Friday, March 28, 2014


This article is about every day carry, one of the most underestimated aspects of survival. Every day carry or EDC is exactly what it sounds like, what items are on your person at all times. If you had to survive 1 night under a bridge for example and could not get to either a bug out bag or a get home bag, would the items in your pockets provide you with at least one night of survival? I'm guilty of often not carrying enough of an EDC "kit" as will be discussed further down in the article. 

      For me, I start everyday with a little routine. I check my equipment before walking out the door. I check how much ink is in my pen, how sharp my knife blade is, the fuel level in my lighter, the screw tightness on my holster, how much cash is in my wallet, and the batteries on my pocket flashlight. I started having some sort of an EDC back in about 9th grade, it was something I picked up from a friend who's father was a Navy SEAL. I discovered that being prepared at all times with minimal equipment is the only acceptable way to go. Obviously, if I could get away with carrying a complete bug out bag on my back at all times I probably would, but in this society people seem to frown on a guy with a full military pack on just strolling down the street like nothing is going on. But that simply isn't the case. So I resort to what I have in my pockets at all times. Let's get to the list and descriptions:
I always have carried a lighter in my pocket. Lighters are one of the 3 items I personally believe are absolutely essential to have on you at all times. Although they don't have as many uses as my other 2 essential items, they serve one purpose and they do it well. That being said, I choose BIC lighters for their dependability and availability. I shouldn't have to go much further on lighters, this should be pretty self explanatory. 
This is item number 2 on my absolutely essential EDC items list. It is a folding pocket knife. Mine happens to be a Benchmade Griptillian Axis 4 inch knife that I picked up for about $120 I believe. I have not walked out the front door of my house 1 time in the last 4 years without this knife in my pocket. It is like a best friend to me. I sharpen the blade once a week and I can't honestly remember the last day I did not use it for something at all. This thing almost spends more time in my hand working than hanging from my pocket. The uses are endless, although some of them obvious others are not. If you know the exact measurement of your knife, end to end, you can even use it as a measuring device. This particular knife has a flat enough blade at the end to use as a flathead screwdriver. The G10 handle hasn't cracked when used numerous times as a small hammer. And I've even used it as a throwing knife with success. I chose a black handled knife to eliminate shine as I don't like people really knowing I have a knife on me at all times. You can obviously use whatever color you want but my personal preference is black. 
This is item number 3 on this essential EDC list. Not VOSS water specifically, just water. However, there is a method to my madness here. I buy one of these VOSS water bottles, drink it, and refill it numerous times. These bottles are great for a lot of reasons. I like the mouth of these bottles because they are very wide, thus making refilling the bottle much easier than other disposable water bottles on the market. Also I've found that their cap still fits very nice with a piece of 550 cord wrapped around the neck of the bottle, in case you wanted to make some sort of lanyard for it to hang from a belt or backpack. I used to use NALGENE style bottles and still have them, but if I lose one of those $20 bottles I would be upset. If I lose this bottle, I would go get another one for $2. Again, water has it's obvious hydration values, but think outside the bottle on this one. Infections from cuts in survival could be deadly if not treated properly, washing them out is the first step to properly caring for a cut. Use whatever bottles you prefer but keep them full and close. 
Although not as important as the first 3, my CASIO G-SHOCK 3263 never leaves my wrist. With 3 time zones, a stopwatch, a countdown timer, a back light for night viewing, full calendar, and an alarm, this watch is perfect for EDC. Like my Benchmade, this watch is in a flat black, non glare finish. Although it's not the most professional watch for all of you businessmen and women, it is a great option for EDC under $200. One thing I really like is how comfortable it is. It weighs practically nothing and has a very wide band. I've had this for about 4 years also and wouldn't take anything else. To be honest, I read the book American Sniper by Chris Kyle (RIP) and he mentioned in the book that it was his choice as a Navy SEAL sniper when he was overseas to wear a G-SHOCK. I figured if one of the elite warriors in American history trusts them, I will. And I'm glad I made this choice.
