Prepper Basics

Prepper Basics (14)

4 Reasons for Joining CAG

Why Join Crisis Application Group

Crisis Application Group's message has always been the same.  With some of the changes and new look some are starting to ask "what's in it for me?", "why should I join?".  If you're reading this, then you already have an interest and have looked at the new webpage.  If you are out there and have questions of what to do and not sure where to go, well you're at the right place.  

Started by a retired Green Beret who noticed that the Quality basic information and understanding of how to survive in a crisis was limited and almost non-existent.  It has since morphed into a diverse community who all bring their own special knowledge and experiences.  We work to support each other before, during and post crisis.  
During the 2018 hurricane season virtually all our teams self-engaged to support the teams who were being affected by the storms.  Post storms, teams physically and remotely deployed to the affected areas to offer knowledge, resources, and support.  CAG has team members who are still working to support storm relief in Puerto Rico.

It Takes a Village

The first rule of CAG is family first.  

Secondly is that it takes a village.  The misconception of the tin foil hat wearing hermit who lives with piles of ammo in his living room couldn't be further from he truth.  We foster an environment only for mature law abiding members who are self motivated and wish to promote a positive learning environment.  CAG can proudly say we have a career diverse membership that has a deep bench of knowledge.  Members know that when asking for help that the village is there and ready to help however they can.  

We also work with geographical located groups called A-teams.  These are members who have identified their location, train together and have set up an intercommunication system with each other to work as a team during a crisis.

Sourced Information

While we work hard to make information public and available to those who need it, we also provide our members with in depth, well researched, factual information that relates to current needs.  Our published articles use open sourced information and come from reliable data providers and most times are double checked with an alternate authority.  

Intelligence

Access to sources and experts sets CAG apart from other groups out there.  For our members, we have vetted experts who either are nationally recognized or are leaders in their disciplines and communities.  These experts come in with the knowledge that they are there as a reference and teaching resource and are willing to answer any questions that may relate to their expertise.  

All are welcome

Most importantly here is what we ARE NOT!!  

We are a-political we do not endorse any one political belief.  

The same goes for lifestyle and religious preferences.  How you want to live your life is your business.  So long as it's within the limits of the law go for it.  We won't judge and our members will accept your preferences.  We ask that it not become points of contention publicly or on our social media platforms.  Violations of this policy are taken offline and dealt with accordingly and quickly.

 

