Here’s A Target Rich Environment!

by Todd Walker

As most of you know, I don’t advertise on my site. Not in the traditional sense. I do promote products that I find useful and of high quality from time to time. This is one of those times.

First, I have no financial interest in any product I promote here. The Target Source is no different. I’ve mentioned Clark Ellard’s targets before here. He makes his targets at his home in his shop from AR500 steel. I’ve shot other “walking” targets before that were cheaply made. That shooting experience made me want to go back to shooting tin cans off a log.

Clark’s targets are made here in the U.S.A. with the best materials. I’ve gotten to know him over the past few months and can attest to his character, business practices, and customer satisfaction. He’s an avid supporter of our 2nd Amendment. His background in construction allows him to customize targets, shooting houses, gun storage safes for vehicles and homes, and even safe rooms if you’re in the market for one.

With the squeeze placed on family budgets these days, you might be thinking shooting targets are down on my wish list of preparedness items. Every family should prioritize when prepping. You know the three areas experts parade out: Beans, bullets, and band aids. Great advice. But what are those bullets for? They’re a tool, like your gun, of self-defense, survival, and … family fun!

Looking at the crazy spike in ammo and gun sales since Barack Hussein’s re-election, coupled with the Newtown shooting hysteria, millions of Americans who have squeezed a trigger ran out and bought guns and ammo. Smart move. Now it’s time to train with your new tool.

No amount of watching the “Die Hard” movies will make you a proficient shootist. Like any other skill, you must practice the fundamentals. One of the best ways is to make range time a family event. If you are a gun ‘newbie’, get the proper training for yourself. Then introduce your kids to this right of passage. Watching Clark’s young son plinking a target with his lever-action .22, quite accurately, made me smile and reminisce.

I was fortunate, like so many others growing up last century (makes me sound old), to have parents that taught me how to shoot. Back then, my daddy would haul a load of trash up the dirt road to the dump. Sounds like the story line from Alan Jackson’s song “Drive.” I’d always tag along. He’d let me drive his old truck with a three-on-the-tree, too. He backed the truck up to the pit, we got out, I loaded the shotgun, and the fun began. Daddy would throw bottles into the sky for me to shoot. That’s where I learned wing shooting. Thanks for the memories, Daddy!

Drive (For Daddy Gene)

Drive (For Daddy Gene) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t recommend that practice today. If you don’t have a trash dump to shoot bottles and cans, I’d recommend these quality steel targets.

They’re so much more fun than shooting holes in paper. With ever hit, there’s immediate feedback. The target ‘pings’ and moves. You know you hit your mark. No need to grab optics to confirm your accuracy. They’re a great way to keep new shooters on the range, and adds variety for experienced marksmen. For less than the price of dinning out with your family, you can purchase one of the plinkster targets. You won’t be unhappy. Plus, the little ones will thank you for introducing them to my favorite past-time.

You can click on the logo at the top of this page and you’ll be directed to Clark’s new website – The Target Source. His site is new and will be adding a price list soon. Until then, you can contact him via phone on his website.

If you’re not totally satisfied with his targets (or any product he builds), he’ll make it right. If you decide to buy from Clark, tell him I sent you. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Happy shooting!

Follow me on Twitter for the latest on our journey to self-reliance, preparedness, and resilient living: @SurvivalSherpa

Categories: Firearms, Preparedness, Self Defense, Shooting/Marksmanship | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Women make better shooters than men … or do they?

Kathy Jackson is a firearms instructor, a homeschool mom, a small business owner, a former magazine editor, a freelance writer, and the author of the website Cornered Cat. This article is reprinted with permission from her personal blog Scratching Post. Head over and check out some great shooting advise!

Keep doing the stuff,

Todd Walker


by Kathy Jackson

October 3, 2012

Okay, I’m about to slaughter a sacred cow here. I’ve held my peace about this (most of the time) for years, but the time has come to speak out. Women do not naturally make “better shooters” or “better students” than men do.

There are three reasons I dislike hearing people repeat the old myth that women do make better firearms students than men do.

1)      It is not true. This is what is true: truly new students make much faster and more impressive progress than allegedly “new” students who aren’t new to firearms at all. People who have spent a lifetime developing bad habits will need some time to erase those bad habits before they can learn good ones. This is true for both men and women. People who start with a blank slate, having never handled a firearm before, usually make very rapid or even dramatic progress under the tutelage of a competent instructor. This, also, is true for both men and women.

 When we compare apples to apples—brand new shooters to other brand new shooters; novice shooters with existing bad habits to other novice shooters with existing bad habits—we see almost no difference at all between men and women in firearms classes. It is only when we conflate the two, and compare the truly novice female to the badly-taught or untaught male that we see the dramatic, measurable difference in skillsets between male and female “new” students.

Not only is the saying not true in a skillset sense, it is also not true in a “good student” sense. I have worked with both men and women who are good students, and with both men and women who are poor students. If I wanted to make a sex-based rule about this, I would say that women who have a bad attitude about learning to shoot do tend to do a slightly better job hiding that fact from the instructor than similarly-resistant male students do—and that’s about it. But pleasant outward behavior does not mean these resistant students are getting what they need.

Read the rest here

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Review: Henry AR-7 US Survival Rifle

Today’s article is reprinted with permission from JJ Johnson (USAF – Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Instructor – class 97-02), owner/author of Prepper Skills, a site devoted to sharing skills and experiences with other preppers. JJ’s other survival related blog is Reality Survival. I recommend both sites for survival, bushcraft, preparedness, and self-reliance training.

Doing the stuff,

Todd Walker


by Tony

Henry AR-7 U.S. Survival Rifle

AR-7 Survival Rifle

Upon discovery of my love of firearms and my passion for survival, everyone always asks the inevitable question: What do you recommend for a wilderness survival weapon? Well, you just had to open that can of worms, didn’t you?  That would be like asking me what kind of knife I use in the kitchen!  Am I slicing tomatoes from the garden, slicing bread, cutting through a rack of ribs, making a pb&j?  My point is that there is a perfect tool for nearly every job.  If I am in hostile territory and may encounter several ne’er-do-well individuals, I’d really like to have my M-4.  If I can pick the terrain of the encounter, I might like to have my M-110, or if they have light trucks and heavy weapons, then I’d prefer my M-107 .50 BMG.  All of that being said, for a good, all around wilderness survival rifle, that you can pack small, take anywhere and put meat on the fire with, I’d recommend the Henry U.S. Survival rifle. It’s the current version of the Armalite AR-7 survival rifle that was developed from the AR-5 used by USAF pilots way back in the 1950’s.  The AR-7 has gone through many changes since Eugene Stoner (moment of silence) invented it back in the late 50’s.  It has been manufactured by Armalite, Charter Arms and currently Henry Rifles has the rights to the AR-7.

