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Showing posts with label Urban Survival Firearms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Urban Survival Firearms. Show all posts

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Urban Survival Firearms - Weapons Manual Resource

Gun manuals galore. Sent to me by a buddy who is also a member of the National Rifle Association, this is a great resource to have. It would take some work but it may be a great idea to download at least the manuals for the guns you have and maybe some common guns as well onto a thumb drive and/or make printed copies as well.

The architect of this website providing the firearms is Stephen Ricciardelli of Saint Marie, Montana. If you like the site, there is a tab to make a donation to Mr. Ricciardelli.

This is really a treasure chest of manuals. I am amazed at how complete the list is.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Survival Rifle - M4 carbine versus SKS received an Anonymous said... Do I really need an M-4 rifle? I can get an SKS for $339. I know the ammo is more expensive and much harder to obtain, but how much better off am I going to be with an M-4 than an SKS? Thanks.

UrbanMan replies: If you are asking me what weapon would be the better choice for survival and protection, I would say, hands down, the M-4 carbine especially a gas piston version rather than the gas tube version. However, I would not feel slighted in the least with an older gas tube version. In fact, I have several of those.

The reasons I would choose the M-4, or even an AR-15 variant, is that this platform is more accurate than the SKS or the gun that replaced it, the Kalashnikov (AK-47, AKM and variants). Other reasons include: The M-4 in .223 Remington has great ammunition availability; good choice of different bullet configurations from 45 grain frangible, to 55 grain FMJ and tracer, 62 grain steel core penetrator (green tip), and heavier bullets to include the 64 grain PSP, 69 grain JHP and 77 grain JHP; the M-4 uses a detachable box magazine in 20 and 30 round variations and the magazines are plentiful; and, there are wide range of accessories available for this gun.

The SKS is a great gun but not nearly as accurate as the M-4/AR-15 platforms. It’s semi-fixed box magazine allows 10 rounds and then is not as easily to reload and get back into the fight as an M-4. It is a reliable weapon with a great round, the 7.62x39mm also known as the M43 Russian round.

But to really give the best answer I can I would have to know more, such as: Is the SKS or M-4 going to be your only weapon? Are you on a small budget and procurement of the M-4 would take all your funds, not leaving any for other survival equipment or material, particularly food procurement? If the answer is yes, then it would make sense to buy an SKS and an adequate supply of ammunition, say 1,000 rounds, then use the rest of your money to stock food and buy other essential kit for surviving the coming collapse.

I think the best approach for survival on a budget is to spend what you can on immediate needs (these are food, water, shelter and protection) then make future purchases as you can, working off a prioritization list. A firearm is a big purchase. If you procure food in small increments you may not even notice it much. A bag of rice and beans here, a box of bullion there,…..oatmeal, peanut butter, honey are all pretty cheap as well.

So in case I’m confusing you, I would buy the M-4 providing you have the funds to procure in other areas. If not, the SKS may make sense if it allows you to retain money for immediate procurement of food, survival equipment and material and maybe even start buying silver bullion.

Good luck to you and prepare well.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Urban Handgun received the following question concerning Urban Firearms and handguns in particular: I am in a Survival Group of eleven people, 5 couples and one individual. We are all in white collar professions. Our group objective is to mutually support each other, either from different location if possible, or to band together at one of the group’s house. Four of us live in condos, three in apartments and two in stand alone houses. We have discussed how we can complement each other and have developed a “buy” list, limited to what each vehicle will hold.

We are concentrating on stocking food, mainly dry staples, mainly packaged dry meals and some canned goods. One of our couples does some shotgun shooting, but for the most part we don’t have any firearms. It is unrealistic to expect that each of us will buy a military rifle. We have talked about all of us buying handguns for protection, thinking that handguns for all and the couple shoguns we’ll have available should be good enough. Herein lies my questions: Should we try and standardize on one handgun? Or is it just sufficient for everyone to own a handgun regardless of being all the same. We are having a get together prior to Thanksgiving and I would like to broach this subject with the group. Thank you”.

UrbanMan’s response: It sounds like you are taking the lead to get a Survival Group organized. I commend you for that. This may become a dripping process, where you incrementally push the group towards prudent survival preparation.

I'll answer your question about standardizing your survival group’s handguns first. Yes, it would be prudent for all members of your survival group to possess the same handgun. Ammunition compatibility and the ability to interchange magazines (if it is a semi-automatic pistol as opposed to a revolver) is another advantage. The time needed to familiarize and train members on different handguns is also reduced. Having said that, the first rule of a gun fight is to have a gun. Therefore if survival group members already have a handgun, I would not think that buying new handguns to ensure standardization would not, repeat, would not be your first priority.