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Setting up a Kitchen

Walking through our kitchen set up

In reading the blogs and the posts on some of the websites there is a predominate thought of going out and purchasing a bunch of food and caching it away to be used when needed counting on the fact that the company who produced the food knows exactly what you need or what your preferences may be.  I have read some who have planned down to the how many AAA batteries they will need but post on their list “60 days of food” like its just a thing to checkmark.   Or they will be happy to talk about how much time they spend at the range but never about proper methods of how they intend to feed their family.  While it isn’t sexy and it is not as much fun as a day at the range it certainly is a key component to our success. Working from experience, Katrina and Andrew relief feedings, when people are in a stressful or out of their routine environment that they will eat differently, process foods differently and generally be more apt to slip into a state of existing depression.   We would all like to think that we are going to be able to rise above it.  Find that inner resolve to not let what’s going on around us affect us and that may be the case.  But think about those who are around us, our children, mom and dad, or spouses who may be looking at having just lost everything.  We will need to find ways to improve our resolve, lift the spirits of those around us, and generally keep morale up.  One of the best ways to do this is by creating that comforting environment that is sitting and sharing a meal together.  During the Katrina feedings something as simple as a chocolate oatmeal no bake cookie would bring smiles all around.  Fresh fruit was another source of simple pure delight.  We must take a moment and look at who we are feeding and what are we feeding them. The scenarios of what could happen are endless so I won’t get into a debate of what if this or what if that.  I will be going off the premise that we will need to be working for 90 days with little to no assistance, public utilities wont be available and minimal movement is going to be needed.    There are others in our group far more qualified to speak of how to exist while in transit than me.  Also those who are more experienced with going off the grid will be able to add to this conversation with their personal experiences and best practices.  I know we would welcome any and all input. It is my hope that this will act as a conversation starter and possibly kick in some ideas that maybe some have not thought about.  What it will not do is act as a drop in matrix for your meal planning.  Only you and your group can do that.  What works with my group would not work with a group who is living on a farm and working with minimal public utility support.  Relying on a self-sufficient farm makes things a whole lot easier than counting on a larger box retailer to build your stores.   Also the ability to be adaptable is going to help ensure success.  So don’t feel like you need to think about every item down to the last kernel of corn. Meal plan mistakes One of the mistakes that are often made stems from making assumptions about what we are going to prepare.  Food kits are purchased and cached away.  The knowledge of what’s in that cache are never tested or tried.   Questions we should be asking.  What else do I need to produce this? What equipment is needed to produce this? And finally, Do the people who are going to eat this like it? What else do I need to produce this? Are there other ingredients needed?  Researching some of the products that are out there say they only require water to be added, however reading the instructions you see improvement suggestions like adding dry milk or a meat bouillon.  However, those are not included.  Just a couple of improvements in your stores will pay dividends down the road. What equipment is needed to produce this? Obviously we are going to be cooking and more likely than not we are going to be cooking for a group.  This is going to require assistance from those around us.  What’s in our kitchen?  Do we have a prep area and the equipment necessary?  Knives, cutting boards, bowls, cooking utensils, pots and pans.  Cooking area, do we have ways to handle hot pans?  What about serving utensils.  This may seem to be overly prepared but when we are a week into our situation the organization and planning will be rewarded.  More on that later.  Finally, what are we doing for cleaning up afterwards.  Professional kitchens use a method of a three compartment cleaning system.  Again more on that later. I hate dried enchiladas!!! Do we like what we are eating?  More to the point does our group like what they are eating.  My group currently has a three-year-old in it and let me tell you when she is unhappy we are all unhappy.  We will be dealing with enough stress as it is, so minimizing the impact on our group is important.  How do we find out what’s going to keep those people happy and what’s not?  Start introducing these items in our everyday menus now.  The purpose of this is beneficial in multiple ways.  First it gets us familiar with the product.  We don’t want to be finding out that there is a technique in preparation that we are unfamiliar with.  Or that the items burn quickly and we burned it when there are hungry mouths looking at you and you just wasted a days’ worth of food when food is limited.  Second it gives everyone a chance to have their input in the food.  Do you want more hot sauce; would it be better with a little ketchup.  Make notes and put that in your cache.  Finally, it becomes familiar, if we are used to eating it from time to time then when we see it in again it’s a comfort to us. Know your eaters Who are we feeding?  Mom? Dad? My son who is a defensive lineman on the football team and his two best friends?  An infant? A toddler? My neighbor who is a diabetic?  Are we big eaters?  Does anyone have allergies?  Health issues that require feeding at certain times.  All things to think about and plan for. How do you plan a cycle menu for 12 weeks accommodating everyone’s needs?  Easy you don’t!!!  If we are feeding 8 people three meals a day that’s having to think about 168 meals a week.  Quite daunting!!  But let’s break that down. Let say we are feeding the following people in a late summer fall environment.  The menu plan will work anytime year round.  However, in the summer there will be tendency to drift toward a cooler breakfast item. Our Group 39 yo Male: Heavy eater no allergies Spouse 36 yo: Heavy eater shellfish allergy Son 14 yo: Heavy eater no allergies Daughter 3 yo: particular eater and only eats when hungry Mom 60 yo: moderate eater vegetarian Uncle 61 yo: Heavy Eater particular Aunt 61 yo: Small eater vegetarian   Menu Planning Breakfast:  given choice rehydrated fruit, oatmeal or any hot breakfast cereal, powdered breakfast drink, coffee, or tea Once a week quick baked (none yeast) baked breakfast sweet bread: muffins or coffee cake Producing 24 ea. rotating flavors every week Once a week quick baked savory bread option bacon cheese stuffed biscuits Producing 24 each rotating ingredients every week Once a week produce a larger breakfast that will coincide with a lighter lunch Lunch:  Lunch needs to be a heavier meal.  Lower on the carbs heavier on the proteins. Tortillas! They work well with anything and they are small can be abused and hold well in room temp. Plus they’re easy to make Rice: Billions in the orient eat it every day.  Start looking at the proteins from last night’s dinner and infuse it into today’s lunch rice or pasta.  For the vegetarians it’s easy enough to set some cooked carb aside and add the non-meat ingredients to it.  Or set it up buffet style and let everyone choose. In order to up the protein add fat.  Olive oil is a great source.  If they will let you add bacon or dripping fat to the rice.  Who knows your meat eaters may flock towards this as well? This also might be the time to start thinking about keeping candy bars in your cache.  They hold for long periods of time.  Heck we are in mid Feb here and still eating Halloween candy.  Feb 15 is a great day to go out and stock pile on candy.  IW (individually wrapped) is best and keep it simple.  