How Has The AR-7 Changed?

Recently the AR-7 stock has gone from plastic to polymer and the newest versions can hold three, yes three, 8 round magazines in the stock.  The current version of the AR-7 also has a picatinny style rail system grooved into the top of the receiver to accept optics.  Keep in mind if you mount an optic, it will no longer fit in the stock for storage.  Also as you see from the pictures, my AR-7 is camo, the current version sold by Henry Rifles comes only in black.  The reason I recommend this little survival rifle for everyone is its size, simplicity, accuracy. Also because it fires .22 LR (long rifle).  One can carry a plethora of ammunition for just a little added weight and minimal cost.  The .22 LR may not be ideal for a sustained firefight with hordes of zombies, but it will surely put food on the fire spit.  Rabbits, squirrels, birds and even varmints of the two-legged variety can be put down with an accurate placing of a 36 gr hollow point through the left eye socket or chest cavity.

AR-7 Disassembled

Read the rest here

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Firearms, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Shooting/Marksmanship, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The .22 Long Rifle – The Essential Cartridge for Long-Term Survival

Survival Sherpa’s 10-22 with paracord sling. Why did I just write in third person!?

Source: Rimfire Survival

There are an infinite number of gun models and configurations that could be considered for use in a long-term survival situation.  Each has their own merits as well as downfalls.  Any online search will bring up countless articles and discussions on the subject.  One thing that is present in almost every article and discussion is the mention of a .22LR rifle as a viable option.  The reason for this is that the .22LR rifle is the most affordable, most versatile, and most readily available gun/cartridge combination.

There are three main categories of cartridges that can be considered.  The first are the larger, heavier, full-power rounds (i.e. .308, 30-06, 7.62x54r, .700 Win Mag, etc.) that are best suited for large game.  The next are the mid-power, mid-weight cartridges (i.e. .223 Rem, 7.62x39mm, 5.45×39, etc.) that were mostly designed as anti-personnel and medium game ammunition.  The third category includes small caliber, lightweight, rimfire cartridges (i.e. .17HMR, .22LR, .22 Mag, etc.) which are suited for smaller game and practice.

The first thing that most people are going to consider is price, and cost effectiveness.  While the full-power and mid-power rounds might look better on graphs and charts, the .22LR provides the most ‘bang for the buck.’  .22LR cartridges are the world’s most common cartridge, with 2.5 billion+ rounds produced annually.  This bulk production is one of the factors in its relatively low price ($12-$15  per 500-550 rounds).  This price translates to approximately .02¢ to .03¢ per round fired for bulk hollow point ammunition.  Mid-power rounds such as the .223 Remington that are suitable for hunting (soft point and hollow point ammunition) can cost around .50¢+ per cartridge.  Full-power hunting ammunition such as the 30-06 Springfield can cost around .75¢ to $1+ per cartridge.

The .22LR cartridge has taken all kinds of game all over the world, not to say that it is always the best (or legal) choice for every situation, far from it.  It would be unreasonable to hunt squirrel with a 30-06, but it has surely been done.  There are also cases where the .22LR has been successfully used in a defensive situation against game when they were not the intended game to be hunted (see Bella Twin and her 1953 encounter with a grizzly). The .22LR’s advantage is with its ability for the bullet to be accurately placed where it needs to be placed to get the job done, and do that job with relative ease to the shooter with follow-up shots soon to follow if needed.

The cartridge also allows for the inexpensive manufacturing of the guns (mostly rifles) that shoot it.  The low pressure cartridge, along with a simple blow-back design, allows for rifles such as the Ruger 10/22 or Remington 597 to be able to be purchased for as low as $150 new.

The .22LR has been a proven round ever since its design 125 years ago and it is still going strong.  It’s ever strong popularity and commonality speaks wonders for this enduring little cartridge.

Keep in mind, that with prepping, there are no absolutes.  The .22LR should not be a substitute for a centerfire handgun, MBR (Main Battle Rifle), shotgun, handgun, or a dedicated high-power hunting rifle if one or more are needed (I do believe that there are at least 4 guns that make up a ‘survival arsenal’).  There are many variables to consider, but the simple fact of the matter is that for most people, the .22LR is able to fill multiple roles, more so than any other cartridge, and therefore should be one of the first on your list to prepare with.

Categories: Firearms, Preparedness, Shooting/Marksmanship, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Cold Hard Facts On Gun Bans: “The Cost Of Liberty Can Be Measured In the Loss of Life”

Cold Hard Facts On Gun Bans: “The Cost Of Liberty Can Be Measured In the Loss of Life”

By Mac Slavo
August 3rd, 2012

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one.”

Thomas Jefferson

While anti-gun advocates put forth every argument under the sun for why you should not be able to own a “high capacity” magazine that holds more than 10 rounds, or that you shouldn’t be able to buy ammunition online, or that police should stop going to work until guns have been completely banned, the evidence for disarmament of law abiding citizens as a failed policy is overwhelming.

In Chicago, where guns have essentially been banned for personal defense, the murder of innocents has risen so sharply in recent months that Mayor Rahm Emanual has been left with no other option but to call on criminals to look to their morals and values to stop the carnage. Washington D.C., which bans the carrying of concealed weapons, has maintained one of the highest gun crime murder rates in the country for over three decades – since the legislation was passed in 1975. As the Washington Post notes, the disarming of local residents has been wholly ineffective noting that the “guns kept coming, and bodies kept falling.”

Read the rest here

Categories: Firearms, Preparedness, Self Defense, Self Ownership, Self-reliance, Shooting/Marksmanship, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In A Pile Of Empty Brass

Click to visit the original post

Keep praying and doing the stuff!

