Terminal Ballistics

Terminal Ballistics as Viewed in a Morgue


Comments by Deadmeat2 (and a few others) found on the SW Forum �
Archived on Mouseguns.com July 13, 2006 �
Original Post is Here

One of the benefits of working in a morgue is that I get to see what works and what doesn’t. Ballistic gelatin is good as far as it goes, but there’s nothing like seeing what a bullet actually does once it strikes bone, flesh, and organs. Suffice it to say, it doesn’t always mimic ballistic gelatin.

The other is that I get to hear some great CCW stories. Here’s one of them: A recently-married couple living in one of the less desirable sections of Atlanta decided that for safety purposes they should get a handgun and learn how to shoot it. They bought a Glock 27 in .40, CCW permits, and made regular trips to an indoor range.

One evening, having just come back from the range, they cleaned and loaded the Glock and had left it on the coffee table in the living room, intending to put it up later. Shortly thereafter they heard a knock at the door and, expecting company, opened it without looking through the peephole.

A crazed male entered the apartment brandishing a handgun yelling, “Give it up, give it up!” The husband said that it was obvious the individual was high on drugs and there was absolutely no question in his mind that both he and his wife were going to die. Knowing this, he decided that his only option was to go down fighting.

The BG forced them both down a narrow hallway into the living room, screaming all the while. The husband was in the lead, followed by his wife, and then the BG, whose view of the living room was being blocked by the husband and wife.

The husband reached down, grabbed the Glock, pushed his wife aside, and fired one shot at the BG, striking him dead center in the middle of the chest. Although knocked to the floor, the BG still made a feeble attempt to retrieve his own gun. At this point, the husband let him hold another one to the chest. That ended that little problem.

Upon talking to the still-shaken husband, the police said he could remember little of what all the BG had said. As he recalled it, “All I can remember is that his first words were ‘Give it up!” and his last words just as he saw the Glock were “Oh, (fill in the blank)!”

I see an average of 8.2 autopsies per day/365 days per year, and I can tell you that when the chips are down, there’s nothing that beats a 12-gauge. As for handguns, the name of the game is not only shot placement but how a properly-placed bullet acts once it gets there. I’ve seen folks killed by a bb to the eye and others survive after being hit by several well-placed rounds with a 9mm.

As for me, I’ll take a slow-moving .45 to a gun fight any day. I absolutely despise a 9mm for defensive situations (yes, they will eventually kill but often not quickly enough to prevent the BG from doing you in first)and a .380 as well. These are probably the two calibers I see most often on the autopsy table.

But then, I’ve seen most everything. I’ve seen a guy killed by a .416 Rigby, as well as a suicide to the head with a .44 Mag that didn’t penetrate the skull on the other side.

The long and short of it is that you just don’t know how ANY bullet will react to tissue and bone until you open them up and take a look. I’ve seen hardball fragment and hollowpoints act just like hardball. That said, shoot what you’re comfortable with and place your shots well whatever caliber you use.

The .357 is gloriously effective. It’s just that semi-autos are much more common than they used to be, so we see far more 9mm and .380 rounds on the autopsy table than we do the .38 and .357. Particularly among the gangbangers, the 9mm and .380 are the weapons of choice. The .357 is a wonderfully effective round for self-defense from what I’ve seen, but it’s rare that we get them in anymore.

Again, this is from experience that I’ve made my calls on what works and what doesn’t. I have no use for mouse guns like the .32, although it’s a lot better to have a mouse gun than nothing at all. Personally, I’ll never carry anything smaller than a .40 and prefer the .45. Day in and day out, results from the autopsy table show me that the .45 is the gun to have in a gun fight, provided you can shoot it well. If not, it’s better to have something you can shoot well, even if it’s a mouse gun, than something you can’t.

Yeah, tell me about it, Smitty. I spent most of my life in Knoxville, TN and absolutely loved it. But then, my job is working in the Medical Examiner’s Office, and, as you said, this is a target-rich environment. Having a job in an Atlanta morgue is job security at its best.

KRL, I’ll take slow and heavy to light and fast any day. What I want is a round that plows through bone and tissue and expends ALL of its energy in the body. That said, the 125-grain .357 is marvelously effective.

