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Showing posts with label Reader question on Gold - Silver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reader question on Gold - Silver. Show all posts

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Reader Question on Body Armor for Survival received the following e-mail request: ”Hey urban man. just thought I'd drop you another line. I was wondering if Kevlar vests would be a practical piece of your survival kit. I seem to be one of the few in my circle to think so, I made the argument it weighs close to nothing and will quite literally save your life on multiple occasions, but nobody thought it was worth spending the extra money on it. I’ve done a little research on it and come to find out a plain old kevlar vest that stops up to a high velocity 5.56 FMJ bullet is only around 350$-650$, so I guess is do you think its worth it? Get back to me man and stay prepared.”

UrbanMan replies:Before I answer that lets review the levels of body armor under the National Institute of Justice Ratings for Body Armor,.....NIJ Standard 0101.03, 0101.04:

NIJ LEVEL I: This armor protects against .22 caliber Long Rifle Lead Round Nose (LR LRN) bullets with nominal masses of 40 gr impacting at a minimum velocity of 1050 fps or less and 380 ACP Full Metal Jacketed Round Nose (FMJ RN) bullets with nominal masses of 95 gr impacting at a minimum velocity of 1025 fps or less.

NIJ LEVEL IIA: Lower Velocity 9mm, .40 S&W. This armor protects against 9mm Full Metal Jacketed Round Nose (FMJ RN) bullets with nominal masses of 124 gr impacting at a minimum velocity of 1090 fps or less and .40 S&W caliber Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) bullets with nominal masses of 180 gr impacting at a minimum velocity of 1025 fps or less. It also provides protection against Level I threats. Level IIA body armor is well suited for full-time use by police departments, particularly those seeking protection for their officers from lower velocity .40 S&W and 9mm ammunition.

NIJ LEVEL II: Higher Velocity 9mm, .357 Magnum. This armor protects against .357 Magnum jacketed soft-point bullets with nominal masses of 158 gr. impacting at a velocity of 1,395 fps or less and against 9mm full-jacketed bullets with nominal velocities of 1,175 ft/s. It also protects against most other factory loads in caliber .357 Magnum and 9mm as well as the Level I and IIA threats. Level II body armor is heavier and more bulky than either Level’s I or IIA. It is worn full time by officers seeking protection against higher velocity .357 Magnum and 9mm ammunition.

NIJ LEVEL IIIA: .44 Magnum; Submachine Gun 9mm. This armor protects against .44 Magnum, Semi Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP) bullets with nominal masses of 240 gr. impacting at a velocity of 1,400 fps or less and against 9mm full-metal jacketed bullets with nominal masses of 124 gr. impacting at a velocity of 1,400 ft/s or less. It also provides protection against most handgun threats as well as the Level I, IIA, and II threats. Level IIIA body armor provides the highest level of protection currently available from concealable body armor and is generally suitable for routine wear in many situations. However, departments located in hot, humid climates may need to evaluate the use of Level IIIA armor carefully.

NIJ LEVEL III: High-powered rifle. This armor, normally plates of hard or semi-rigid construction (steel, composite armor, ceramic), protects against 7.62mm full-metal jacketed bullets (US military designation M80) with nominal masses of 150 gr. impacting at a velocity of 2,750 ft/s or less. It also provides protection against threats such as .223 Remington (5.56mm FMJ), 30 Carbine FMJ, and 12-gauge rifled slug, as well as Level I through IIIA threats. Level III body armor is clearly intended only for tactical situations when the threat warrants such protection, such as barricade confrontations involving sporting rifles.

NIJ LEVEL IV: Armor-piercing rifle. This armor protects against .30–06 caliber armor-piercing bullets ( US military designation APM2) with nominal masses of 166 gr. impacting at a velocity of 2,850 ft/s or less. It also provides at least single-hit protection against the Level I through III threats. Level IV body armor provides the highest level of protection currently available. Because this armor is intended to resist “armor piercing” bullets, it often uses ceramic materials. Such materials are brittle in nature and may provide only single-shot protection since the ceramic tends to break up when struck. As with Level III armor, Level IV armor is clearly intended only for tactical situations when the threat warrants such protection.