The second rule is not to bring a handgun to a rifle fight. You mentioned a couple survival group members having shotguns. You did not mention having any rifles. Handguns are a poor substitute for long guns and designed primarily as a secondary or defensive weapon. Shorter barrels, shorter sight radius’ and smaller cartridges at less velocity all make them ineffective at longer ranges. If you think that handguns will be sufficient because of the shorter engagement ranges of your present and planned urban survival environment then you are missing several points on long guns.

Having a long gun, meaning a rifle or carbine, shooting more powerful cartridges than a handgun allows you not only longer engagement ranges, but the ability to punch through soft cover like wooden walls, car doors, etc. Magazine fed long guns such as AR type rifles,.e.g..M16, AR15, M4, etc. provide detachable magazines with high capacities which would serve you and your survival group well if attacked by larger groups of bandits or mobs.

Long guns would also you to hunt and procure larger game animals. Maybe even the presence of a larger survival group equipped with long guns would make you appear to be a harder target and therefore may be a deterrent to being attacked. So when you say “It is unrealistic to expect that each of us will buy a military rifle”, you may want to consider at least a couple military type long guns within your group.

I hope you are “cross loading” you supplies and material, so that if one couple in your group does not make it to one of the houses if/when you re-locate and consolidate, then you won’t be missing key components of your urban survival equipment.

I also hope you are planning a Bug Out to a safe location outside of the urban environment for if/when that situation comes about and the need to leave develops. I hope I answered your question well enough. I did not list or otherwise suggest a standard handgun, as I think long guns are more important.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - M1 Garands from the Civilian Marksmanship Program

This may not be common knowledge to all people, but the Civilian Marksmanship Program still exists. And it is still possible to obtain a service rifle such as an M1 Garand and sometimes even M1 Carbines become available. At times, ammunition at great prices are available.

CMP RIFLE SALES. The federal law that established the CMP authorizes it to sell surplus military .22 rimfire and .30 cal. rifles and ammunition to qualified U. S. citizens who are members of gun clubs affiliated with the CMP. All purchasers must provide proof of having received gun safety or marksmanship training and pass an FBI NICS check. The principal rifles sold through this program have been WWII era M1 Garand rifles and WWI era M1903 rifles. The law mandates that proceeds from these sales may be used only to support the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Each year since its establishment in 1996, the CMP has produced an excess of revenues over expenses to fund its firearm safety, marksmanship training and competition programs and an endowment that will support future programs.

For information rifle sales go to:

The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is a national organization dedicated to training and educating U. S. citizens in responsible uses of firearms and airguns through gun safety training, marksmanship training and competitions. The CMP is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) corporation that places its highest priority on serving youth through gun safety and marksmanship activities that encourage personal growth and build life skills. Links on this page will lead you to more detailed information about the CMP and its programs.

STATUTORY MISSION. The federal law enacted in 1996 (Title 36 U. S. Code, 0701-40733) that created the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. (CPRPFS, the formal legal name of the CMP) mandates these key “functions for the corporation:

(1) To instruct citizens of the United States in marksmanship;
(2) To promote practice and safety in the use of firearms;
(3) To conduct competitions in the use of firearms and to award trophies, prizes, badges, and other insignia to competitors.

The law specifically states: In carrying out the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the corporation shall give priority to activities that benefit firearms safety, training, and competition for youth and that reach as many youth participants as possible.

Some of the latest news from CMP:

WINCHESTER SERVICE GRADE M1 GARAND. The CMP now has several hundred Winchester M1 Garand rifles for sale. Please visit . Item number is RM1WRAS. Price is $795 plus $22.95 S&H.

CMP SALES AT THE 2010 WESTERN CMP GAMES. The Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Match combine to offer an unprecedented nine-day series of clinics, recreation-oriented "as-issued" military rifle matches and national-class service and match rifle competitions with the best highpower rifle shooters in the country. The event will take place 16-24 October at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, Phoenix , AZ. The Official Program and on-line registration are posted at M1 Garand rifles will be available for selection and subsequent purchase. Memorabilia, new rifle barrels, gun cases, bayonets, rifle stocks, and ammunition will be available for immediate purchase.

M1 CARBINES SOLD OUT. The CMP is now sold out of M1 carbines except for the few we will still be selling on our auction program. At this time, we have no reason to expect to receive any additional quantities of carbines.

The Urban Survivor could do alot worse than an old service grade M1 Garand Rifle as his primary survival firearm.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Weapons Training Schools has received several private messages on facebook as well as e-mails regarding what we recommend in the line of firearms training centers or schools. If you are planing to survive a collapse and are going to depend upon yourself and your firearms for protection and security, then you owe it to yourself and those you want to protect to get professional training in the art and science of firearms.

I don't pretend to know all all the good shooting or weapons training schools that exist. However, after 33 years of carry a weapon, I either know the instructors, have been to the schools, have contracted them for unit training or have a close and respected friend who has.

Here are few schools that attendees won't be disappointed in. Worth of money not only for the training but to sit, learn and shoot in the company of dedicated professionals.