S/W-Lifer, You’re correct in what you’re thinking. Yes, the 9mm and .380 are the rounds I most often see on the autopsy table, but they’re also the rounds that usually require multiple hits to make the kill. The standing joke in the morgue is to guess the caliber by looking at the x-rays. If multiple rounds show up on the x-rays more often than not it’s a 9mm or .380 (or .32 or .25 or some mouse gun caliber). If only one round shows up, it could be an inordinately good hit with a .380 or 9mm, but more likely it’s a .40 or .45.

Yes, the .380 and 9mm will do the job, but usually multiple hits are required as opposed to single hits with a .40 or .45.

Instead of individual replies to each of these questions, let me see if I can narrow some observations down into one long one. Forgive me if some of these have been in other posts, but they bear repeating.

First, ballistic gelatin, being all that’s available for most bullet testing, is good as far as it goes but it’s often far different from what we see in the morgue. A far more realistic scenario would be to dress up ballistic gelatin with a heavy coat of denim to mimic blue jeans, embed some bones obtained from a butcher shop, and throw in a few objects of varying densities to mimic organs. Try it again, and I think you’ll see that this impressive wound cavity that’s so often seen in ballistic gelatin goes down the tubes. The human body isn’t just composed of one density as ballistic gelatin is, and the bullet does various things to various parts of the body as it passes through.

And that’s why I think observations from a morgue are so important. Day in and day out, I get to see what works and what doesn’t. More than that, I get to see what the same caliber does with various bullets weights and designs and how it reacts to different parts of the body. The best of all are when the gangbangers use the mix and match technique and shoot a variety of bullets in the same magazine and these bullets wind up in the same victim shot from the same gun. Hardball and hollowpoints in the same body from the same gun give a great comparison on the effectiveness of each.

So let me give a few thoughts here. First, as you’ve pretty well guessed by now, I’m a big fan of the .40 and .45 for personal defense, and for the same reasons. They’re both big, slow-moving bullets. Of the two, I think big is more important. As I’ve said before, I want something that will plow through bone and keep going, not skip off of it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a .380 or 9mm strike bone on a well-placed shot and skip off in a non-vital direction, leaving the BG free to return fire. With the .40 and .45, this seldom happens. Bone is in the body for basically two reasons–to give support as with the legs and spinal column and to protect major organs, such as the ribs protecting the heart or the skull protecting the brain. Skip a bullet off a support bone, such as the leg, and the BG will keep shooting. Break it, like you generally do with a .40 or .45, and the BG is going to hit the pavement and your chances of survival increase dramatically. It’s the same with a shot to the chest. Skip a 9mm off the sternum (breastbone) and the fight continues; plow through the sternum with a .45 and, trust me, the fight is over. I’m just convinced that all things being equal, bigger is better when it comes to bullet size.

I also like bullets to expend all their energy in the body, not only for the protection of nearby civilians, but because I think it imparts more damage. I’m a bit less certain of this one, however, than I am about bullet size. Whether a bullet remains in the body is often as much a result of WHERE in the body it hit as what it was hit with. If hit solely in tissue, more often than not the bullet exits the body, regardless of what caliber it was; bone, on the other hand, can slow the bullet dramatically and leave it lodged in the body. As I said before, I once saw a .44 Magnum enter the skull point blank between the eyes and flatten and not exit on the inside of the skull on the back of the head. Amazing!

As for the .357 being a well-documented man-stopper, I’m guessing that you guys are right in assuming that it’s mainly a function of velocity, but if someone wants to disagree I’ll have no issue with it because it’s a caliber we almost NEVER see anymore. When I was a cop in Atlanta it was the caliber of choice for law enforcement. Unfortunately, I only rarely got to see autopsies back then so I can’t speak from vast experience. With the increasing use of semi-autos, the prevalence of revolver rounds such as the .38 and .357 has dropped dramatically, and although we still see the .38 with some frequency, we almost never get to see the .357 at autopsy. Still, in its most lethal form, it’s a 125-grain bullet, the same as a 9mm in many cases, and the 9mm has a horrible reputation as a reliable man-stopper. Again, I’m only guessing that it’s a function of the higher velocity of the .357. The .41 Magnum, for all its hype about being the next great law enforcement caliber, never came into widespread use and I can’t remember ever digging one out at autopsy, so I’ll leave this one alone. And almost without exception, the bullet weight I see most often with the .44 is the commercially-available 240 grains so I can’t speak to anything besides that.