Plus, the candy will double as ingredients to the occasional dessert you may want to have now and then. Dinner:  End of Day for some beginning of the day for others  This is the meal we need to be thinking a couple of days out.  Can tonights meal be used over the next two days for multiple uses.  For example tonight its roasted pork butt, roasted potatoes, stewed carrots.  Tomorrow can I make the potatoes into a vinegar based potato salad, the carrots can be used to make carrot muffins and can the pork be used in lunch with ketchup and Worcestershire sauce (bbq sauce) to make bbq pork burritos?    Always have a plan with the leftovers. Nutritionals This could be a doctoral thesis all on its own.  And we are only scratching the surface here.  If there is interest more can be said and probably should. Foraging, lots of benefits in foraging product is at its highest nutritional value, there is usually a fair amount around and it gives those who would normally not have a task something to do.  It should not be considered a sole source in obtaining food though.  With the exception of late fall, winter and early spring there is one item we find almost anywhere.  One of the items most common leafy edibles in the North Americas is dandelions.  Dandelion is a very rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. This flowering plant is also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. It’s a good place to get B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even some vitamin D too. Dandelion also contains protein, more than spinach. It has been eaten for thousands of years as a food and as a medicine to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression.(source sunwarrior.com) Dandelion roots are also a great source for making tea.  In the early spring the blooms make a great addition to your oatmeal in the morning. Getting your younger team members to go out a forage for dandelion leaves and bringing them back adding a little vinegar and bacon fat or olive oil makes for a great salad.  They can be a bit bitter so think about adding some dried fruit.  Also it does cook well and makes a good addition to the pastas and rice dishes we spoke of earlier Honey is another source of nutrition and amazing health benefits.  Recommendations on this would be to source locally.  There are some manufactures that will advertise honey but looking closer you will notice its an ingredient and usually corn syrup is added. The properties in this little ingredient are nothing short of amazing.  It holds for a long time too.  Casks have been found in the Egyptian tombs and opened to find it still usable.  The health benefits include allegry alleviant, energy booster, memory booster, cough suppressant and a sleep aid. There is research that shows honey has antibacterial and antiseptic properties.  So multi-purpose and it tastes great we should have gallons of this stuff around!!! Safety Safety Safety Food Safety and cross contamination are a huge problem in any catastrophic scenario.  Dysentery, Giardia, salmonella, and E.coli are all common in disaster areas and directly linked to food cross contamination. A heightened sense of awareness and a few extra precautions is all that’s needed to eliminate most of these common issues. Hand wipes:  Baby wipes are fine.  Costco and Sams have them in bulk cases.  Keep them at the entrance to the kitchen/dining area and make sure everyone cleans their hand with one.  If you have hand sanitizer that’s great use it.  But when handling food we need a friction scrubbing method to remove particles from our hands.  Hand sanitizer just partially sterilizes the debris already on your hands and isn’t 100% effective. Nitrile Gloves: Powder free - latex free usually come 12 boxes to a case.  Great for handling any food.  Another layer of the contamination prevention.  Changing often, or when soiled and when changing duties.  Cleaning vegetable and now starting to clean meat? Change your gloves.  Got batter on your hands and now want to start frying dough?  Change your gloves.  Breaking down an animal?  Change gloves often to prevent the meat from getting contaminated.  If this all seems excessive it probably is but the alternative is that you poison your whole team.  We need to be cautious at every turn. Dish Soap: Its recommended a gallon a week for our scenario.  Antibacterial, lightly scented or no scent.  Dawn antibacterial is very affordable and easily found. Hand towels and other paper products: Try thinking about keeping a large supply of paper towels around.  Not only works as napkins but also for spill clean ups.  Also the one use and throw into the burn pile will also work as a preventative to cross contamination. Same thing for paper plates.  Some would argue that this is producing too much trash and that its not viable environmentally.  That would be a cause for concern however when dealing in what will be a bacteria filled cross contamination rich scenario it would make sense to limit what needs to be cleaned and washed.  So long as we are disposing of the trash in an appropriate way, burning, then we have minimized the problem.  Another alternative would be to have everyone have their own eating vessels.  We will need to make sure that we have set up an appropriate cleaning area for everyone to clean their issue.  More on the cleaning area and set up later Silverware would be up to the group but far less is needed to wash silverware versus plates and bowls. Cups again a preference thing.  Most should have their own drinking vessels and maintain it themselves. Setting up a safe kitchen First zone out your kitchen.  Establish where things are to come in and go out.  Think of it this way.  A group member brought down a deer.  Do you want that deer being processed on the same table everyone is eating on later?  Probably not.  Its imperative that there be a prep area, easily cleaned and away from the serving area.   The kitchen or food production area should have its own area and again be kept away from the prep area. The kitchen should be limited to kitchen personnel only.  Tromping through the kitchen in muddy or dirty clothing does not make for safe eating.  Setting up your kitchen is situational in its approach.  It should be centrally located.  Easily accessed, plenty of ventilation and plenty of light.  Depending on the situation we are working in indoors is preferred but covered or tented is a must.  During Katrina the remote crews were working under tailgate tents on table tops with Coleman two burner stoves.  And they were feeding 300 meals a day. Keeping it clean A crucial area is the “dishroom”  This is actually the easiest.  We need three buckets or large tubs 18x24 in would be ideal.  First tub is filled with soapy water, doesn’t necessarily need to be warm water.  The second tub should be clean water.  Potable would be preferred but isn’t crucial.  Just make sure its from a safe source.  Third tub needs to be clean potable water with 1 tsp of bleach to 1 gal of water.  For this setup we will need a couple of other items to help with this.  A large trash can. A spatual, a couple of green scrub pads, can buy them in bulk at any restaurant supply store and a rack or table to allow for drying. The garbage can, is what it is, the spatula is used to scrape as much debris as possible off any and all dishes.  Sorting the food scraps also makes for a great source of animal feed. Cleaning the dishes pre-wash will lengthen the time the soapy water can be used before changing out.  Scrub the dishes and make sure every area is touched inside and out.  Using your hands wipe down the excess soap back into the tub.  Tub 2 is the rinse tub and will require a quick dump of the dishes.  The third is the sanitizing tub all dishes must be submerged for at least 20 seconds. This will allow the bleach to do its job.  Drying is also crucial.  All items must be stored upside down to allow the water to run off and dry out.  Excess moisture promotes bacteria and mold growth and that’s not good. Trash needs to be removed immediately and away from the food area.  Remove the temptation of bugs varmints and other undesirables. Lots to digest hear.  We will hopefully break it down more in the discussions and hopefully more articles on team support and food preparation ideas....  

