from natural disasters to total economic collapse, but not every Tom, Dick and Jane needs to know about it.

Back to Alt-Market,....a lead in to the last article begins:

Totalitarian governments, like persistent forms of cancer, have latched onto the long history of man, falling and then reemerging from the deep recesses of our cultural biology to wreak havoc upon one unlucky generation to the next. The assumption by most is that these unfortunate empires are the product of bureaucracies gone awry; overtaken by the chaotic maddening hunger for wealth and power, and usually manipulated by the singular ambitions of a mesmerizing dictator. For those of us in the Liberty Movement who are actually educated on the less acknowledged details of history, oligarchy and globalized centralism is much less random than this, and a far more deliberate and devious process than the general unaware public is willing to consider.

Unfortunately, the final truth is very complex, even for us… ...

So, not an endorsement, just wanted readers to know about this site.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rehearsals for Martial Law?

There is alot of talk across the internet and no doubt between people face to face about the possibility of a economic collapse and subsequent deployment of the military control or quell the projected anarchy resulting from tens ir not hundreds of millions of people rioting.

There was a story from last week about the Army, actually the Army Reserves, conducting training in residential streets and highways in St. Louis, Missouri using armored vehicles. This was certainly out of the ordinary as the Military has large facilities for treaining at urban environments and even paid role players to serve as the population.

So what scenarios could the military be training for? Is there a realism edge to be gained from working with live American citizens in real suburbs and urban areas? Or is this a rehearsal for some sort of collapse plan where the military conucts security and control operations?

This is troubling to me.  Unless we are invaded by a foreign power, the military has no role, other than a collective supporting role, in domestic issues.    

Glenn Beck has his own ideas on what the military strategy could be. Beck had a interview with retired Special Forces Lt. Gen Boykin and one of the unique considerations was Boykin saying it is worrisome "about these public trainings is the conditioning they have on the public to a military presence."

See the Interview below:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Debate on Survival Threat Groups

Since I posted the article on Racist Skinheads being a possible threat to survival in a infrastrucuture collapse, particularly a security decayed collapse environment, I have several comments posted and e-mail received debating, if in fact,  racists skinheads are anything to worry about.

My point in posting articles on street gangs, racists skinheads and other groups of fringe, radical or criminal elements as threats to our survival is simply that 1 - they are anti-socially and criminally prediposed, and 2 - are organized.

Organization is a big deal. Our survival in a post collapse world, from a inflationary/hyper- inflationary period to a full out infrastructure collapse, largely hinges on our ability to leverage teamwork. I applaud all of you lone survivors out there who plan and think you are going to "head for the hills" and live out of a Bug Out Bag, but the greatest majority of us need teams to survive.

That organization, from planning, to stockpiling, to providing security, to re-locating (Bugging Out) all accomplished by leveraging the resources and skills available from a group will make the difference.

Organization after the collapse will be much harder to do. Enter these organized threat groups. They are organized. Have chains of command and group rules. Have no reluctance to commit barbaric acts to continue their lifestyle. They probably have some useable common skills within their groups like mechanics, welding, electrical work, etc.  But their base skill is violence and lack of regard for human life.

During the precious first few days or weeks of a really giant collapse,...meaning a collapse where law enforcement and emergency forces are either over whelmed or otherwise ineffective,....these threat groups will be immmediately working to control more resources. Robberies, murders, home invasions, military armory thefts, etc., will skyrocket.

So again, yes all of these criminal groups, from common street gangs, to Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs to Racist Skinheads are threats to our survival especially those who choose to or be forced to "Bug In' in urban areas and adjacent suburban areas. The counter measures are knowing these threats, being prepared for security threats and having a survival team.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Urban Farming Supports Collapse Preparation

With unpredecented rises in food prices many people, including urban dwellers, are trying to reduce costs by growing their own food and bartering services or goods for food, and vice versa. The U.S. used to practically feed the world. Then we went from a large agricultural society to a manufacturing society now to an entitlement society, so the bits and pieces that we can see if people learning to take care of themselves, especially through these urban farming co-operatives are good news.

The simple and undeniable fact is that Long Range Survival Planning for the collapse has got to include the ability to grow your own food. 