Categories: Firearms, Self Defense, Self-reliance, Shooting/Marksmanship, SHTF | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carry Tools of Protection, ALWAYS!

Just got back from a little R&R with the Dirt Road Girl. Very refreshing!

I just checked my news sources and learned about the shooting at the Batman screening. What a senseless tragedy. Sympathies and prayers to the families and survivors.

Let the gun grabbing begin. Each time a crazed moron goes on a shooting rampage, talking heads do what they do and call for disarming the general public. Only police should carry deadly weapons. The over-reaction has begun. Expect TSA style gropings coming to a theater near you. It’s for our ‘safety’ citizens. The sad part is that many welcome and want this kind of ‘security’. Rainbows and candy canes all around. That’s why I don’t watch any TV news.

While on our little get-away, DRG and I spent every morning and evening walking on the beach. We’re not huge sun worshipers for medical reasons. We do l0ve the ocean and sand. Doesn’t this pose a problem with concealed carry? Nope. I was packing when we kicked the waves washing on shore, fished off the pier, and picked up seashells. We joke about me carrying at times. But, you never know.

I bought DRG a pocket pistol a few years ago for Christmas. She thought they were ‘cute’. I have to agree. However, after shooting the Ruger LCP, she decided to stick with her revolver. I inherited the little gun… dang it! We call her “Lucy”. She’s easy to conceal in a pocket or inside a waist line. With the right amount of cleavage, a bra might work. She accompanies me everywhere I’m legally able to bring my little friend – like the beach. [Don’t forget to clean thoroughly after exposure to salt water atmosphere]

I don’t patronize businesses that proudly sport their “Gun Free” signs. Private property is private property and I will respect their wishes by not going inside. Here’s the exception: I have to leave Lucy at home when I go to my teaching job. It’s a weapon free zone; a.k.a. “Victim Zone.” I wondered how the shooter was able to do so much damage in a packed theater. I’m sure there had to be a few concealed permit holders there. Why didn’t they produce their weapon and ventilate the mad man? Oh, the theater is a “Gun Free Zone.” Like me, permit holders a law abiding clan. I guess the shooter didn’t see the sign.

Please don’t take that last statement as making light of this deadly encounter. I’m simply saying that we all have to make a choice and have a plan for the worst case scenarios. For me and mine, I choose to be armed at all times. My weakest point is in the classroom. I feel naked in school. Naked is good in a few situations, but not when it comes to a preparedness plan for self-defense. Leaving ‘education’ again is a pot on the front burner of my brain. There are many ingredients in the pot that make for the soup of change in my life. The ‘victim zone’ issue is only one of them.

Guns are tools. Keep them in your preparedness tool box and on your person… ALWAYS!

Doing the stuff,



Categories: Firearms, Preparedness, Self Defense, Self-reliance, Shooting/Marksmanship | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

10 Commandments of Concealed Carry

Source: Tactical Life

Author: Massad Ayoob

Carrying a gun is a serious commitment. Ten real-world factors to make a part of your life!

Editors Note: The following article appeared unfinished in the 2009 Concealed Carry Handguns annual. As a courtesy to our loyal readers, we have chosen to make the full article available online.


Carrying a lethal weapon in public confers a grave power that carries with it great responsibilities. Those who lawfully engage in the practice realize that. Those who are considering “carrying” need to know what those experienced people know.

If You Carry, Always Carry
The criminal is the actor, and the armed citizen is the reactor. The typical violent criminal arms himself only when he intends to do something with it. He picks the time and place of the assault, and initiates the attack. Therefore, he doesn’t need to worry about self-defense.

The armed citizen, the intended victim, does not know when or where that attack will come. Therefore, he or she must be constantly prepared and constantly vigilant. The “pistol-packer” learns to pick a comfortable holster and an appropriately sized handgun, and “dress around the firearm.” After a few days, or a few weeks, it becomes second nature to wear it.

When the defender does not know when the attack will come, the only reasonable expectation of safety lies in being always armed.

Don’t Carry If You Aren’t Prepared To Use It
There is a great irony that attaches to the defensive firearm. When you analyze a great many defensive gun usages (DGUs) you discover that the great majority of the time, the protection weapon does its job with no blood being shed. Usually, the offender who is confronted with the prospect of being shot in self-defense either breaks off and runs or surrenders at gunpoint.

Its most important asset turns out to be its power to deter. The irony comes from the fact that its power to deter is drawn directly from its power to kill.

Understand that criminals do not fear guns. They are, after all, an armed subculture themselves. What they fear is the resolutely armed man or woman who points that gun at them. Criminals are predators, and their stock in trade is their ability to read people and recognize victims. They are very, very good at reading “body language” and determining another’s intent to fight, or lack thereof. In short, you’re not likely to bluff them.

If you carry a gun, you must be absolutely certain that you can use deadly force. The person who is hesitant or unwilling to do so will, in the moment of truth, communicate that vacillation to the hardened criminal they are attempting to hold at gunpoint. In such a case, it is quite likely that the offender will jump them, disarm them, and use the hesitant defenders’ own weapons against them.

If, however, that same criminal realizes that he is facing a resolute person who will, in fact, shoot him if he takes one more transgressive step, he is most unlikely to take that step.

The irony: The person who is prepared to kill if he or she must, is the person who is least likely to have to do so.

Don’t Let The Gun Make You Reckless
Circa 1970, armed citizen Richard Davis invented the Second Chance vest, concealable body armor that for the first time could be worn constantly on duty, under the uniform, by any police officer. Some alarmists speculated that “being made bulletproof” would cause cops to become reckless. Those fears turned out to be totally unfounded. As any officer who has worn armor can attest, the vest is a constant reminder of danger and, if anything, makes its wearer more cautious.

It is much the same with concealed firearms in the hands of responsible private citizens. People unfamiliar with the practice fear that “the trigger will pull the finger,” and armed citizens will go looking for a chance to exercise their deadly power. This, too, is a largely unfounded belief.

The collective experience of ordinary, law-abiding people who carry guns is that they don’t feel a sudden urge to go into Central Park at three o’clock in the morning and troll for muggers. They learn that being armed, they are held to what the law calls “a higher standard of care” and are expected to avoid situations like traffic arguments that could escalate and, with a deadly weapon present, turn into killing situations.