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Vehicle drills. Are you ready for the road?

In the prepper world we talk a lot about bug out vehicles or BOVs, so I'm asking do you have a plan for when things go wrong while you're on the go? Have you rehearsed? Id like to give you some direction, food for thought on some easy to practice drills at home.In the prepper world we talk a lot about bug out vehicles or BOVs, so I'm asking do you have a plan for when things go wrong while you're on the go? Have you rehearsed? Id like to give you some direction, food for thought on some easy to practice drills at home. By no means is this an effort at explaining all of the things you need to know, but this article should at least fuel your desire to find the right training for you and your family. Single Vehicles
  1. Dead driver drill: Practice what to do if the driver of your vehicle suddenly (or violently) goes limp and the vehicle is still in motion. The passenger needs to take control of the wheel, and if need be, the pedals to get the vehicle out of harms way. Make sure you're practicing calling on the radio or cell phone for help!
  2. Dead driver recovery: Ok, now your vehicle is out of harms way but your not safe at home yet. You need to find a way to get the driver over to the passenger side of the car in a hurry, so you can run around and assume a permanent seat behind the driver controls.Make sure you're practicing calling on the radio or cell phone for help! [wpvideo XyuymUTz]
  3. Mobility kill: Oh snap your vehicle is disabled! Make sure you practice keeping your body below the dashboard as you maneuver and try to stay out of the line of fire. You wont just be casually unbuckling and getting out of the car... Then where do you go next and how do you get there? Ill give you a hint, it looks like bounding over watch and breaking contact. [wpvideo WylmmrHk]
  4. Vehicle Fire: When you have your BOV loaded out with all of your essentials, it pays to have a fire suppression plan to either salvage the vehicle or recover the gear.Make sure you're practicing calling on the radio or cell phone for help!
  5. Shooting from a vehicle: Its confined and people will be close. What fire control measures will you put in place? If the driver is shot, and you the passenger are going to shoot over them it pays to hold them down so they don't hop in your line of fire if they're in pain. Make sure you don't shoot the actual vehicle itself. We've all seen videos of people who have shot their own trucks because they didn't account for hold off in their optics...
Multiple vehicles (Convoy). In addition to the drills above consider:
  1. Vehicle towing: Both in hostile and non hostile environments. With multiple vehicles make sure you gear is compatible and EVERYONE knows the hook up points.
  2. Casualty loading: This is assuming you are adjusting the personnel load outs to configure for a casualty. What happens when the driver of vehicle 1 gets shot? Who's taking over what position and who is loading the patient into the dedicated med truck. During the crisis isn't the time to be discussing your seating arrangement...
  3. Vehicle blocking: Will you attempt to use one vehicle to body block for another during a firefight? This could make sense to your group if you get a mobility kill during a firefight, and need to offload your people or download critical gear.
  4. Resource disbursement: We all know don't put all of your eggs into a single basket. Where and how will you distribute fuel, food and water? Once this is worked out, rehearse sustainment with that configuration to make sure its functional and not just OCD organized on paper.
  5. Communication plans: Make sure you have separate channels for mounted and dismounted operations. Its not good enough to say we will either all be mounted or on foot. Stuff happens and people need to walk to clear paths, do a recon, render aid the list goes on.... You don't want the details of the casualty care to interfere with vehicles ability to coordinate on the move. This could needlessly delay your vehicles response to the very casualty you're trying to recover...
The list goes on... In your search to find and acquire training make sure you are prioritizing the things that matter. We all want to curve bullets around trees and corners like a ninja but we only have a finite amount of time and resources available. Finding the right balance between tactics, marksmanship and contingency skills is what will make you the well rounded and ready leader you need to be.

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If you're interested, join CAG or take a few of our classes and see where it goes. I wish you luck, demand that you ask questions and as always thank you! [caption id="attachment_981" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Firearms, Tactical & Defense Training Firearms, Tactical & Defense Training[/caption]
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An Upcoming Titan, Part 2: The Atibal Sights MCRD Range Day Review

Here it is folks. The range day AAR on the Atibal Sights MCRD. Told a Marine buddy what I was up to. He insisted on participating. "You bring your toys, I'll bring mine." Hell, done deal. Get the chance to destroy stuff wholesale in the name of "T&E" and chill with a brother? Done. First run, we talked it out. Are we going to plunge this thing off of a 50ft cliff? No. We are going to test it under conditions we consider to be NORMAL prepper/shooter usage. Reality based evaluation as we do with all things. Grabbed gear, weaps and kit. Tossed it in the rig and drove the back gravel roads.

[gallery columns="4" size="medium" ids="1883,1882,1884,1886"] Got to the range for a two part experiment. Using a YHM EOTech mount, attached the sight to a JRC 9mm carbine I bought and hopped up a bit. Using the YHM base will keep the sight stably mounted and allow for the multiple weapons we were going to beat this sight with. Took it the range and got in a solid zero at 25m. Took 10rds and a few adjustments. Easy to do with the way the sight is set up. We decided to use the MCRD's built in light sensor as we were going to move from overhead cover into direct sun. Put 300rds of 9mm through once zero was established. Zero malfunctions and the MCRD confidently held zero - no questions asked. Played around a bit more and called it a day. The real test yet to come. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="1887,1890"] Came back on Day 2 with "The Pile" ready to put this little thing through it's paces. It's going to earn it's keep today or it's headed back, head hung in shame. Dismounted the sight and placed it first on the FN TP12ga followed by my friend's 870 Custom. We put over what must have been 100 rounds through the shotguns during various drills. The MCRD is not going to be changed for zero. We just wanted to see where it would be after beating on it all day. We used 00 buck for the most part, but transitioned out to 25m targets using slugs. It's almost as if the sight enjoys punishment. We both anticipated it to start blinking out or somehow die. Not today? Ok, then. Let's move on. You're going on the AK next. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="1889,1884"] Placed the sight next on the Arsenal SAM7R. POUNDED ammo to this thing. Fired an estimated 250 rounds, treating the Arsenal the way an AK usually gets treated. No changes this time, either. Using the AK's already mounted scope rail and moving some parts around (as you can see), the MCRD still running strong at the end of the available AK ammo. Hmph. Still won't die, eh? We'll just see about that. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="1888,1891"] Next on deck was my AR. Had a half dozen magazines to go through. Made the changeover and commenced the beating. A few hours and a few bottles of water later, the MCRD continues to impress. So now the question is: "Did it survive the day?"  Time to reattach it to the JRC and see whether this thing is worthy of going in the kit. Swapped over and conducted zero check. Well, damn. Looks like the new kid is here to stay. Proof is in the pudding. A few shots just for the sake of it. Then using available real estate on the target to see what's what. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="1895,1894"] This sight is without doubt one of the best up and comers I'm aware of. I honestly fully expected this thing to fail. We were NOT nice to it. Boasting a LIFETIME warranty, where can you go wrong? I'm very eagerly looking forward to seeing Atibal Sight's next offering. If it's in the same ballpark as the MCRD, I'll be coming back here to tell you. Here at Crisis Application Group, we KNOW that people aren't made from money. Every dollar counts. This is what initially drew my attention to Atibal. I consider it time well spent and I'm confident you will, too.