Remember, folks, that what I see on the autopsy table is most often BGs shooting BGs (sniff, sniff. Forgive me, my eyes are welling up with tears and I might have to continue this thread later. Ok, better now, so I’ll continue) or, worse, BGs shooting good guys. In either case, BGs usually aren’t students of ballistics, they aren’t NRA members, they don’t read Guns and Ammo, and they don’t sit down at the Dillon 550 at night cranking out some new handload they’ve read about. They buy commercially-available ammo and, occasionally, add some personal touches they’ve read about in the latest issue of Gangbanger Magazine, such as filling the cavity of the hollowpoint with mercury (Yes, I’ve seen it. Worked just like hardball.)or deeply scoring the nose of the bullet (worked just like frangible except that it came apart on the outside of the other BGs clothing, which is why we had this one on the autopsy table (sniff). That said, if we want to evaluate various bullet weights and designs that aren’t available commercially, we’re once again left with ballistic gelatin, and the more I see on the autopsy table, the less confidence I have in the results.

Finally, just a couple of answers to questions: First, Houston is mostly right in assuming that multiple rounds seen from the 9mm and .380 are from the higher magazine capacity and controllability of the two calibers. Again, however, much of it is due to the fact that these two calibers just aren’t getting the job done before the other BG returns fire and sends our BG to gangbanger heaven. Yes, the shots were eventually lethal, but many times not immediately so. And, yes, they CAN BE an effective weapon IF placed in a lethal area and IF the bullet gets the job done once it gets there instead of skipping off in a non-lethal direction. My advice, however, is to get a larger caliber such as a .40 or .45, practice until you’re comfortable with it, and use it as your carry gun, not the 9mm or .380. Practice will greatly reduce the first IF mentioned above, and a larger caliber will greatly reduce the other.

Please forgive the long-winded reply, but I guess it was still shorter than responding individually to each of you. As always, take what you can use, and if your opinion differs, well, that’s what opinions are all about, isn’t it? My guess is that this will generate other questions, such as which bullet I like and other questions about caliber, etc. If so, let me know and I’ll try to get to them as soon as I can.

Jeez, this thing has taken on a life of its own and I’m wondering where to take it. Do you guys think we should continue the bullet end of things on the Ammunition forum? It seems like it might be a bit more appropriate there since this thing kind of morphed out of a CCW story.

Also, as has been mentioned, I’ve got a bit of a unique perspective here having been a cop and now working in a morgue, so I’ve seen it from both sides. I’ve also got some pretty strong opinions on practice (having done plenty of it as a cop) and what happens with a lack of it (poorly placed shots in police shootings). Should I air them here (or not at all, if you aren’t interested) or move them to another forum. It just seems to me like the topic has changed enough that another forum might me more appropriate. Suggestions?

Ok, we’ll keep it here, I guess. I suppose the next logical topic should be bullets–hollowpoints vs hardball vs other types. First, let me address a couple of quick questions that have come up. Regarding the questions that Bill h brings up regarding the .38 Special, it’s a great question and one that’s hard to answer. Had I been in this profession more during the transition from revolvers to semi-autos I would probably be better able to answer it. As it is now, about the only time we see the .38 (or any revolver round, for that matter) at autopsy is with a suicide. Often it’s an elderly individual who has had a .38 in the nightstand for many years and only decides to use it to end their life. Almost without exception, the BGs are toting semi-autos with the 9mm, .380, and occasionally the .40 or .45. And, yes, I think the “spray and pray” mentality (gee, is that a misnomer) may well be responsible for the high number of poorly placed shots we see. It’s kind of hard to hold the old Glock over the head and sideways, Gangsta style, and direct a shot with any kind of accuracy. Fortunately, the gangbangers don’t know this or, if they do, do it anyway because it looks so cool. It makes sense that the limited number of rounds in a revolver might make one a bit more careful with a sight picture but I’m afraid that this is just speculation on my part. I cut my teeth with a single shot .22 where I had to make every shot count and that has carried over to any handgun I shoot today, be it revolver or automatic. I have a hard time understanding the “spray and pray” approach.