Like an officer’s body armor, the armed citizen’s gun is a reminder of danger, a symbol of the need for caution. The late, great big game hunter and gun writer Finn Aagard once wrote, “Yet my pistol is more than just security. Like an Orthodox Jewish yarmulke or a Christian cross, it is a symbol of who I am, what I believe, and the moral standards by which I live.”

Get The License!
You’ll hear some absolutists say, “No government has the right to permit me to carry a gun! I don’t need no stinking permit! The Second Amendment is my license to carry!”

That is the sound of someone asking to go to jail. Like it or not, the laws of the land require, in 46 of the 50 states, a license to carry. In two states, there is no legal provision for the ordinary citizen to carry at all. Realize that things are not as we wish they were; things are as they are. If things were as we wish they would be, we wouldn’t need to carry guns at all.

If you are diligent about studying carry license reciprocity, and about seeking non-resident carry permits in states that don’t have reciprocity, you can become legal to carry in some forty or more states. It can get expensive, and it can get tiresome. However, allowing yourself to be made into a felon and being ramrodded through the courts is much more expensive and far more tiresome.

Bottom line: if you carry, make sure you carry legally.

Know What You’re Doing
You wouldn’t drive an automobile without knowing the rules of the road. Do not keep or carry lethal weapons for defense without knowing the rules of engagement. It is a myth to believe that you can shoot anyone in your home. When Florida rescinded the requirement to retreat before using deadly force if attacked in public, the anti-gun Brady Center introduced a publicity campaign claiming that the new law allowed Floridians to shoot anyone who frightened them. This, of course, was blatantly untrue, but a great many people believed it to be so because “they heard it on TV” or “they saw it in the paper.” Such dangerous misconceptions can cause the tragic death of people who don’t deserve to be shot, and can get good people sent to prison.

It is the practitioner’s responsibility to “learn the rules of the road” when they take the path toward armed self-defense. There are many firearms training schools, and at least one, the author’s Lethal Force Institute, specializes in teaching the rules of engagement. Information is available under the LFI section at It is wise to take local classes that emphasize the rules of “deadly force decision-making.”

Similarly, a person who opens fire with a gun they don’t know how to shoot is a danger to all. If you need the firearm for its intended purpose, you will be under extreme stress. Learn to shoot under pressure. Quick draw from concealment, safe holstering, proper tactics, and much more are on the curriculum if you are serious about defending yourself and your loved ones to the best of your ability.

Concealed Means Concealed
A very few people carrying guns for the first time feel an irresistible urge to let others see that “they’ve got the power.” First-time carriers and rookie cops, usually young in both cases, may fall into this trap. It is a practice to avoid for several reasons.

In most of this society, the only people the general public sees carrying guns in public are uniformed “protector figures,” such as police officers and security guards. When they see someone not identifiable as such, who is carrying a lethal weapon, they tend to panic. This makes no friends among the voting public for the gun owners’ rights movement—you do not make people into friends and sympathizers, by frightening them—and can lead to a panicky observer getting the wrong idea and reporting you to the police as a “man with a gun.” This can lead to all sorts of unpleasant confrontations.

Moreover, a harasser who has picked you as his victim and knows you carry a gun can create a situation where there are no other witnesses present, and then make the false claim that you threatened him with the weapon. This is a very serious felony called Aggravated Assault. It is his word against yours. The fact that you are indeed carrying the gun he describes you pointing at him can make his lie more believable than your truth, to the ears of judge and jury.

MCRGO, Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, is directly responsible for getting reform concealed carry legislation enacted in their state, and has been in the forefront of fighting for the rights of armed citizens in that state. MCRGO’s Steve Dulan, in the organization’s Weekly E’News of 6/23/08, had some cogent points to make on the topic of private citizens carrying handguns visibly in public:

“Open carry of firearms, subject to MCL 750.234d, it is legal to carry a visible pistol in public. MCRGO has not adopted an official position on this subject,” wrote Dulan, who continued, “I agree with Ted Nugent and many others that it is a bad idea in almost every situation. Tactically, you are giving up the element of surprise should you face a deadly force situation. Furthermore, you run the risk of being called in to 9-1-1 as a ‘man with a gun.’ I have been on police ride-alongs when this call comes over the radio. It creates a very dangerous situation for all concerned. I do not carry openly. I have a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) and take care to choose a gun and holster that, along with appropriate clothing, allow me to keep my gun concealed unless/until I need it to save a life.”

As cogent and valid as Steve Dulan’s arguments are, it still makes sense to have legal open carry available as an emergency option. If the wind accidentally blows your coat open and reveals the gun, an open carry provision assures you have committed no crime. If someone who has not yet felt the need to get a concealed carry license suddenly begins getting death threats, open carry provides an emergency avenue of self-protection until the paperwork can be processed to acquire the license to carry the weapon discreetly out of sight.

Maximize Your Firearms Familiarity
The more you work with the firearm, the more reflexively skilled you will become in its emergency use and its safe handling. If your home defense shotgun is a Remington 870, then when you go claybird shooting or hunting, use an 870 pump gun with a barrel and choke appropriate for each task. If you are a target shooter who uses the 1911 pistol platform at bull’s-eye matches and have become deeply familiar with it, it makes sense to acquire a concealable 1911 to use as your carry gun, so that the ingrained skill will directly transfer. If a double-action .44 Magnum is your hunting revolver, and another double-action revolver is your home defense gun, it makes sense to choose a carry-size revolver as your concealment handgun when you’re out and about.

Consider training classes or competition shoots where your chosen defensive firearm is appropriate to the course of fire. This skill-building will translate to self-defense ability if your carry gun ever has to be used to protect innocent life and limb. If training ammunition is too expensive, consider a .22 conversion unit for your semiautomatic pistol or a .22 caliber revolver the same size as your defensive .38 or .357. The more trigger time you have with a similar gun, the more confidence and competence you’ll have with the gun you carry, if you can’t afford to practice as much as you’d like with the carry gun itself.