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The plan is to revisit this subject in six months to see where this sight is then. My bet is still going strong. We shall see. www.atibalsights.com [caption id="attachment_981" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Firearms, Tactical & Defense Training Firearms, Tactical & Defense Training[/caption]

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Blinded by the light!

We get asked constantly. Which weapon light is the right one for me? Well, that depends on you and your needs more than anything. There are just as many makers as there are opinions. We are at this time, not sponsored by nor compensated in any way to endorse any company's product so what you will read will be 100% based on experience and actual usage. Weapon lights come in every imaginable shape, size and configuration. You are just as sure to hear as much snobbery over lights as you are the weapons they go on, caliber and every other thing. Bottom line - you have to be honest with yourself. Be willing to admit your weaknesses and buy the right tool to enhance your capabilities and not just up your "cool factor". If you spent $500 on the latest super-rig because people look at it with envy on the range, you are screwing yourself. How is that light going to help you in the middle if the night when you get up to respond to the noise that terrified your family?Weapon lights. Which one and why.

lightsystems

We get asked constantly. Which weapon light is the right one for me? Well, that depends on you and your needs more than anything. There are just as many makers as there are opinions. We are at this time, not sponsored by nor compensated in any way to endorse any company's product so what you will read will be 100% based on experience and actual usage. Weapon lights come in every imaginable shape, size and configuration. You are just as sure to hear as much snobbery over lights as you are the weapons they go on, caliber and every other thing. Bottom line - you have to be honest with yourself. Be willing to admit your weaknesses and buy the right tool to enhance your capabilities and not just up your "cool factor". If you spent $500 (or more) on the latest super-rig because people look at it with envy on the range, you are screwing yourself. How is that light going to help you in the middle if the night when you get up to respond to the noise that terrified your family?

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Here are some things to consider: Most makers offer a wide range of "lumen" selection. Now, lumens are subjective. What is 200lm from one maker may only amount to 100 in another or be more like 350 to yet another. Best thing really is to ask your sales rep to let you TRY it. Any good sales place should have a demo model to let you see the actual output. Remembering that when you rise from being deeply asleep, your eyes have not had sufficient time to adjust to current light conditions. What you are looking for as an average user is a healthy balance. The 150lm to 300lm range is usually more than sufficient. The phenomena of "bounce back" is where your emitted light reflects back off of your white walls or other surfaces in your home and does just as much damage to your night vision as the intruder's. No bueno. Being able to positively ID a threat without cooking him via white light output is your end goal. Mounting hardware. How does the light attach to your weapon? Will it easily switch between rifle/pistol? Are you looking for a dedicated, weapon-specific platform? Are you on a budget and need one light to go back and forth with? All points that need to be decided before you buy. The simple act of being honest with yourself will not only save you money, but guarantee that when that moment comes...you're properly equipped to meet the threat head on. Are tools needed? Is the mount solid and free of wiggle? Tape switches or otherwise remote activation? How does the switch feel? Is it located comfortably? Ergonomics play a critical role in weapon manipulation, especially in high stress scenarios. [gallery columns="4" ids="1722,1723,1724,1725"] Batteries! Good Lord, the nightmare of batteries. We all love the high-powered lights, but damn...do they ever eat those CR123's. And considering that they typically run around $30/dozen IF you can find them...it might be worth considering another option. There are options out there that run on more widely available batteries is again money is not pouring out of a fountain for you. Sometimes, the most expensive is not always the best option. Don't rule out the good old handheld light. They still have their place. From the prepper's perspective, you may only be trying to stock one or two types of batteries. It may simply not be conducive to try and become Battery Central. Point to consider in your long term planning.

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LED vs. conventional? Frankly? LED all the way, IMO. Better light quality. Significantly longer battery life. Better beam projection. Simply superior in every way. The problem of older type bulbs simply put: They FAIL. At the WORST possible moment. And they are usually not cheap to replace on reputable light systems. Models with any respectable output might be near as expensive to buy a new bulb as to simply buy a lesser expensive light from a different maker. "Throw" refers to how far a light will project it's beam from the bezel. Are you looking more for a flood beam or a spot beam? Is infrared something you are looking for? Some lights are also equipped with aiming lasers. Some people would shun this. I'm not one of them. Not everyone in the world just retired from DEVGRU and has hundreds of hours in complex low/no light weapons training. ANY advantage that can guarantee you are landing ordnance on your ID'd threat and not an innocent...is INSURANCE. Both morally and legally. There is an inherent value to a laser in certain situations. Is it going to invite an involuntary bowel evacuation from your attacker? Likely not. Be he/she for DAMNED sure is going to think twice. Think about it. The most elite, highly skilled operators in the world still use aiming lasers. Point taken? Remember that as always, here at Crisis Application Group we can CUSTOM TAILOR courses to meet your individual needs. Not every question can be addressed via internet blog. Not every gunfight can be easily dissected and explained away at a keyboard. You have to invest the mental sweat equity to TRAIN your BRAIN to be ready for the threat. Gear HELPS. But it does not solve everything. The Warrior Mind is what must be developed in order to achieve victory. We can and will help you with that. [caption id="attachment_981" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Firearms, Tactical & Defense Training Firearms, Tactical & Defense Training[/caption]
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TACTICOOL!