You don't want to wait until the SHTF then wish you invested the time and money. Anyway, I am not endorsing any particular school, again, just believe nobody would be disappointed with any of the below schools.

Renowned firearms Clint Smith runs Thunder Ranch. The mission of Thunder Ranch, Inc., Oregon is to provide distinctive personalized tutelage for individuals and small groups of civilian, corporate, law enforcement or military clients in the acquisition of individual defensive firearms and tactical skills.

Clint Smith states that: "The goal is to have the client acquire a higher level of personal skills under the direct supervision. In this venue the effort is not about promoting an institution or a teacher, it is about you, the client...are you reaching a new level of skill? This experience, this training, this skill advancement is about you the client."

Ignatius Piazza onws and operates Front Sight Resort. He say's: "He created Front Sight with one goal in mind: To be the absolute best defensive training facility for personal safety. To offer gun training, martial arts, edged weapons, contact weapons, mental awareness, defensive driving, executive protection, celebrity training, corporate team building, children and youth safety courses that more than satisfy the expectations of every student, regardless of the student's prior experience. Take one course at Front Sight Resort, whether a firearms training course, or any of our other world-class training programs, and you too will understand why students travel from across the country and return again and again for more of the Front Sight Experience."

Gunsite is a firearms school that uses sevral instructors, permanent and adjunct. Gunsite states: "Here, we teach Marksmanship -- how to hit what you aim at. However, Gunsite goes beyond this simple discipline to include the principles of Gun-handling and Mind-set. This we call the Combat Triad. We offer multiple levels of instruction in handgun, in carbine, in shotgun, in bolt action rifle and precision rifle. Each discipline is informed by the Combat Triad. Each Instructor at Gunsite is someone who has served in Law Enforcement, the military or both. Each Instructor is fully imbued with the doctrine and tradition of our school."

Covenant Special Projects is ran by Tom Buchino, a retired Special Forces Sergeant Major. CSP operates to serve domestic and international clients with customized, quality risk mitigation solutions.
Tom Buchino says: "We provide quality human solutions for a range of customer challenges in a discrete manner. CSP has the resources, the international experience and most important, the networks to operate ethically, legally, skillfully and according to the emerging demands of our customers."

"We provide high-end security services such as executive protection & special projects and security related assessments for corporate clients and high-net worth individuals as well as tactical skills instruction, at your location or at our facility the CSP - Tactical Ranch where we have ranges, classroom and field training sites."

"CSP provides governments, businesses and private clients with culturally aware, best practice, solutions in the full spectrum of security, training, assessment and risk reduction services."

"Lately, CSP-Tactical has been conducting firearms and defensive training for private clients with work or required travel in Mexico, due to the out of control violence and lack of security infrastructure there."

Competitive shooter John Shaw runs Mid-South. John Shaw says: "At Mid-South, we shoot pistol and carbine during our weeklong classes. Where else can you get all the training you need in a convenient weekly format? You can expect to shoot 2,500 rounds of pistol and 2,000 rounds of rifle. That's a lot of quality, disciplined trigger time, all in one week!"

Ron Avery runs Practical Shooting Academy. He says: "Our research shows that much of the training experienced by the average law enforcement officer, CCW gun carrier and firearms owner does little to prepare them for success when it counts. The training standards, precision, speed, mental and physical conditioning and tactical skills often don’t yield the results needed to survive the speed, surprise and violent action of the gunfight."

"Since 1989 we’ve provided firearms and tactical training to thousands of real world operators in law enforcement, military and government agency staff as well as civilians. Many have had to defend themselves in lethal force situations – sometimes against overwhelming odds. They’ve succeeded…and so can you!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - How Much Ammunition Should You Stockpile? recently received a question from an Emergency Services Professional on why did I suggested stocking 4,000 rounds of ammunition for each primary battle rifle. We're counting M-4 and AR variants as battle rifles for the purpose of Survival, as if say an M-4 is your primary gun, and that's what you are going defend you and your families lives with,...then it's a Battle Rifle as far as I am concerned. This same Emergency Services Professional stated that his primary battle rifles are AR gas pistons platforms in 6.8 caliber and wanted to know why I recommend the .223 Remington, aka 5.56mm.

Okay, fair enough questions, here's what I think:

The gas pistons AR platforms are great guns. I have shot many of them, just don't have a privately owned one, yet. Even then, it'll probably be in 5.56 caliber. No doubt the 6.8mm SPC is a much better stopper, but 5.56 ammunition is cheaper, more available, and you have a wide choice of bullet configurations for diverse needs: Full Metal Jacket (Ball); Frangible; Jacketed Hollow Point; Reduced velocity Tactical loads, and, soft nose lead bullets up to heavy bullet in a 77 grain for those longer range or precision needs.

