Prepper Basics

Prepper Basics

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]

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….

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

C Rats

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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