Are you letting your desire for awesome outweigh your skill? In case you haven't figured it out yet, we have a tendency around here to kinda not hold back. Such is the nature of our profession. Tonight's discussion is regarding a personal pet peeve of mine. All of those guys out there who let their wallets outrun their brains...and their skill sets...and chase that ever present demon. TACTICOOL! In the firearm community, it never fails that when you host a class there are some people who show up predestined to fail. There is always at least ONE person who shows up (besides the loads of completely normal students) with at least one of the following of the two self-inflicted deficiencies: 1. "The Commando". The guy who spent $10k on a full-on arsenal and has NO idea WTF to do with it all. But BOY, is he quick to tell you everything there is to know about it! And correct you as the instruction cadre about anything you may have to say about it. and... 2. "The New Guy". This guy is actually PREFERABLE over guy Number 1, frankly. He's the guy that just bought his first Glock and only had enough left over for a Hi Point carbine that takes the same ammo. Guy Number 1 is taking great relish is ripping on him relentlessly, but that's ok. We'll get to that shortly. This guy is not necessarily an issue, but has confidence issues that need to be addressed immediately, as that Hi Point is overloaded with a ton of crap that is going to hurt more than help.

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Bottom line is this: Not everyone is made from money. Not everyone is made from common sense, either. If people were to invest equal amounts of capital in their training as their gear, we'd all be a hell of a lot better off. It's unfortunate that shooters will spend money on vast amounts of equipment but fail to invest in the mental tool box. Having the toys but not the talent is a tragic disservice. The failure is not only in gear investment. It comes in the form of personal failure as well. Going online and buying a set of DVD's and attempting to repeat the motions until you feel you "can do it as well as he can" is just as foolish. There are literally mountains of scenarios that can present themselves that could endanger the shooter or others around him/her. Simply repeating the drills does not teach the importance of WHY the drills exist. Nor does it teach the developing shooter the importance of how the drill affects their skill set in the long run. Next in the string of failure is the "youtube trainer". Inevitably, there are those guys that have spent hours on youtube watching every "trainer" there is believing that they now have unlocked "Operator" status and are now fully "trained up" simply from having seen these videos. They've listened to all these "pros" and they've learned enough lingo that they might even be able to keep up in a conversation for a short while. These people will get weeded out very quickly when the shooting starts. You are not going to truly learn anything of any significant value by watching youtube videos. You may learn what NOT to do. You may learn how to locate a reputable trainer. But watching videos is not training. Anyone that tells you otherwise is going to get you injured/killed.

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Overcompensation is yet another failure in the long string of "Operator Headspace". Letting your wallet outrun your skill set. If you have NO prior experience, why are you buying a $2k AR with an additional $2k of strap on toys you don't know how to use? Because you are going to learn how? Would not it be wiser to invest in a base model rifle and some classes with a professional instructor? Learn to basics and develop a set of solid fundamentals and then consider upgrading your gear once you are fully competent as a shooter? You can have all of the best gear on the planet, but if you can't establish a baseline zero that gear isn't going to amount to a squirt of piss. And truthfully, you are running the risk of doing more harm then good. Here's another fantasy destroyed. Just because someone "was in the military", does NOT mean they are qualified to instruct you in marksmanship/defensive arts. The US Armed Forces arms standards are not all they're cracked up to be, frankly. Not all of the military are Combat Arms people and not all who were are Expert Marksman and not all who were are truly "Warriors" in the literal sense of the word. This is not to impugn the integrity of our military personnel in any way, but facts are facts. You want your money to count for something. You want to know that the guy "training" you for the gun fight for your very life wasn't the slacker who scored the career "pizza box" on the range. You want that one guy... So, to that guy who is just getting started and is on a budget and doesn't know where to start. I hope you'll take this to heart. Start here by knowing that you need to invest in the MENTAL TOOL BOX first. We can help you with that. Forget Tacticool. Heed the following and let it sink in. And let the moron Guy Number 1 continue being broke but looking cool while making an ass of himself while doing so. We all know the difference. Don't make the mistake of spending money on gear or training you don't need. Crisis Application Group stands behind the curriculum we produce. We stand behind our staff. We stand behind our philosophy. And we're not going to attempt to sell you something that isn't going to benefit you. We're not here to teach you how to fight a war you're not going to be in. We're here to teach you how to win. To win the fight you may find yourself in. To THINK past the fight someone may inadvertently place you in against your will. This may or may not require specialized gear. High dollar weapons or optics. That will depend 100% on YOU. [caption id="attachment_981" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Firearms, Tactical & Defense Training Firearms, Tactical & Defense Training[/caption]
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Alternate Bug Out: The Georgia waterways!