I've had a civilian version of the CAR-15 in 5.56mm for decades, and several years ago, upgraded to a couple Rock River gas tube M-4's that function well. So part of my decision to stick to the 5.56mm is financial - I already have several, and after 33 years of using, training on and teaching the AR variants, I guess I am just used to it.

I recommend the 4,000 rds per battle rifle as a Basic Load, as after a collapse, ammunition may just not be available. A serious firefight may take up several hundreds of rounds up to a thousand. Would not like to find myself low on ammunition after one or two serious dust ups. Avoiding fights when I can, but surviving the one's that are unavoidable. Would be great to have 10,000 rounds per main gun.....I am not get there I would surmise that most people simply are not that dedicated to Survival Preparation, nor financially able if they wanted to or have the financial will power to spend money on and stock these amounts.

Note: A Cursory search of 5.56x45mm ammunition prices show that 1,000 rounds of 55 grain FMJ (M193) to be around $460; while 1,000 rounds of 62 grain SS109 steel core penetrator (M855) to cost around $500.

Plus you should account for ammunition needed for training. If you bring in new people to your survival group, making them proficient or at least usable on your main rifles would be a good idea.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Survival Firearms Battery Comments received a question on handguns and rifles to outfit a Urban Survival Group. “I have been preparing to survive a collapse for a few years now. Been buying dehydrated and other food, stocking rice, beans, pasta and such. I have a location that my family and I can bug out to with I am forced to leave my house. This location has year round water and a liveable house about 6 miles away from the nearest State or County road. My question is on guns suitable for Survival. I have several 12 gauge hunting shotguns, a .30-06 bolt action rifle, a .243 bolt action rifle, an M1 Garand, a .22 LR semi-automatic handgun and a .44 magnum revolver of all things. My son can handle all these guns, but everything except the .22 LR handgun are too much for my wife and two younger daughters. I am thinking about buying some additional .22 LR handguns so at least the girls can be armed. What do you think?”

UrbanMan replies: I think you got the right idea on being able to arm everyone. You never know when your family (Survival Group) can be separated. However, being armed with only a .22 LR handgun is just a step above a pitchfork, unless the user is very skilled and has plenty of ammunition, then a .22 LR pistol is just above a Samurai Sword. Okay, come on, a little humor appreciation is requested here.

Handguns are defensive weapons and marginal for protection,……being the choice when a rifle or shotgun is unavailable. You didn’t mention the ages of your daughters, but I’ll just bet if they are old enough to consider arming with a .22 LR handgun, then they are old enough to be trained to handle and shoot something in a better caliber. Handgun caliber carbines would be very easy to handle in 9x19mm or .40 S&W. Although I would have a hard time carrying a long gun in a pistol caliber when carbine and rifle calibers are available in the same size. I would consider a rifle/carbine in .223 Remington such as an AR platform (AR-15, M-4 variant or Ruger Mini-14),….even an M-1 carbine would be a step up.

I know a man in Northern Arizona , who Survival Firearms Battery consists of Mini-14’s for him and his son, and M-1 carbine for his wife and one teen-age daughter, plus 9x19mm handguns for all and a couple 12 gauge shotguns. This guy is well north of the Interstate Highway and very rarely sees undocumented (illegal) aliens.

If AR’s, Mini-14’s or M-1 carbines don’t work for you, because of cost or whatever, and you want to stick to the .22 LR caliber, then I consider arming my females with both handguns and rifles.

You may be able to borrow several different types of guns for your girls to shoot,..lever actions; magazine fed center fire pistol caliber carbines; .38 Special /.357 Magnum revolvers, and others. The females have go to be able to operate the gun and be comfortable with it, so this try before you buy concept have pay off for you.

Good luck to you. With your current Survival Firearms Battery you are off to a good start and better armed than a lot of people. I think you are on the right track wanting to arm everyone in your small family (Survival Group), just consider the reliability for the guns you choose both in function and capability to stop a bad guy; consider training a very necessary step for all your family members.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Lever Guns better than AR's? received this comment from Outlander777....."I agree with most of all said here except I would point novice weapons owners to another system then an AR. It is not the end all system and does require more then a basis knowledge to opperate at max performance levels. Lever actions like the BLR 81 have magazines, Marlin lever actions carry 8 to 10 rounds. It is important not to go out as an aggressor force. Avoid all fights as much as possible, there wont be a lot of medical to be had in the TEOTWAWKI world."

UrbanMan replies: I agree with the concept of novices having simple firearms to operate. Any firearms needs, of course, to be reliable as well. However, I think I would train a novice to operate an M-4 variant as easily as I could a lever gun. I used both all my life and carried guns for a living the past 33 years. I would love to be able to carry a big bore lever gun - just like the style - but in a collapse the advantages of weapons that do not have to be re-loaded so often, and has less felt recoil is a good thing. Box magazines lever guns are an easier gun to reload than the traditional side loading, tubular magazine lever guns, and if I relied on a magazine fed, lever gun, I would have a dozen or more spare magazines for it.