Understand The Fine Points
Every state has different laws insofar as where you can and can’t carry a gun. It’s your responsibility to know all the details. In one state, it may be against the law to carry a weapon in a posted “no-gun zone.” In another, that sign may have no weight of law at all behind it. In a third, you may be asked to leave if your gun is spotted, and if you do not depart, you will be subject to arrest for Trespass After Warning.

In the state of New Hampshire, it is perfectly legal to carry your gun into a bar while you sit down and have a drink. If you do the same in Florida, it’s an arrestable offense, though you’re allowed to have a cocktail in a restaurant with a liquor license, so long as you’re seated in a part of the establishment that earns less than 50% of its income from selling alcoholic beverages by the drink. In North Carolina, you can’t even walk into a restaurant that has a liquor license, with a gun on. And, perhaps strangest of all, in the state of Virginia at this writing, it is illegal to enter a tavern with a concealed handgun, but perfectly legal to belly up to the bar and sip a whiskey while carrying a loaded handgun “open carry” fashion in an exposed holster!

A superb current compendium of gun laws in the 50 states can be found at Review it frequently for possible changes.

Carry An Adequate Firearm
If you carry a single-shot, .22 Short caliber derringer, you will be considered armed with a deadly weapon in the eyes of the law. You will not, however, be adequately prepared to stop a predictable attack by multiple armed assailants. Most experts recommend a five-shot revolver as the absolute minimum in firepower, and the .380/9mm/.38SPL range as the minimum potency level in terms of handgun caliber.

It is a good idea to carry spare ammunition. Many people in their first gunfight have quickly found themselves soon clicking an empty gun. A firearm without spare ammunition is a temporary gun. Moreover, many malfunctions in semiautomatic pistols require a fresh (spare) magazine to rectify. Some fear that carrying spare ammo will make them look paranoid. They need to realize that those who don’t like guns and dislike the people who carry them, will consider carrying the gun without spare ammunition to still be paranoid. It’s an easy argument to win in court. Cops carry spare ammunition. So should you.

Carrying a second gun has saved the lives of many good people. When the primary weapon is hit by a criminal’s bullet and rendered unshootable…when it is knocked from the defender’s hand, or snatched away by a criminal…when the first gun runs out of ammo and there is no time to reload…the list of reasons is endless. It suffices to remember the words of street-savvy Phil Engeldrum: “If you need to carry a gun, you probably need to carry two of them.”

At the very least, once you’ve found a carry gun that works for your needs, it’s a good idea to acquire another that’s identical or at least very similar. If you have to use the first gun for self-defense, it will go into evidence for some time, and you want something you can immediately put on to protect yourself from vengeful cronies of the criminal you were forced to shoot. If the primary gun has to go in for repair, you don’t want to be helpless or carrying something less satisfactory while you’re waiting to get it back.

Use Common Sense
The gun carries with it the power of life and death. That power belongs only in the hands of responsible people who care about consequences, who are respectful of life and limb and human safety. Carrying a gun is a practice that is becoming increasingly common among ordinary American citizens. Common sense must always accompany it.

Categories: Firearms, Preparedness, Self Defense, Shooting/Marksmanship | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Survival Sunday Roundup from the PrepperSphere

Sunday, 01 July 2012

For your prepping pleasure:

The Single Most Overlooked Survival Technique

Off the Grid News

Separating fact from fiction in order to make an appropriate choice during a stressful situation is incredibly important.  Situational awareness can be the key component in the decision-making process, and makes it (the stressful situation) infinitely easier to deal with.

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CharlottePrepCon Protecting What Matters Most

Keynote speaker: James Wesley Rawles of

Call it Survivalism. Call it Prepping. Call it Back to Basics. Call it whatever you want, but the movement to become more self-reliant, grow and can your own foods, reduce your carbon footprint and preparing in case of a natural (or not so natural) disaster is the basis for the upcoming CharlottePrepCon event. A full day of speakers, exhibitors and breakout sessions will be followed by a family-friendly outing to Knights Stadium for a baseball game and fireworks! Speakers will include James Wesley, Rawles of, talk show host Vince Coakley, Scott Hunt and David Kobler of Practical Preppers, Rich Davis of DCG Real Assets and Steve Nolan of

Tickets and information available at CharlottePrepCon


Are You Packing? 5 Inexpensive Ways to Store Your Food

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition

You can spend a fortune on food for long term storage, but if you don’t protect your investment, that money could be completely wasted.  Proper storage containers don’t have to cost a fortune.  You can glean many different kinds of containers from things that would normally be thrown away.  Once you’ve alerted friends and family that you are seeking these containers, you will likely be given more containers than you could ever use!

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Proper Leverage

by Matthew

Straight Forward in a Crooked World

Sometimes in the American gun culture there is this all or nothing idea when it comes to being prepared for bad situations; often ignoring the reality of the middle ground in the realm of day to day preparedness.

On one end there is the OCD end-of-the-world-zombie-apocalypse idea that if you haven’t squandered your families earnings on MREs, multiple military grade rifles and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammo you are, as Chris Rock says, “gonna die”.

The flip side of the coin is this weird obsession by the gun market and manufacturers to build uber light weight .380s and 9mms that can only be held onto with two fingers, has a light rail, and no sights (don’t want to weigh the gun down you know…’cause there’s a light rail).

One could suppose, justly, that my cynicism is leaking through.

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50 Free self-reliant and preparedness books for your Kindle reader

by Atticus Freeman

Self-Reliant Info

If you’ve read our posts for very long at all, you probably know this: the only thing we like better than preparedness and self-reliant resources are free ones! Fortunately, there are many Kindle books available for no cost over at

Many of the free books are simply old books from the early 1900s that are in the public domain, but there a number of newer ones too. Of course, some of the older books are useful just because they often describe how to do things without complex machinery or modern processes, which is very helpful for the self-reliant do-it-yourselfer.

Below is a list of 50 Kindle books that are related to self-reliance and/or preparedness, which are free to download (at least as of the time of this writing).

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Categories: Food Storage, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Shooting/Marksmanship, SHTF, Survival Sunday | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improving Your Shooting Skills Without Spending a Fortune on Ammo

Long article, but very informative. NOTE: When it comes to skills of any kind, if you don’t use them, you lose them. Happy practicing!