This is one of the items I should wear more often but I don't. I try to remember to put one of my 550 paracord bracelets on for the 15-20 feet of cordage. Make sure you use the real 7 strand paracord. The uses for rope in general are endless, but the uses for this particular style of rope are even more than that of a standard woven rope or twine. Take for instance the fact that I have tied up 550 paracord to a tree and swung from it with comfort. I'm about 185lbs and the paracord has a 220 pound rating. The maximum capacity if this cordage is supposed to be 550 pounds, hence the name. The accuracy of that claim lies solely in who you believe. I would check online videos and your own personal tests before trusting your life to paracord. This bracelet in particular is a "quick deploy" bracelet that I learned how to tie from a YouTube video. It goes from a rather stylish bracelet to 18 feet of cord in about 10 seconds when properly built. Take the time to practice your knots and loops when trusting rope in an EDC situation. 
Certainly not the most survival based item in my inventory, my $12 "GEORGE" wallet from Walmart gets the job done. It stores my personal information as well as a few special items not normally seen in a wallet.
This credit card knife from card sharp is an Iain Sinclair designed folding knife the size of a standard credit card. It goes from folded up in the exact dimensions of a credit card to unfolded as a handy little knife. The blade is actually pretty decent, the handle is well built plastic and, although I won't do it anymore, I forgot it was in my wallet and got right through security at a government building with a full metal detector and x ray machine. Nobody even said a word or took a second look. I would not suggest testing this theory but it happened. Take my word for it. And keep yourselves out of trouble. I got this on AMAZON for less than $5. I strongly suggest it, even if it's just one more blade to have in the house or vehicle.
Another item that can be used for survival is a smart phone. I have multiple apps on my phone specifically designed for survival. There's an app for a compass, GPS and navigation, survival traps, a flashlight with strobe and SOS pre programmed, and a few other apps that could be useful as long as your phone works. If for some reason your phone doesn't work it's essentially useless. But for the sake of argument, assume your phone has battery life and works properly, or at least has the capability of running a few apps like the flashlight. I have a lifeproof case that is waterproof, in case I get stuck in a rainstorm or something like that. 
Another item I don't ever leave the house without is a ballcap. A simple baseball hat is what I wear on a daily basis and I'm rarely seen without one. Even if I don't have one on my head, there's one close by. 
I wear a pair of polarized sunglasses every day with an extra inexpensive pair in my vehicle. Another pair of glasses I keep in my vehicle is a pair of clear shooting glasses. These are excellent for windy areas or desert areas. If you have prescription glasses on at all times these would come in handy for keeping dust and dirt out if your eyes, as well as using the sun to start a fire with the magnifying glass technique. Another option for you might be those folding prescription glasses that come in a very small package. 
I have a concealed carry permit so I constantly have a firearm on me. This category doesn't need to be a huge description as it's pretty obvious. I carry a custom Glock 19 in either an outside the waistband Raven Concealment Kydex holster or an inside the waistband Crossbreed leather and Kydex holster. I typically don't carry an extra magazine but it's not something in opposed to by any means. Follow your local regulations on this one. Be smart, carry safe, remember the 4 rules of firearms safety.
I usually carry a writing utencil on me for work, but lately I've decided to start carrying a Sharpie on me also. I use only 1 brand and style of Pen, PILOT G-2. I use these pens because they will literally write on anything! They're the only pens I trust to write everytime. 
This is another one of those items I don't carry as much as I should. A pocket flashlight with a clip or one the size of a Chapstick tube. I would strongly recommend one that uses a CR123 style battery as I can attest to the extended battery life using that style battery. However, AA and AAA batteries are much more common and easy to find. Another thing I would recommend is matching up your batteries to any weapon mounted lights you have to keep it consistent throughout your entire set up.
For a long, long time I carried a Leatherman Kick multi tool. I love the size and weight if the tool and the entire package came in handy in more situations than I care to count. Leatherman is hands down the number one manufacturer in multi tools in my opinion. I only stopped carrying it everyday because I wore out the velcro. This might be a reason to recommend the leather snap style case instead of the nylon velcro one. I will also state that it took me nearly 6 years if constant use to wear out the velcro on the case. The tool has since been retired to my vehicle survival bag and I have purchased a Leatherman MUT. This tool is simply too large for me to carry on a daily basis but it has damn near everything on it. 29 tools of American made bad-assery that is firmly mounted on the outside of my bug out bag. SOG, Gerber and a few others make great tools as well. Do some research. 
A picture of what was on me at the time I started this article. You'll notice a few items are not here as I had most of them just outside the frame of the picture. Those items were the lighter, multi tool, and sunglasses. I used the aforementioned Iphone to take the picture. If you have any questions, comments or anything to add please leave a comment. 