You’re sitting in traffic on a Friday afternoon, on I285 at the Chattahoochee River. Do you even notice the rolling waters? Think of fishing this weekend? Maybe grabbing a tube and a cooler of beer? Why not plan an alternate to bugging out using the river systems of Georgia? I know… I know….. It sounds crazy. But hear me out. There are 70,150 miles of streams and rivers in Georgia. By default, most Georgians live close to one of these rivers or boat-able streams. They were used for hundreds of years for commerce. The average river flows about 1 mile per hour, slow I know, but better than sitting in gridlock. I’ve seen bug out bags and bug out vehicles, and they are all really good. But, what happens when fuel runs out? During the last fuel scare in Georgia (after Katrina 2005) there were long lines and ‘no fuel’ scenarios throughout the state. Gas stations only stock enough fuel for the customers they expect for a few days. If we should get another mass run to the gas pump, we will be out of fuel again in a few hours. Also consider a natural disaster; with “snow jam”, the roads were impassible. Never mind a typical Friday afternoon rush-hour, those are the worst! If everyone hits the road at once, the city will be at a standstill. Now, don’t think “I’ll jump in my $40,000 Ranger bass boat and hit the river”. You could, but you will be sunk by dark! Have a ready plan and the right gear. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just worthy.  Do your homework on canoes. Too long and it won’t maneuver; too short and it won’t hold enough, or track straight. I have an Old Town, 15’8”, two-man canoe with an empty carry weight of 80lbs. But it can hold up to 1150lbs, loaded with equipment and people. They are easily found on Craigslist and not too high priced. The gear to load them out would take too long. Just remember, if it’s a necessity, bring two. But even before looking into a boat, there are two items that are really important. They are books (ugh... reading!). First, the book “Canoeing & Kayaking Georgia” has really useful info for every river in the state. The class of river (rapids – try to keep at class II or below), distance, and what to expect.  Did you know that on the Etowah River, just below the Allatoona Dam, there is an old dam that has to be portage on the right? If you read the book you will know. It is found online and in bookstores. The other is the fishing regulations in Georgia. They have a chart for what fish are safe to eat, and the suggested intake per week/month. This is found online and at Sporting Goods stores. I could keep going…. But I’m going out to practice my bow….
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Most preppers are doing it wrong!

According to results from a study conducted by Michael Mills, a PhD candidate from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, most preppers are white, Christian leaning, conservative, have a degree, live in rural small town areas and are prepping for economic collapse. The next reason for prepping was "All Others". Who knows what that entails but I assume between Economic Collapse (33.3%), Major Natural Disaster (18.7%), All Others (26%) and Civil/International War (3.3%) there must be some martial law, looters, government oppression and general chaos involved. With only 8.3% of preppers living in cities those populations will be woefully unprepared to say the least. Suburbanites account for 33.3% of preppers, the highest of any group. However, if you lump rural and small towns together, after all, it's basically the same category, the numbers reach 52.9%. It is estimated that there are about 3+ million preppers in the US, or less than 1% of the US population. I find that hard to believe. There are a lot of preppers that avoid the moniker for fear of being stereotyped in a category that includes Neo Nazis, Black Panthers, Tin Foil Hatters and the like. Folks like those in the Back to the Land movement, organic and self - sufficient gardeners and farmers, along with a host of others that shy away from the term and do not get included in the numbers. Green Beret moderated forum for only $1 a month! As Green Berets, we have actually lived in just about any SHTF venue there is,  like Economic collapse, failed states, natural disasters, power black outs, famine.... the list goes on. We see time and time again how conjecture has polluted the sense of what to expect. Even now, many people look at a crisis on television, and say to themselves, it will be different here.... Reality is a B*#$@H. In this article, we try and take an objective look at what the current division among preppers looks like through the lens of experienced and seasoned world travelers.  Inside the prepper world there are 5 types:  The Tacticool Prepper: Buys a slew of guns, ammo and enough tactical gear to make a Tier 1 Operator look like he's wearing pajamas and carrying a pellet gun. This guy is the one to watch out for! He's going to become a looter and take your preps! [caption id="attachment_1189" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Look ma! Im an assaulter, just like on TV! Look ma! Im an assaulter, just like on TV![/caption] The Conscientious Objector: Buys a ton of bulk foods and seed bank supplies, grows some food but thinks guns are scary and evil. Tacticool Prepper and the Concientious Objector will meet each other or the unprepared  masses soon after SHTF. The stronger force will prevail. [caption id="attachment_1183" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Thank you for gathering MY food supplies! Thank you for gathering MY food supplies![/caption] The Balanced Prepper: Buys some guns and ammo, buys a year's worth of bland bulk foods and beanie weenies. Gets tired of wheatberries and jerkey just in time to get looted by Tacticool. In a long term crisis he will eventually either get looted by a superior force or run out of food, at which point he will die or become a looter himself. [caption id="attachment_1184" align="aligncenter" width="300"]I will be the one who defies all of human history! I will be the one who defies all of human history![/caption] The Practical Prepper: Buys some guns, ammo and bulk food but begins a journey towards self-sufficiency. Takes classes on canning, field craft, medicine, commo, marksmanship, tactics and becomes an overall jack of all trades. He trains regularly and his family is familiar with the art of combat and how to live like a homesteader. Several skilled friends and their families plan to bug out to him in a crisis.  Or maybe he bugs out to someone like him but with more land and resources. In the end, they are no match for hardened looters craving food and supplies. There are simply not enough of them to maintain their existence and maintain the vigilance required to fight off any threats. Take my family of 4 as an example. We consist of one male with 16 years in Special Forces and a huge skill set from farming to nation building, a female with some firearms training and homestead skills, one male with 3 years in Artillery and double that as a Call of Duty  warrior, a 14 y/o that has some tactical training and Call of Duty virtual combat and a 3 y/o. There is no way we can sustain the farm and hold off looters for a prolonged length of time.