Source: Survival Blog

Improving Your Shooting Skills Without Spending a Fortune on Ammo, by W. in Wisconsin

 I am a retired IPSC, IDPA, Three Gun, Bowling pins, Trap, and Skeet competitive shooter. I have spent countless hours practicing in both dry fire and live fire sessions. I’ve competed at local, regional, and national levels. One of the most effective and the least costly methods I used for practice was dry firing [, also known as dry practice.]

Dry firing is an excellent way to improve your marksmanship without expending expensive ammo. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing like live fire practice however dry fire drills can make live fire practice much more effective. The other benefit of dry fire is you don’t have to travel to the range to do it. You can do it at home. I used to dry fire in an unused office at work. My boss is open-minded!!

Dry firing in its simplest form is the repetitive activity of simulated firing of your gun by dropping the hammer on an empty chamber. At one time pulling the trigger on an empty chamber may have damaged a firearm. Not true with today firearms. I have dropped the hammer on the empty chamber of revolvers, auto pistols, shotguns, and rifles many thousands of times without problems. My IPSC guns have been dry fired too many times to count and still are 100 percent reliable. If you are worried about damage there are several types of dummy rounds (“Snap Caps”) on the market in many calibers that are designed to absorb the impact of the firing pin when the hammer is dropped. Snap caps also offer a good way to practice loading without handling live ammo.

Why dry fire? In my early days of competing in shooting sports I dry fired a half hour every night for more than a year. Dry fire practice did several things for my shooting ability.

  1. I became very familiar with the handling and feel of the firearms I was using to compete. In stressful situations familiarity helps prevent firearm operator error. Have you ever short stroked and jammed a pump shotgun? Can you clear a jamb under pressure without thinking?
  2. By switching the type of dry fire drills I was doing on a regular basis I built skill and familiarity in a variety of shooting situations. I’ll get into that more later on.
  3. I improved my ability to gain a proper sight picture quickly.
  4. My target to target transition improved greatly.
  5. My shooting confidence increased dramatically.
  6. I Built muscle memory, a key element to accurate and consistent shooting. Muscle memory also helps prevent operator error as mentioned in #1.
  7. My point shooting skills improved greatly. Point shooting is shooting by pointing the firearm in the direction of a target and not using the sights, typically a close quarters method. It takes some practice and muscle memory too point shoot effectively.

How to dry fire: Applies to Rifle, Pistol or shotgun shooting
First and foremost is safety. Is your gun unloaded? Check again! Remove all live ammunition from your dry fire practice room. Do not dry fire in a direction where people may be or where a bullet could go through creating a danger to someone. I always pointed toward the cement walls in my basement. When you are handling your firearm you should concentrate on a few of safety practices. 1. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. This is a good practice anytime you handle a firearm. 2. Don’t ever point the gun in an unsafe direction. Yes, I know you made sure it isn’t loaded, without checking again are you so confident that your firearm isn’t loaded that you’d point it at yourself and pull the trigger? (Please don’t) Why chance it!  3. Be aware of where the muzzle of your firearm is pointed at all times. Everyone reacts to stress differently, good gun handling habits help ensure you won’t accidentally shoot someone.

Dry Fire drills: What you do and for how long is up to you. I usually practiced for about a half hour at a time. This gave me enough time to warm up and get enough repetitions to make the practice drills worth while. Any duration of time is better than none. Keep a record of the types of drills you practice so you can repeat the drills again later. Doing a drill once and never again has no value. The following is a list of basic drills that can be used by anyone and are general gun handling skill builders.

Dry fire drills:

  1. Draw and fire from a holster. Use the holster you plan on carrying. Wear a jacket over the holster and practice how you will move your jacket to gain access to your holstered firearm. If your drawing hand is injured and you can’t use it now what do you do?
  2. Draw and fire off a table, out of a drawer or door of a cabinet.
  3. Start with an empty gun, load and fire ….. Use snap caps! You won’t believe how long this can take if you don’t practice it or are under stress. Use snap caps not live rounds to simulate loading your magazines.
  4. Draw from under a chair or car seat. Mix it up you will never know when or where you may need to access your firearm.
  5. Don’t limit any practice to just pistol, work with your rifle or shotgun.
  6. One handed and both hands. What happens if you have a broken right hand (or left) can you shoot with the other hand? Can you shoot one handed? Always try to use both hands as your main foundation for grip on the firearm and practice one handed and weak handed alternatives.
  7. Reloading – Tactical and dropped magazine. A tactical reload is when the expended magazine from your firearm is retained in your control during a reload. In IPSC we always dropped expended magazines on the ground. IPSC is a game and not the best practice for real life self defense. Practice retaining the expended magazine as part of your reloads. The one round left in a retained magazine could save your life later not to mention you don’t want to leave a magazine behind if you don’t have to. Also practice accessing magazines from where you store them on your body. Magazine pouches? Pockets? I put a snap cap in each magazine for practicing reloads. This helps protect the feed lips of the magazine and in single stack pistols is helps guide the magazine into the magazine well just as live ammo would.
  8. Practice clearing jambs. You can use a snap cap to simulate a jammed firearm or treat the gun as if jammed and clear it by working the action of the gun as you would expect to in the case of a real jamb.
  9. Use small targets as aiming points. In the Mel Gibson’s movie The Patriot the protagonist tells his sons to “Aim small, shoot small” when engaging a British patrol. What he meant was to pick a point of your target and aim at it, don’t aim at the whole target. The discipline of picking a point of aim a.k.a. “calling your shot” builds accuracy. If you practice this enough you will be able to aim at a target, shoot and without looking know where your bullets hit. It works!
  10. When using iron sights concentrate on seeing the front sight every time you pull the trigger. The biggest mistake many shooters make (besides jerking the trigger – more later) is pulling the trigger before they have a proper sight picture. If you see the front site when the gun goes off and have even close to proper sight alignment you will likely hit the target you are aiming at. I was working with one shooter who keep missing the target (in this case a deer) so after one of many missed shots I asked him what he saw just as he pulled the trigger, His response was blue sky! I told him then and kept reminding him all day to not pull the trigger unless he sees brown. He got the next deer he shot at. When asked he said he saw brown. If you don’t see the front site you will likely miss.