"Murphy's law is like an ex, somehow it always shows up when you don't want it around"


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My home defense shotgun

I'm a huge advocate for a home defense shotgun. This posting will be about my personal home defense shotgun which I named "The Death Machine." I personally feel like when choosing a specific firearm for one purpose, there is a few different factors that you should consider. When choosing mine, I factored in Length of pull, Barrel length, Sights, capacity, easy of loading, carry load, lights, and weight. You can buy any shotgun off the shelf, load it up, and set it next to the bed and call it a home defense gun. I went a little further with it. I considered my options and shot all the major competitors shotguns. I love the Mossberg 590A1 but I knew I was going to be adding a lot of weight to it and it's pretty heavy already. I don't like the safety located on top of the frame either. I prefer the remington 870 for the weight and the safety location. The argument on Remington VS Mossberg VS everything else is an entirely different argument altogether and will be another blog in the future. 

That brings me to my description:
•Remington 870 Express Tactical 12 gauge 
•18.5" barrel
•Magpul SGA buttstock
•Magpul SGA fore grip 
•Magpul AFG2 
•Streamlight TLR-1
•Magpul rail sections
•Mesa Tactical 8 rd side carrier
•Blackhawk tactical buttstock 5 rd carrier
•stock bead sight
Butt stock
I'm short, and I have short arms. So whether I went with a Remington or Mossberg this had to be addressed. I chose the Magpul SGA buttstock for the Remington 870. This is an excellent option for my length of pull as it sits about 12" from shoulder to trigger. Also with the large 1" rubber butt pad you can manage recoil on any load very easily. The angle of the actual grip on the stock is perfect for me. Shouldering the weapon system from low or high ready positions is easy and effortless, even with a "tactical vest" or bulky clothing on. I also noticed that when I shoulder the weapon with a back pack on there is no issue at all. I would highly recommend this stock to anyone as it is adjustable from 11.5" to 14" in length. 
Side Saddle
The next factor for me when choosing my home defense firearm was how much ammo I can carry at one time. I'm not expecting to get in a firefight with an intruder, but I'd rather have too much than too little ammo. This Mesa Tactical side saddle carries 8 rounds and is very well built out of steel. It holds my rounds very tight and has never dropped a shell even under extreme recoil from slugs. I keep 2 extra birdshot rounds, four 00 buckshot rounds, and 2 slugs in this 8 round carrier. All are very easily identified for me by color and length of brass.
Remember when I said I'd rather have too much than too little? Well I meant it. I keep 6 rounds in the magazine tube, 1 round in the chamber , 8 rounds on the side in a Mesa Tactical side saddle, and 5 more rounds in a Blackhawk tactical slip on ammo carrier. That's 20 rounds. I can pick up my firearm and have 20 rounds on hand. I know it weighs a lot. The total package weighs in at 9.14 pounds. But weight was a factor I decided wasn't as important as this firearm sits at the ready next to the bed. Now if this weapon needed to go out of the house in a survival situation, I have a Magpul SGA sling mount I can put on in minutes to carry the weapon on a sling. For this I choose a Magpul MS3 single/double point sling. I'm not a spokesperson or anything for Magpul. I just feel like their equipment is proven and therefore I trust it with my life and my families' lives. The ammo I keep in my slip on carrier is made by Hornady I believe and has a 1" slug and 3 buckshot rounds in each shell. I call it the "overkill 5 pack" because those as well as the 1" slugs in the side saddle are a last resort option against an intruder. I have learned how to do quick ammo changeovers in case I need to switch from one type of ammo to another.  

Fore grip and Light
Again for the fore grip on my shotgun I chose Magpul's SGA line. It's lighter, stronger and has as many options as their line of fore grip acessories for the AR15 platform. I custom built a full length rail on my fore grip using Magpul plastic rail sections to fit both my AFG2 and my Streamlight TLR-1 on the fore grip. For those of you that are unsure of the AFG2's comfort under recoil, I have never had a problem with it. In fact it helps me cycle the pump a little faster by sitting securely in my hand. As stated, I have a Streamlight TLR-1 attached. It's a relatively inexpensive light option with 160 lumens of light and a momentary switch. I am very pleased with the performance of the combination I have on the pump of the shotgun. 
Ammo options
Probably the main reason to use a shotgun for home defense is the ammunition options. Whether you choose to use birdshot, buckshot, slugs, or non lethal ammunition in your firearm depends on where you live and what your are doing with your shotgun. Personally I keep seven rounds of 7 1/2 birdshot in my home defense shotgun. The reasons are simple. The longest hallway in my home is 22 feet. Using range tests I feel comfortable with my weapon's shot pattern at 22 feet and under with birdshot. At that distance, I can get every single pellet encased in the shell inside of a 12" by 18" target. I use 12" by 18" because that is roughly the size of an average persons torso. Also the reason I use birdshot instead of 00 buckshot is because I have done range tests studying accidental misses of pellets inside if my shells. Buckshot is far more devistating and dangerous to anything beyond the target than birdshot is. I live in an apartment and I refuse to be the cause of an accidental death in the next apartment over due to my lack of study on the effects if different types of ammunition. 
Sights and barrel length
I stuck with the standard bead sight on this gun. I decided to use the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" theory. I happen to like the "belly sight" that comes stock on these. It stays centered, doesn't take batteries, and is as accurate as the shooter. I'm not against red dot sights or anything like that, I just feel this is a more reliable option for my personal use. I also took the shortest legal barrel length I could since my apartment hallways are only 40 inches wide. 

So there it is. My home defense shotgun. Nothing too fancy, but it gets the job done and is reliable. If you have any questions or comment please leave them below and I'll respond as soon as possible. 

"I'm a man who enjoys power and fire, but I enjoy firepower more than I enjoy either of those"