The Mini-14 is a really good little .223, just with a bad rap due to it's mediocre sights. Replace the sights and you have a very reliable magazine fed gun, easily to learn and shoot. The M-1 carbine is the same albeit with a much more anemic round at a 110 grain round nose metal case bullet going a nominal 1,800 feet per second. Although I have one of those also. It's a back up gun and intended to be issued to any new people in my survival group that are firearms novices or otherwise incapable of handling larger firearms.

I agree with the concept of not being an aggressor until you have to be. Sometimes it would be necessary to take a fight to someone or some group as opposed to having the fight at your home or Survival site. In any event, have the fight on your terms and those terms should be favorable to you, whether you are fighting from prepared defensive positions at your home or Survival Site, or initiating an ambush on a mob obviously heading towards your home and therefore your family.

I also agree that the probability of no medical care in a TEOTWAWKI world, hence ever scrap, scratch and cut gets maximum treatment. I have seen small mesquite needle puncturesgo without treatment and create bad infections in hands and arms.

Outlander 777 thanks for the input and back and sound like you know your guns - the BLR 81 is an excellent rifle. Be safe.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Is the 6.8mm SPC a good Survival Collapse Cartridge received the following question regarding Urban Survival Firearms and choices of caliber. "Me and another Survival prepper are deciding on what gun we are going to get. I’m thinking that an M-16 type rifle in the 6.8mm cartridge would give us both firepower and stopping power. What do you think?"

Urbanman replies: The 6.8 SPC (6.8 x 43mm) due to it’s overall length and relative low chamber pressure made the M16 or AR platform adaptable to this cartridge. Although the bullet diameter is smaller, I tend to think of this cartridge like a the M43 AK round (7.62x39mm).

It is a good stopper and was developed and pushed by elements of the Army Special Forces community to replace the 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington) as small groups of Special Operators would find themselves in a "target rich environment" and the 5.56 was failing to put people down for the count. This was largely due to the SS109 bullet - steel core penetrator, which had too much penetration and did not leave all of it's energy in soft skinned targets.

The 5.56x45mm standard military round in the 62 grain SS109 configuration has a muzzle velocity of approximatley 2,700 fps depending upon barrel lengnth. The 6.8x43mm SPC round with a 115 grain bullet travels at 2,800 fps. More diameter and weight, and more velocity, give the 6.8mm SPC the edge of which round is a better stopper.

I would not begrudge anyone going to the 6.8mm round in an AR platform. The considerations would be ammunition availability and price - certainly much, much cost involved than stocking the abundant .223 Remington. The cost difference between equal amounts of rounds has to have the 6.8mm SPC costing twice as much if not more. Are you going to be to stock 4,000 rounds per gun? That's my base figure for ammunition on hand for each main long gun. I'll stick to my AR platforms and the 5.56x45mm round.

The bottom line, as I am reminded by readers all too often, is to have a long gun for these lawless survival environments; be able to use it well; and have sufficient ammunition for it. Sounds like good advice to me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Reader Question on SKS received the following reader question: …… "Anonymous said…..…What’s your opinion on an SKS rifle for a survival weapon? Two of my friends in our loose knit survival group are pushing me to buy an AR type rifle, but I feel comfortable with my SKS."

UrbanMan replies: The SKS (Samozaryadniy Karabin Simonova) is a great little carbine, firing the Russian M43 round, more commonly known as the 7.62x39mm. It was put into service in the Russian Army on or about 1945 then quickly phased out of front line service with the fielding of the AK-47 (Automat Kalashnikov Model of 1947) which fired the same cartridge, although out of a 30 round magazine rather than a 10 round semi fixed box magazine like the SKS. But, of course you already know this. As well as know how durable and reliable this rifle is.

The 7.62x39mm is a much better stopper than the 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington) given the small bullet type. The M-4 is more accurate than the SKS (or the AK series rifles), but there is not reason you shouldn't be able to hit static man sized targets routinely at 300 yards with the SKS.

The standard military load for the 7.62x39mm is a 122 grain FMJ bullet with a muzzle velocity about 2,400 fps. Ammunition is easily available and fairly cheap too. I routinely see 1,000 round cases of Wolf brand, non-corrosive ammunition for around $200.

The SKS is kinda slow to load, compared to removable box magazines like the AK-47 or the M-4/M-16, but there are modification kits and detachable magazines available. They are kind of unwieldy due to the floor plate type extension on the front lip of the magazine, but none the less are quicker to reload and give the shooter 300 rounds between reloads. I wish I never let my SKS go, of those gun trades you wish you had back, but I have commercial versions of the AKM now.