A note about Electronic Red Dot Sights: Red dots sights are a wonderful invention and can make shooting much easier. I strongly recommend learning to shoot properly and effectively with iron sites and not rely on red dots as your only sighting platform. Learning iron sights first will make you a better shooter and won’t leave you high and dry and guessing if your battery dies.

  1. Trigger control. Of all shooting mechanics this is the hardest to learn and the most likely to make you miss what you are shooting at. Proper trigger pull is a combination of what part of your finger contacts the trigger and how you pull the trigger. I find that the centering the pad between the tip of my trigger finger and the first knuckle makes for the best finger position on the trigger. You want to be able to pull the trigger straight back toward the grip of the gun. Inserting your finger to far in the trigger guard causes the gun to move slightly because you are not pulling straight back on the trigger. A 1/16” shift in the gun can mean six inches or more on the target. When you pull the trigger you need to pull evenly from start to finish. The trigger should break unexpectedly, this is not the same as accidentally, squeeze, don’t jerk or yank the trigger. In other words pull slow and easy until the gun goes off. This takes some getting used to and will speed up with practice. If you practice this it is will become second nature and your shooting accuracy will improve greatly. One way to tell if your trigger pull is being done properly is to balance a coin on the barrel of the firearm you are using to dry fire and pull the trigger. The coin should stay put….yes even on a round barrel. You can practice this way if you like. If your gun is properly sited and your shots are consistently left, right, low or high of the point of aim there’s a good chance it is due to how you are pulling the trigger. If you are having this problem try different finger positions and or use the coin on the barrel to see if you are jerking the trigger. Stop and figure it out or you will install a bad habit and it will be hard to correct.
  2. Point shooting. One way to practice this is to look at the target, close your eyes then bring up your firearm and point it (eyes still closed) at the target. Open your eyes and look where your firearm is pointed. Is it on target? Developed muscle memory will put your point on target with out using the sights. Point shooting can be fast reaction shooting albeit not the most accurate.
  3. Shoot on the move. One thing that 10 years of IPSC taught me was how to shoot and walk (and sometime run) at the same time. Yes it can be done accurately however it takes a lot of practice. To do this you need to think of your upper body (roughly the waste or belt line and above) and below the waste as being on a swivel and independent of each other. Practice holding your sights on target while walking. Your lower body needs to work independent of your upper body to absorb the shock of foot falls and motion while keeping your upper body steady so as not to bounce your sights. It takes some practice and is easier than it sounds.

Bad practice makes for bad habits!
When you perform dry fire drills your focus should be on accuracy and consistency of movement for a given drill. In other words do the drill the say way every time. Do practice more than one type of drill on a regular basis. Doing the same drill every day, day after day will limit you and make other activities with a firearm feel awkward. Try to get comfortable doing many types of drills. Practice your drills in a way that best represents what conditions may occur in your situation. Having the ability to draw from a holster and hit a target in ¾ of a second probably doesn’t have a real life practical application unless of course you are planning a gun fight at the OK Corral. Pulling a gun from a drawer quickly and safely does.

Live Fire Practice:
Because ammo is very expensive I recommend having a plan worked out prior to going to the range to practice. More than any other type of practice it is easiest to practice bad habits while doing live fire drills. I pick two or three areas where I need practice and work on these exclusively. I also recommend setting a limit to how much ammo you will use during a given practice. I usually limited serious practice to 200 rounds. This may seem like a lot to some and not enough to others. I found that by the time I reached 200 rounds I was starting to tire out. Be aware of how your body is reacting. Fatigue may not be the same as feeling tired and might show up as diminished ability to accurately hit the target. When competing I was well conditioned for shooting and fired thousands of rounds annually and still would tire after a couple hundred rounds. Your fatigue point may be a lot fewer rounds or a lot more. Be aware of what your body is telling you. I guarantee that if you are tired you are wasting ammo and possibly practicing bad habits. Frequent trips to the range are better than long stays. Also take breaks between shooting drills, it will help you stay focused and get the most out of your ammo. Quality not quantity!

A few things to try at the live fire range:
1. Shoot in low light conditions – do your sights work? What does the muzzle flash do to your vision? Low or no light adds a whole new dimension to shooting.
2. Try shooting with you rifle turned on its side. My AR hits 12” high and 12” right at 100 yards when I do this. When shot normally it is dead on.
3. Aim small, shoot small – Thanks, Mel!
4. Shoot your rifle or shotgun left handed (my left hand is my weak hand, I’m right handed) or right if you are a lefty. This is very awkward for most people.
5, Shoot pistol with your weak hand
6. Shoot pistols at longer ranges, 25 – 50 yards, doing so forces the need for good sight picture and trigger control if you want to hit anything. Aim small, shoot small.
7. Don’t just shoot .22 rimfire because it’s less expensive. If you don’t at least know what to expect from your centerfire rifle, pistol, and shotgun you are in for a surprise just when you don’t need it. Shoot at least a little of each when you live fire practice.

One final point on live fire practice; never practice without eye and ear protection. Using protection may not be real world if you have to defend yourself however not using it to practice has two dangers. 1. You could lose your eye sight and or damage your hearing. I know many IPSC shooters who have bullet fragments imbedded in various parts of their bodies from fragment bounce back. It can happen any time in any shooting situation. I’ve personally had cuts on my hands, face, and legs from fragment bounce back. I know of one guy who got hit square in the chest by a 12 gauge slug that bounced back off a steel target, fortunately it had lost most of its energy although it did bring him to his knees. Okay, enough war stories. Eyes and ear drums don’t grow back. Use protection! Finally, you can acquire a bad flinch, a bad habit built in when you shoot without ear protection. The flinch comes when you anticipate and react to the really loud and painful noise that you know will happen as soon as you pull the trigger. I was helping a shooter who was complaining that he couldn’t hit a thing with his 7mm Magnum deer rifle. I set him up at the range and told him to take a shot down range. He got set up and was getting ready to take aim when I stopped him. He wasn’t wearing any protection. I asked if he always practiced that way to which he responded yes. I had him put on glasses and ear muffs, his flinch went away immediately and he was back on target, not to mention happy that the problem wasn’t his rifle.