The below is from an article titled Farmscape Brings Urban Agriculture to Los Angeles

In a dry and sunny city like Los Angeles, planting grass is one of the more useless ways to use your property. It takes a lot of water to grow and it's expensive—but beyond that, what's the point when the climate supports much more interesting flora, like succulents, and delicious ones, like fruits and vegetables?

A company called Farmscape is proving that there's enough of an appetite for farming on residential land to turn the proposition into a high-growth business. The less-than-four-year-old company has 12 full-time employees—including seven farmers who receive a living wage plus healthcare—and is looking to keep growing. So far they've installed more than 300 urban farms throughout the L.A. area and maintain 150 of them weekly. Projects range from a rooftop garden on a downtown Los Angeles highrise to small plots for families.

An exciting project in the works is a three-quarter acre-sized farm for a restaurant in the West San Fernando Valley. And the diversity of the projects is echoed by the diversity of their clients. "When we first started, we expected that our clients would be of a higher income level and would be two-parent working families," says Bailin. Instead, Farmscape has been delighted to build gardens for preschool teachers, single mothers, and institutions and businesses that want employee gardens as perks.

Bailin says the challenges of farming in Los Angeles are manifold. "You have to account for spaces that haven't had life or biodiversity for decades and then you kind of have to bring it back." The company uses raised beds to avoid contaminated soil and drip irrigation systems to provide water.

And their newest challenge? Running for office. The company has thrown its hat into the ring for the office of mayor of Los Angeles in the 2013 election, running on the platform of bringing back farms into the city. Bailin says it's an ironic way of questioning the bounds of "corporate personhood," extended to a corporation's right to free speech by the Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United in 2010. "We’re testing the limit of what it is. If corporations are already deciding our politics by giving a bunch of money and lobbying, why not see if we can take out the middleman that would be the politician and make corporations the politician?"

It's a joke, of course, and the company will presumably never make it onto the ballot, but it's a clever way to get the word out about the company while making a statement. And perhaps this corporate candidate wouldn't be so bad anyway.

A related article on Urban Gardens:

Urban agriculture is not a new idea, but it’s being resurrected in cities throughout the country (and, for that matter, the world), in part because it’s one way of fighting childhood obesity, which, along with diabetes, is a serious health concern for children of all ages. The number of urban gardens in the United States has grown dramatically in such cities as Los Angeles, Detroit, Milwaukee, and San Francisco, where local governments and residents agree that these gardens are an important way to give children and residents access to healthy food like locally grown fresh produce.

Five Innovative Urban Gardening Programs in Los Angeles with links.

Urban Farming Food Chain Project
A partnership between Green Living Technologies and Emslie Osler Architects, this organization constructs “edible” food-producing wall panels and mounts them on buildings. The people who tend these vertical gardens use them for their own purposes (meaning produce is not sold commercially), but they currently have four locations in and around downtown Los Angeles.

Silver Lake Farms
Launched in 2004, Silver Lake Farms just began a Community Supported Agriculture program offering subscribers a weekly box of fresh produce, grown locally in Silver Lake. They also hold workshops on how to start your own vegetable garden, and sponsor a volunteer program that connects urban residents with local farms, community gardens, and homesteads to help out with some of the work.

Market Makeovers
Responding to poor access to fresh fruits and vegetables in their communities, South Los Angeles’s Healthy Eating, Active Communities initiative and Public Matters have teamed up to engage young people and convert corner stores into sources of healthy foods via an online toolkit.

Urban Homestead, Pasadena
An advocacy group for self-sufficient city living via farming and homesteading, this family-owned operation was started in the mid-1980s on a one tenth of an acre backyard plot. Most of the produce is sold to local restaurants and caterers.