Being part of a Urban Survival Group equipped basically the same is a great goal but needs to be carefully thought out. I would not advise any of the people in my Survival Group to “upgrade” to an M-4 for sake of uniformity and ammunition compatibility if they haven’t squared themselves away with other necessary Survival Equipment, Gear and Material, such as food as basic gear. I would think that some people are missing the boat to exclude otherwise excellent assets from joining their Survival Group because of the single reason of not having the same gun. Hopefully your group is not this way. If they were, they it may be fortunate that if you can’t join them, as their decision making skills are probably a little bent. What's next? Wanting everyone to wear a yellow ascot?

The bottom line is that everyone needs a rifle.....magazine fed even better and in a decent caliber. I prefer the M-4. That is main Survival Gun and most, if not all, people in my Urban Survival Group own at least one, but I would not feel in-adequately equipped with an SKS and the skill to use it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - M-4/M-16/AR-15 Magazines

UrbanMan received an e-mail asking about the differences between and my recommendations on AR magazines.

I only use three different types of AR magazines: P-MAGS, H and K Mags and the standard aluminum AR magazines manufactured by Colt.

Although I have many more aluminum Colt magazines than any others combined, these are primarily my training magazines, although some of stacked in M-4 ready cans with ammunition. This magazine can be usually purchased for less than $15; is usually reliable; but after all is aluminum and subject to more easily applied damage than the P-MAG or the Hecklar and Koch mags. When I have determined that one of these aluminum magazines are causing malfunctions, I stomp on the feed lip and follower end so it is smashed then trash it. I have enough messed up mags already for training purposes (inducing stoppages, etc.) but those are marked with red painted floor plates.

The H and K mags used to be all the rage a few years ago. We had feeding problems with the first edition and now the one's being issued/sold with the black follower have eliminated those early problems. This is a robust magazine as it better be since it is made out of steel and is much heavier than the aluminum magazines. Image that? These are slick magazines as well, "scrunch, scrunch, scrunch" of the old aluminum mags, nor follower wobble. Very good magazines, but around $40 a copy, these are expensive as well.

By and large my favorite, and what I recommend are the P-MAG's made by Mag-Pul. At around $15 a copy these are affordable. Made from extremely durable advanced impact resistant polymer, these magazines can take a beating. They are available in various colors: Black, OD green, Flat Dark Earth and Foliage. Hell, I just get mine in OD Green. I guess if you are from San Francisco you can paint them Chartrusse or Teal Blue. These mags come with a pop-off impact cover for storage, and an easy to dis-assemble design (using the pop-off impact cover), and, with a flared floor plate for just a little better magazine extraction from pouches. I have not completed changing out all my M-4 mags for P-MAGS, but I have several dozen and all work well. I have never had a feeding problem with one yet. Now I just jinxed myself.

I run into people from time to time that talk about this "new" 100 round dual drum magazine for the AR. I can't remember the first time I saw the BETA C-MAG,.... could have been as early as 1989, but I know we bought six C-MAGS in 1999 for a test for consideration to be included in our kit. Well, we did not buy any more. They have feed problems, noisy with loose ammunition rattling around, and, easily broken plastic feed lips. I understand there is a new production of these, but we see this as a solution to a non existent problem, and will not buy/test the new ones. I'd say, at $275 or so a copy, buy them at your own risk.

Brownell's is where I get most of my M-4 accessories including magazines, you can pay them a visit by clicking here. Magazines will be the fourth tab from the left.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Reader Question on M-4/M-16 Ammunition received the following comment on the post Urban Survival Firearms - M4-M16 Tactical Lights: ….. “Anonymous said,…… Excellent post on Weapons lights. Thank you. Do you have some suggestions or recommendations on what type of ammunition I should stock for my Bushmaster M-4 carbine? What about the off brand stuff?”

UrbanMan replies: The bad thing about the .223 Remington round or the 5.56x45mm NATO round, which are not identical but virtually interchangeable, is the lack of stopping power when compared to other previous military calibers such as the .30-06 Springfield and the .308 Winchester (7.62c51mm NATO).

The great thing about the .223 Remington round, or the 5.56x45mm NATO round, is the lesser produced recoil and the lighter weight of the ammunition allowing you to carry more. Not to mention much cheaper when purchased over the counter or by mail order.

The really great thing about the .223 Remington round or the 5.56x45mm NATO round is the availability of that cartridge in various bullet weights and configurations to fine tune the applicability to your needs.

The baseline bullet is the 55 grain Full Metal Jacketed bullet loaded into the standard M193 (military designation), most of us just call it the 55 grain FMJ. Probably the cheapest round and also probably your all around cartridge. This bullet will penetrate ¼ inch mild steel.

The newer military cartridge is the 62 grain FMJ, which as a steel core, surrounded by lead then the copper jacket, called the SS109 by NATO or the M855 by the US Military. This cartridge is marked with a green tip. Sometimes it is called the 62 grain steel core penetrator. This is a good load to keep on hand because it penetrates better through harder substances, like shooting through car fenders or front ends to interdict the engine block.