Gun reliability and maintenance:
A few years back I was shooting on the pistol range of a local gun club. I couldn’t help but notice the guy next to me take a shot with his Glock then bang the back of the slide on the loading bench then take another shot. Curiosity got the best of me so I asked him what he was doing. He explained that his gun kept jamming and wouldn’t go into battery (slide fully closed). On closer inspection the gun was so filthy and dry (no oil) that I was surprised it worked at all. Nice firearm, poor maintenance. Would you bet your life on a gun in that condition? A tight M1911 that dirty probably would have stopped running. A good cleaning and some much needed oil and that guy would have had a fully functioning gun that I bet would have run flawlessly. If competitive shooting teaches you one thing it’s the limitations of your firearms. I’ve spent many hours scrubbing guns before a match. Keep it clean and oiled.

Gun oil:  Don’t use WD-40 to lube your firearms. WD-40 evaporates and leaves little to no lubricating film, at least not enough to keep a firearm running under extreme conditions. Have you ever shot your firearms in 10 below zero temperatures, extreme heat or dusty conditions? I use FP-10 gun oil for all of my firearms. I’ve used this oil in below zero weather and dusty ranges and as long as I didn’t let it dry out it never failed me. Some oils will thicken in cold weather which can cause malfunctions.

Detachable box magazines:
I’m betting there is more than one prepper out there who has a pile of shiny, new magazines still in the original wrapper put away for a rainy day. (Note: Some people call magazines clips). I highly recommend taking every new magazine to the range at least once and loading it full and shooting until empty. I recently returned three new hi-capacity Glock 23 magazines to the seller because none of them would work in my gun. I also have two new 20 round AR magazines that won’t work in my rifle. One of these days I’ll try giving them a tune up. Shiny and new doesn’t guarantee function. Don’t forget to clean your magazines. Grit and moisture inside a magazine can cause malfunction and failure. Most magazines have a removable base plate that slides out releasing the spring retainer plate, spring, and follower. Use a soft brush or cloth to clean the inside of the magazine body being careful not to bend the magazine body or feed lips in the process. Wipe any grease, dirt or grim off the spring and follower. Do not oil any part of your magazines. Oil will attract dirt and dust and is not needed for function.
Gun embellishments and other fancy stuff:
When I first started shooting IPSC the game was basically an equipment race. From fancy fast draw holsters to custom tuned extended high capacity magazines and everything in between. This stuff is fine for fun and games but I personally stay away from it on my SHTF firearms. The more stuff you have hanging on your gun the more there is to go wrong or impede the function of the gun or shooter. Not to mention a good prosecuting attorney can turn a fancied up gun into a murder with premeditation weapon even if it was used in self defense. Keep it simple!

Recoil compensators:
Several of my competition guns have recoil compensators. A recoil compensator is a machined part that is attached to the end of a rifle or pistol barrel and has grooves cut to redirect the exhaust gasses from the burnt powder upwards helping counter act muzzle rise during recoil. Compensators do make shooting easier however they do have some negatives. 1. They are extremely loud and often redirect the noise back towards the shooter. 2. In the right conditions such as shooting with your gun barrel along a wall or through a port hole can force the gasses back in your face. Even with safety glasses it burns your eyes.

Sighting systems:
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to sights for their firearms. IPSC is hard on equipment and quickly separates what will hold up and what won’t. Sights are often a matter of opinion and personal preference. For that reason I will not attempt to tell you good from bad however I will tell you what I prefer. My personal SHTF firearms are set up as follows:

AR -15 – Flat top with EoTech (red dot) with quick detachable mount and alternative rear flip up peep sight with standard AR fixed front sight. My sights don’t co-witness although I wish they did. (Co-witness means you can use the iron sights while looking through the EoTech. This would save having to remove the EoTech if it stops working.

M1911 Pistol –  the rear sight is a BoMar adjustable rear site and the front a dovetailed blade with fiber optic. Some might say the adjustable BoMar is too fragile however it hasn’t failed me after many thousands of rounds.  IPSC is an action sport where firearms can be exposed to bangs, dings and dents. Make sure your dovetailed sights are staked so they can’t work loose. Note: my front sight still works even if the fiber optic breaks and falls out.

A note on fiber optic sights: I’ve broken many fiber optics rods that were mounted on my sights. If I didn’t bang the sight it broke from repetitive use. Best to have plenty extra fiber rod on hand or use a site that doesn’t have the fiber optic feature.

Shotgun (semi-auto and pump) – My semi-auto is a Winchester SuperX2 Tactical that has a Picatinny rear sight rail (V-notch rail) with an optional flip up buckhorn sight for more pinpoint work and a fiber optic front bead. The sights still work even if the fiber optic is knocked out. My pump (a Remington Model 870) has a factory stock, a white-painted front bead and a vented rib with a groove in the rear receiver. If it is not broken, don’t fix it.

I would have Tritium sights on all my SHTF firearms if I could afford it.

Laser and red dot sights – Personally these are not for me. I once shot a night match with my EoTech (Lighted Red dot sight) against a laser sited AR. I smoked the laser sighted rifle because I could acquire the target and fire so much faster. The laser shooter spent too much time looking for and positioning the dot on the target. Practice serves me better than a laser sight. My 2 cents.

A few shooting facts I learned in competitive shooting
1. No less than three tenths of a second is typically how long it takes for the average person to start to react to a situation.
2. Muscle memory starts to set in after about 1,000 repetitions.
3, If you pull the trigger on a live round and your gun makes a funny poof sound, then stop! You may have a squib load. A squib is a light or no powder load that doesn’t have enough power to push the bullet out of the barrel. Shooting another round without clearing a squibbed bullet will blow up your gun and hurt you. I’ve had squibs and was lucky to never have blown up a gun.
4. Limp-wrist shooting can cause your semi auto pistol to jamb. Limp-wrist shooting is when you don’t lock (hold rigid) your wrist allowing the pistol muzzle to flip up in excess under recoil. The excess muzzle flip counteracts slide momentum which in turn limits the distance the slide needs to travel to properly eject the spent shell casing. When this happens the case hangs up and gets caught in the gun instead of ejecting clear. Not real common but it does happen.

Happy and safe practicing, hope you don’t need it!


Categories: Firearms, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Self Defense, Shooting/Marksmanship, SHTF, Survival Skills | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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