Urban Farming Advocates
Formed in June 2009, Urban Farming Advocates is a group of individuals, small business owners, and organizations seeking to legalize urban farming in the City of Los Angeles. Their goal is to revise outdated ordinances that restrict people's freedom to use residential land for urban agriculture.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Survival Solutions from Solutions from Science

Solutions from Science, a long time provider of robust solar power generators such as the Power Source 1800 now offers many other items for the survivalist planning on the collapse.
Survival Foods, Seeds, Solar Power Solutions, Books, DVD's, Clothing, Crisis Cookers, and other Emergency supplies are available. The book store is pretty impressive and contains all the "how to" books a prepper would need, including one I found on harvesting and saving non-hybrid seeds.
One of their most interesting books is entitled "Christian Liberty or Martial Law" which unfortunately maybe be the only choices left to us as life as we know if is rapidly disintegrating right before our eyes. Anyway, check out and book mark this site and check back from time to time.

This notion of Martial Law is not some far out, whack job theory. With close to 50 million people, about one sixth of our population on some sort of government subsistence, and that number is growing every day, it is only a matter of time until the need for subsistence out grows the Government's ability to provide that subsistence. We will most likely see food riots in huge numbers, making the Occupy Wall Street movement look like family picnics. The government's only control measure will be martial law. I hope like hell this doesn't happen, but the forecast looks good.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Motorcycles Good for SHTF?

Mikali wrote and ask my opinion on motorcycles for SHTF use: "Hello Urbanman. What do you think about off road motorcycles for during SHTF? I think they would come in handy doing all sorts of things and not just running the Bug out. We could use them for tac recons, hunting trips, etc. Just saying."

UrbanMan replies:There advantages and disadvantages to motorcycles in my opinion. The military uses motorcycles for scout platforms, to recon routes and such. Also to take communications gear to higher terrain that can’t be accessed with larger four wheel drive vehicles. Motorcycles in past conflicts have been used as messengers. In law enforcement, motorcycles allow for patrolling of remote or otherwise inaccessible areas, or to rapidly move to a subject(s) location.

These are what I think are the common disadvantages and advantages of motorcycles for use in the collapse.


· High Mobility. Motorcycles because of their narrow width and high clearance are much more mobile than four wheeled vehicles including All Terrain Vehicles.

· Economic Fuel Consumption. Motorcycles are much more fuel miserly than the common four wheel car,….with the possible exception new of the VW Diesel Jetta, which a couple people have reported 50+mph miles per gallon!

· Speed. Motorcycles are very quick both in flat out speed, but agility as well. May save you butt in egressing from a threat.


· Maintenance intensive. I hated owning motorcycles because of their intensive maintenance requirements. Maybe be easy for a motorhead, but not for me. When I had government maintenance workers maintain and repairing my bikes, I made sure to smooze them from time to time. When I used commercial mechanical support,…..well you paid through the nose. I include tires in this maintenance category as a disadvantage.  I have treid the green slime that you pump into tires to seal punctures, and that never worked very well for us.  The canned Fix-a-Flat actually worked better as it also provided air to inflat the tire. 

· Noisy. Motorcycles are noisy so they are hard to hear over. This takes away one of your best threat detectors and that is your hearing.

· Substantial Skills Required. Not everyone can ride a motorcycle. Most people can be trained, but how much time and fuel are you going to have for that.

· Can’t Fight very well from the Motorcycle when moving. You generally have to have both hands on the machine when you are moving. You may be able to operate the motorcycle for short periods of time with one hand if you can shoot a handgun or operate a radio with the left hand, as most throttles are on the right hand side of the handlebars, but when maneuvering in rough terrain this would be very tough.

In closing Mikali, I choose not to procure or maintain motorcycles for SHTF. A couple of the guy on my team have ATV’s which we may use for specialty purposes. We can more easily carry two people on an ATV with the possibility of the passenger engaging threats, at least with a handgun.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Survival Bug Out Houses for the Collapse

I have a service which searches for and forwards to me links to specific real estate articles with key words. This is one of the collapse indicators I use for planning. However imagine my surprise when I was sent a link to an article about houses built for specific extreme temperatures. One of the factors in planning your secure Bug Out location is how you are going to heat and cool your living areas after the collapse of infrastructure.

As good as some solar panels are for recharging batteries and the fact that solar panels should be in everyone's survival equipment load list, they cannot power, by themselves, conventional HVAC systems. That largely leaves housing construction design and materials to bridge the gap.  Anyway a Yahoo article you can use.