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[caption id="attachment_40" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Member training! Diversified[/caption] The SF minded prepper: Makes a conscious decision to seek out like minded individuals that share the same belief system. If he can't find those people in his immediately area, he moves to them and sets up shop as a Practical Prepper mentioned above. A community of practical preppers, living a normal life, independent of each other yet close enough to protect and help each other through any event from a tornado to martial law, they will survive and thrive. Prior to any event they have worked and trained together to ensure they have all the skills and tools necessary. They have developed what is known in the Special Forces world as an auxiliary force. That is, a local force or network that can provide logistics and support because they have a vested interest in doing so. Between them, there are enough able bodied trained individuals to ward off all but a trained Infantry Battalion by using unconventional tactics. They don't flaunt themselves in surplus store fatigues and gear, they blend in and out when necessary. [caption id="attachment_913" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Relax learning atmosphere with small groups Relax learning atmosphere with small groups[/caption] That is why we emphasize the sustainable aspect of prepping. Not everyone can own a farm and hold down a job, I get it. Now is the time to network. Now is the time to practice those skills on your half acre plot in the subdivision. It does no good to load your bugout bag with nothing but ammo and a bag of jerky. You need a knife and the skills to sustain yourself with other food sources when the jerky runs out. It's not about gear, it's about skills and community. LOGO PNG

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Whats enough food? The new prepper neurosis!

This seems to be the new preppers million dollar question...

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When you're just starting out, buying a years worth of freeze-dried food isn't financially feasible and learning to extreme coupon is going to take you a year or two to master. Most new preppers don't have the preservation skills to get ready in a timely fashion, so what to do in the mean time? I'll briefly cover some strategy then go into some basic recommendations. Begin by breaking your food down into basic categories: Perishable, Non Perishable and Staples. When we say perishable, we mean it requires an active power source to maintain its edibility like meat, milk and eggs. Non perishable think dry boxed goods and cans and staples being bulk rice and beans that can be stored for years if sealed properly.

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Naturally all food expires but these categories make it easy to form a plan. The trick in planning is finding a good balance in which to rotate foods that expire early, with foods that last a while to get the most out of the good stuff. What I mean, add a cup of staple rice to a regular meal, this fills you up and cuts down on the amount of yummy stuff required per meal, and ensures your using the early expiration products in good time. By supplementing with staple foods, you effectively stretch a weeks worth of food into 2 or maybe even 3 weeks. Of course there are a thousand ways to skin this cat, but we have found this formula is easy to learn and doesn't require a lot of extreme couponing or food preservation skills to start using. We know this is a lot, but Per Person:
  • 3 days of perishable food in the fridge or freezer
  • 3 weeks of non perishable food in the pantry
  • 6 months of staple foods -or-
    • 1 cup of rice AND beans a day -or- 90lbs of rice and 90lbs of beans
  • 2 gallons a day (that's cooking, drinking and hygiene), or 360 gallons (yeah right! But that's how much you'll need!). This is almost universally where people fall short....
Notice we didn't say meals or calories a day...Take the next few days to write down exactly how many meals your actually eating, add 5% in case you have to do extra work then go from there...We don't expect everyone to get here, but having a clearly defined set of planning goals allows you to factor in shortages and plan for variables like "guests". Food-Safety-Tip-How-to-Pack-a-Cooler The strategy: Most outages and weather crisis last between 2-4 days on average, so stocking up on frozen and chilled foods may go to waste after a few days if you don't have back up power. It helps to have coolers handy but you're still on borrowed time. The non perishable dry and canned foods will carry you thru statistically most "major" local scenarios. Having 6 months worth of bare bones survival staples is your ace up the sleeve should things take longer than expected. It's not great but at least you know you'll survive. Once you have achieved this BARE minimum standard, now you can start to play with food in a bucket or all the various other purchasing schemes to shore up your obviously plain Jane survival menu, but for now at least...You'll be ok. This is very achievable on most budgets. It may take time to accumulate, but most people can make it to this goal. I usually just get a few extra cans, plus 1 bag of rice and beans per trip to the store. It adds up quick.

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The real key to long-term success is resupply. This will come in either a barter/market after the fact, or thru sustainable agriculture. Both of which are entire articles and classes by themselves. When planning on using agriculture, don't forget to factor in winter growing cycles and the time between planting and harvest. I know this sounds obvious, but there are a few out there who are hoping their seed banks will carry the day... Being prepared is an ongoing process and will never be "finished". You will be constantly rotating food, acquiring new resources and trading up as you go. Resist the urge to go out and just buy a bunch of bulk food and try planning your purchases to make the most out your finite cash resources. Don't be in a hurry and seek advice. Of course if you have any more questions you can join our forum: CAG NET for $1 a month and get direct Special Forces operator feedback!! As always, Thank you! Here are a few skills to learn to help out with your food preps:
  • Canning and pickling
  • Dehydrating
  • Gardening
  • Local Foraging
  • Vacuum sealing
And a few helpful links: http://www.ready.gov/family-plan http://www.ready.gov/ http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family

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