A lot of agencies use a 64 grain lead tip round, sometimes called a PSP or Power Soft Point. This is a common hunting round for a .223 platform.

I don’t like a lead tip, in high heat the lead sloughs going into the chamber and adds to the dirt and function problems, especially with a non-piston gun.

The military snipers and law enforcement precision marksmen, when using a .223 platform, sometimes use the 77 grain Black Hills round. Probably my third choice in a .223 round.

There are many other bullet weights and configurations available including a Frangible round, with a bullet made from compressed metal that disintegrates upon impact but will penetrate bodies. This round is used for close in training on steel targets or operationally on steel structures like ships and oil platforms.

Surplus military red tip, or Tracer rounds, are normally used to mark positions (so your buddies know what you are shooting at). Tracers mark both ways however, letting the bad guys see where you are shooting from. A lot of boys will load 3 to 5 rounds of tracer in their magazines first, so when they see tracer coming out the barrel, they know they need to re-load.

I think you would be well outfitted with the standard 55 grain FMJ and maybe some 62 grain steel core FMJ. Standard American brands such as Remington, Federal or American Eagle, Winchester , etc.,…..maybe even PMC (which is actually South Korean I think) are your best bet. Commercial and Surplus military ammunition are available through places like Cheaper than Dirt – which is my favorite supplier. You should remember that your zero is going to change as you change from bullet configuration. It wouldn’t hurt to try different brands and see what shoots the best in your gun and, very important, what functions the best.

I have no experience with the off the wall brands, marketed under American or English names, such as Grizzly Bear, etc., that originate from the former Warsaw Pact countries. I’ve seen the big price differences and associate that with a performance and reliability difference as well. I could be wrong, but I stick with American manufacturers. I have used Wolf brand ammunition in AKM’s and other weapons chambered for the 7.62x39mm round and have experienced good results and good reliability. However, have not shot any Wolf brand .223 in my M-4’s.

Hope this helps. Stay safe and stay prepping. UrbanMan.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Sniper Rifle Necessity?

UrbanMan was asked a question about the necessity or priorities of having a "sniper" rifle as part of a Survival Battery.

I think you have to consider alot of factors first:
1. What are your other firearms in your Survival Battery?
2. Are to going to be soley operating and surviving in an Urban environment? What are you expected engagement ranges?
3. What is your experience level with firearms and especially scoped firearms?

If I did not have a Battle Rifle (e.g..M1A1, FAL, etc.) or Assault Rifle/Carbine (e.g..M-4 or variant), or any other magazine fed rifle/carbine, then I would consider the procurement of one of these rifles a priority before I purchased a scoped rifle suitable for sniping/hunting. In fact, especially in an Urban environment I would consider a battle/assault rifle or carbine, a 12 gauge shotgun and a magazine fed handgun to be a higher priority than a scoped rifle.

Not just because of the lack of longer engagement ranges, but due to the fact that the density of potential threats are much greater in an urban environment.

In my mind there are three advantages to owning a scoped rifle in a decent caliber, minimum of which would be .308 Winchester. These advantages are:
1. If you were decently proficient with the scope rifle (sniper rifle) you could expect to engage threats in the 600 to 800 meter range. But the question of how will you know they are a threat at this distance?
2. The scope, would give you an observation tool on your firearms as opposing to slinging your firearms and going to your binoculars.
3. A scope rifle is a definite advantage if you hunt game bigger than rabbits.

I have a Remington Light Tactical Rifle (LTR) with a 20 inch barrel and a Luepold 4.5x14mm scope, which lets me, on a calm day, rountinely ping the small LaRue steel targets at 600 meters. That's, of course, at the range. At home, from any window or potential fighting position in my suburban home, the farthest distance I can observe or the longest range I could engage at would be about 125 meters. Making that too easy of a shot with a M-4, scope or not.

When engaging at, say 500 meters and farther, there is a distinct advantage with a heavier caliber. If your Safe Location (Bug Out location) is a farmhouse or cabin with a 500 meter or more cleared field of fire, then it would seem a rifle calibered (as opposed to carbine caliber) scoped rifle would be a good tool to have on hand.

If you not accustomed to scoped rifles, either as a school trained military or law enforcement sniper, or have a butt load of hunting experience, then there is alot to learn about using scopes and engaging at long ranges, such as estimating range, reading winds, making scope adjustments, computing ballistics, hold off and hold over are examples. It's not as simple as placing the cross hairs on a target and pressing the trigger.