Unrelenting winter nights and endless summer days. Temperatures that can plummet to 120 below or more. Snow, ice, and rock. There are few environments on earth more hostile than the frozen Antarctic wastelands. But even with winds of up to nearly 200 mph, it’s not impossible for people to survive in the coldest place on the planet. In fact, humans are able to live in almost every world climate, driest deserts and densest jungles included—and it helps if you’ve got the right kind of shelter.

With permanent bases from countries all over the world, there are a number of approaches to building design in the harsh Antarctic region. Construction company Misawa Homes, which built most of the Antarctic facilities for the Japanese government’s Showa Station, opted for single-shell housing technology — useful when trying to keep out some of the coldest temperatures on earth. On the other end of the climate spectrum, rainforests demand a much different approach to adaptive construction. One house in the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil, is specially built to its jungle environment. The Iporanga “tree house” stands three stories tall, is partially wrapped in glass walls, and is tightly nestled into the forest, with the trees all but scraping the windows. The house, with its modest use of concrete and steel, plays chameleon by blending into the leaves which surround it. Read on for more about these and other homes built for extreme climates:

Frozen Wasteland Cocoons East Ongul Island, Antarctica Outdoors.
The thermometer reads 80 below and the winds whirl at 120 mph. Indoors, it’s toasty warm. The ultimate in form following way behind function, these Antarctic boxes are also wrapped in a “single shell,” with features to withstand the most unforgiving climactic conditions on the planet. With a design based on the company’s wooden-panel adhesion system, the polar dwellings are built to take an estimated 100 years of Antarctic punishment.

Iporanga Jungle Tree House Near São Paulo, Brazil. 
Chimps have got it figured out: if you’re going to live in a rainforest, it’s better to be perched up in the trees. Brazilian architecture company Nitsche Arquitetos Associados designed this home in the thick forest outside São Paulo in 2006. Five bedrooms on the top level of this three-story home provide both a high lookout from which to survey the surrounding jungle and privacy due to the height. But the main level is unquestionably the main attraction of the home, with a hyper-modern living room, dining room and kitchen. Structural elements, such as I-beams, are as exposed as the residents within. Though much of the home is made of steel, glass and concrete, the house never feels out of place, thanks to the way in which outside foliage plays a central role in the design scheme.

Rondolino Residence Near Scotty's Junction, Nevada. 
Nottoscale, a San Francisco-based architectural company, used its own prefab building system to put together this one-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot desert house. Situated on a 40-acre lot, the home is completely dwarfed by its surroundings and looks every bit like the prefab home (with a modern sensibility) that it is. But the home isn’t the point – the location is. “Isolation is much of the beauty of the property,” says the firm’s website. Another beautiful aspect? Its environmental efficiency. The desert dwelling is heated with a hydronic radiant system and features high-performance insulation. The home’s minimalist approach includes a simple 900-square-foot deck.

Hof House Skakafjördur Fjord, Iceland.
Located 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle, this sturdy home efficiently protects its residents from outside elements. Built on an estate that includes a church, barn and a cowshed, the home is built with natural and recycled construction materials such as cedar and concrete walls designed to visibly age according to the weather. Geothermal and solar sources heat the entirety of the home. The grass turf on the roof, which was salvaged from some of the ground on which the home was built, isn’t the only material the architects reused: stone from the old house was cut to pave ground surfaces outside the new one, and old telegraph poles were used for building windows. The home was designed by Icelandic architectural firm Studio Granda.

Aleutian Island Geothermal Bunker Atka, Alaska.

This eco-smart bunker is built to withstand the harsh Aleutian Island environment while using as much energy and water as it produces. Though the home doesn’t actually exist yet (it's still in the design phase) its ingenious design won the Living Aleutian Design Competition, which asked architects to design a home that was net-zero water and energy usage and made use of locally sourced materials. In an environment that brings frequent 100 mph winds and punishing rains, the concept home would hunker down against the elements, drawing heat from geothermal sources below, and energy from wind turbines that harness the elements. Architecture collective Taller Abierto won the contest in May, and along with it $35,000 plus the opportunity to follow up and actually build a home in Atka, Alaska.