You can see that to protect against 5.56 (.223 Remington) you’ll need Threat Level III protection. Very few companies offering Level III armor under $650. You need to check your state laws. A lot of disinformation out there on whether or not body armor is legal to own. Best to get your local and state laws. Another issue is many that companies will not sell armor to people without a law enforcement nexus or certification,...... and possibly require a supervisors approval on agency letterhead, although Level IIIA (one step lower than Level III and will not stop 5.56mm) is commonly available but starting around $400.

A lot of personnel are wearing Level IIIA armor with Level III plates in an insert over the chest and in the back. There has been a lot of technological improvement in body armor from steel plates, to composite plates to ceramic plates. In the old days, we used to cut steel and use that as surrogate armor for our vehicles, even then 5.56mm ball and tracer would penetrate one-quarter inch mild steel. When we used a harder steel, such as T1 or T520, 5.56mm ball and tracer were defeated, but not 5.56mm SS109 steel core penetrator, whic punched right through unless you went to a thicker and much heavier chunk of steel. We used to buy pepper popper targets and IPSC sized steel target as they fit behind our seats for rear protection from small arms fire coming from our six.

It's probably more common for personnel to wear Level IIIA or even the lower rated Level II, under their shirts, then wear a plate carrier Molle platform to carry plates and gear pouches. It will be hard to buy plates. They are expensive. An enterprising individual could make his own plates, buying the appropriate hardness steel plates then having them cut to size to fit the plate carrier pocket. You could even coat them liquid rubber coating which hardens to a rubberized surface for easier handling. These field expedient plates are necessrily going to be heavy.

Body armor has an expiration to it, usually 5 years if stored correctly. After that it is de-certified, therefore hard to get second hand as nobody wants the liability. I think if you store it correctly (flat and in a humidity controlled environment) that it can be viable years after,..hell I’m counting on it.

To answer your question, yes, body armor is essential item of kit. Just usually outside the procurement capability of most people. I particulary like wearing II or IIIA soft body armor ovr my t-shirt and under my work shirt, then adding a molle plate carrier.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Urban Survival - Reader Question on Viability of Defending Your Home 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 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 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, 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, 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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Urban Survival Answers Reader Question on Gold and Silver received the following comment: "Anonymous said...roger dodger on the coming economic crisis. What do you say about those people that council against buying gold and silver. I would hate to take money out of my 401K to buy gold and silver and have to store it and watch over it if I didn't use it. bye, Mitchell K., Denver, CO."

Mitchell, I cannot give you financial or investment advice. I will tell you that there are many trains of thought out there on Survival Financial Planning.

Over the last couple of days I reviewed several Financial and Survival sites, again many different opinions, however most of them, as I do, recommend having some Gold and Silver.

Many sites, both Financial and Survival, advocate buying Gold. Not the paper Gold where you own shares and can redeem when necessary (if that is possible at the time you need to!), but Gold Bullion in coins one ounce and less. However, Gold is problematic as it is hard to break one ounce rounds into smaller pieces for smaller exchanges. Silver would seem to be not only an easier buy but much more usable in a Survival commerce - barter type environment. In fact Silver rounds are now available that are cross scored in order to break them into 1/4 ounce triangle pieces - this is a good idea.

Many Survival blogs comment about Gold and Silver, also called precious metals or PM's. I suggest you read them all. Probably most think that "you can't eat Gold or Silver", meaning that both tangible food sources may be a better investment, and, there will probably be a period of time after a collapse where PM's won't be accepted (pure barter environment). I agree to the point that there will most likely be distinct periods of time after a collapse or even during a slow gradual collapse where barter items will be a easier mode of commerce.

Others think that due to the price of Gold and Silver, it is too late to start procuring Gold and/or Silver. I disagree. It is only too late when you can't get it.

If you look at the Economic collapse videos I have linked at the top left of this site, you'll see the main actor in the video unable to buy fuel. Fuel will be very important to have, especially to execute a Bug Out plan to your Safe Location. You do have a Bug Out plan don't you? If a collapse hits suddenly and debit/credit cards are not working or not accepted, you'll need to be able to buy fuel. That means cash (in the immediate aftermath of a collapse) and PM's shortly after.

So Mitchell,....I suggest you do have Gold and/or Silver, particularly Silver, probably both bullion (in one ounce rounds) and Silver coins for the Silver Melt value in your Survival Plan. I can't tell you to cash in any or all of your investments, in fact that may not be necessary if you purchase just a little Silver a month, such as a few one ounce rounds, or some silver coins. But I would surely have some on hand. Be Safe.