I am looking into a .338 Lapua calibered platform, but continually go back and forth between needs and wants. Everyone reading this know what that means. It would be a tool that would be very useful at my primary Bug Out location (Safe Location), but just an extra piece of equipment at my suburban home. Maybe just an expense that would be better spent on more food.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Reader Question on Other Handgun Lights 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.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Tactical Handgun Lights 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, 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.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Back Up Iron Sights 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.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Is this Survival Firearms Battery Good Enough? 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, click here to see what they have available, or you can enter it at the bottom on this site.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Tactical Innovation AM15

For the Urban Survivalist who thinks he has his Survival Firearms battery complete.
Tactical Innovations of Bonners Ferry, Idaho (, is manufacturing what they call the AM15 full auto Upper Receiver which allows you to shoot unmodified .22LR American 180 drums, in either 165 round, 220 round or 275 round capacity on your M16 host receiver. This conversion will not work on semi-automatic AR's, only full auto capable M-16/M-4 lower receivers.

The full auto AM15 upper receiver conversion is a BATF APPROVED open bolt drum fed .22LR rimfire caliber conversion that ejects through the AR mag well. It uses Colt Light Machine Gun style open bolt fire control parts, which are included with the AM15 conversion. The AM15 conversion will only work on registered receiver sear drilled M16 lowers. It WILL NOT work with drop-in auto sears or with lightning links.

While the .22 LR is not a serious defensive round, image the ability to, cheaply, saturate an area with suppressive fire. Check out the video out below.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Responding to Reader Comment - Firearms

Thanks to the Anonymous Reader, a former PSYOPS soldier, who sent a comment regarding his recommendation of the Mini-14 as a good Urban Survival - self defense weapon. You had to have served at Fort Bragg. I know Fort Bragg well and thank you for your service to the Army Special Operations Community.

I concur that the Ruger Mini-14 is an excellent firearms. Very reliable. I have always thought of it as like a reduced scale M-14 or M1A1. The sights are kind of rudementary, but there are after market iron sights and scopes that can reduce this shortcoming. Plus, the magazines are not nearly as readily available as the AR-15 series. However, if all I had was an Mini-14, I would not feel under armed. It's the man using it and you make sense when you mention you do not plan to get involved in any protracted firefights, only to use the weapon to get you out of trouble and break contact.

I wish I still had the three Mini-14's that I have owned over my life, but I have since settled on the AR-15 design in an M-4 platform for my main carry Urban Survival weapon. Using and teaching this weapon for 30+ years makes me familiar with it. Plus there are lots of accessories, some necessary - some not, on the market.

The baseline model of Mini-14 is still around $500 to $600, whereas a baseline model AR-15/M-4 runs about $900. believes that in any successful Urban Survival plan, the key is going to be your survival group. You simply cannot survival well, without at least a small team of like minded, skilled survival oriented individuals. Commonality among weapons is a good idea if it can be achieved.

Good luck to you and thanks for your comment. Urban Man.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Urban Survival Rifle - M6 Aircrew Survival Rifle

To answer the comment/question from Bob Halker on our AR-7 post of 24 Feb 2010, we feel there are many good choices for a pure Survival rifle, meaning a rifle that’s primary purpose is to procure game. The term “Survival Rifle” conjures up the image of a small, lightweight, small caliber, rifle that is stow away in the back pack, or behind the seat of a vehicle or aircraft. To get a rifle that will disassemble and stow away, perhaps even float, you are going to give up something, usually accuracy, quality machining and maybe even reliability.

If we had unlimited funds and were going to purchase a .22 LR rifle for small game procurement and secondarily for training a new shooter, we would not choose the AR-7 rifle even though it is now made by reputable Henry Rifles. Something in the line a semi-automatic, maybe the excellent Ruger 10/22 with a decent scope would be good choice.

The post we wrote on the AR-7 was because the AR-7 was meant to be a take down, stow away rifle, capable of floating on water and is intended to be carried as soley as a survival rifle for small game animals.

The M6 Aircrew Survival Rifle, originally chambered in .22 Hornet, and now .22 LR and .410 shotshell is a decent little fold away survival rifle and possibly better suited as pure survival firearm due to it’s .410 shotshell capability and therefore capability on scoring small birds for supper. It is a single shot for each bore, stores extra rounds in the hinge top butt stock, and has a terrible bar type trigger.

Between these rifles,…..six of one, half dozen of the other,…. Really. The advantages of the AR-7 is a semi-automatic action and box magazine, albeit only 8 rounds. Folds up, actually disassembles into a smaller package, but not nearly as fast as to get into action.

The AR-7 is now available on the market. We priced one at Wal-Mart for $188. The M6 Aircrew Survival Rifle is no longer manufactured and will set you back around $400 on the used market.

As we take people new to the concept of preparing for Urban Survival, life after the infrastructure collapse, TEOTWAWKI or whatever you have to categorize or name it, we do not want them to get the idea that it's an all of nothing effort. Each person reading this site has different motives, financial means and motivators.

Our intent is to address Urban Survival Planning for the new person and from the ground up aspect and not immediately delve into buying the latest customized .45 ACP handgun and tricked out M4. We carry these for a living. Most people do not. We'll have time in the future to address for advanced Urban Survival concepts,.......we will have that time, won't we?