Hollowpoints are really hard to get a handle on. From my experience, the limiting factor on the effectiveness of a hollowpoint is that the cavity can and often does get packed full of something besides tissue prior to entering the body, and this can inhibit expansion. Sheet rock is about the worst although heavy clothing can be a problem also. Once you cram the cavity full of anything but tissue, you’ve essentially got hardball. But then that’s not necessarily bad either. With full expansion of a hollowpoint you’ve got to worry about the jacket separating from the core as well as weight retention. It’s largely weight retention that allows the bullet to continue to blast through bone and reach those deep vital organs that will end the fight in a hurry, and hardball is well known for maintaining its weight at autopsy. Once a hollowpoint does what it’s supposed to, it begins to lose weight, albeit in varying amounts depending on the construction of the bullet and what it hits along the way. Some retain weight well and others lose it rapidly as can be seen in the lead “snowstorm” often seen during x-ray. Some hollowpoints expand so rapidly and lose weight so quickly that they haul up short of reaching the vital organs.

I’m talking mainly about the .40 and .45 here, but a few words about the 9mm and .380 are in order. Since the weight of the bullet is a major factor in reaching the vital organs, why penalize yourself with 125 grains of 9mm when you can have 230 grains of .45? In other words, why start out light and have the bullet only get lighter as it passes through the body when you can start out heavy to begin with. Again, I know of the well-deserved reputation of the .357 Magnum with the 125-grain bullet, but I think this is probably more a function of velocity overcoming the limitations of a smaller bullet weight. But I have limited experience with the .357 so I may admittedly be off base here.

Also, and I may be going out on a limb here, I’m not altogether certain that hardball is necessarily a bad choice for the reasons given above. Look, folks, you don’t have to blow the heart into a million pieces; you’ve just got to hit it, and you don’t have to make the liver look like it just spent 10 minutes in a Cuisinart. Again, you’ve just got to hit it. All things being equal, yes, I’d rather have a properly expanded hollowpoint reach the same location as a hardball round since, for the most part, the hollowpoint will infict more damage than hardball. But things aren’t always equal. Unlike some hollowpoints, hardball generally has no problems feeding (as always, this is more a matter of knowing your gun and what it feeds reliably) and almost without exception it just plows along its merry way busting up whatever it comes into contact with. Hollowpoints, even the best of them, can do really strange things such as shedding the jacket, losing an inordinate amount of weight, or expanding so rapidly that they don’t reach the vitals. I’ve seen it time and time again and many times I don’t have an explanation for it. It’s just empirical observation and something to think about.

I’ve only seen one example of Federal’s Expanding Full Metal Jacket so I’m not qualified to speak with any authority on it except to say that the expansion was MOST impressive and it was a 1-shot kill. I’ve read other forums in which some in law enforcement made disparaging remarks about it, and one example is nothing I would want to hang my hat on, but I was impressed nevertheless. IF the EFMJ works as advertised, it would go a long way toward remedying the problems inherent with hollowpoints.

I’m sure there are some other questions here that have gone unanswered or more that will be generated. As always, this is just personal experience from seeing thousands of autopsies every year and may or may not conform to what you’ve read elsewhere. And if these posts are taking up too much of the forum, let me know.

Ok, let me give a few thoughts on shot placement. First, as j2k22 suggests, there’s no shot that will end the fight faster than a head shot. The brain is the center of the neurological system, and a shot there will end things immediately. The problem is that the head is very mobile and can be darting from side to side while the thorax stays still. A shot to the spine is also a very good choice, but the spine is probably no more than two inches wide and can be very hard to hit.

When all is said and done, go for the chest. Unless it’s a child molester or rapist, however, in which case I plan to give him a .45 caliber vasectomy first so in the event I don’t kill him with subsequent shots, at least he’ll no longer be able to commit assault with a friendly weapon. The body remains relatively stable, while the legs, arms, and head can be moving from side to side. Trust me, when the BG is sending bullets in your direction and the adrenaline is pumping, it does very strange things to a sight picture, so you’ll want to go for the biggest thing there is. On top of that, there are loads of really nice things to hit in the chest, any one of which will end the fight. There are plenty of arteries and large veins, bones that will prevent or inhibit the accurate firing of the weapon (e.g., shoulder blade, collarbone), or paralyze him (spine), and organs such as the lungs and heart that will shut down the BG if hit. And if you hit too low, you’ve also got a good chance of poking a hole in the liver, spleen, stomach, and other organs which, although they may not cause immediate death, may severely incapacitate the BG.

Remember, your goal in a gunfight is to incapacitate the BG to the point that his ability to fight ceases or he breaks off the engagement voluntarily. If you kill him, fine; if not, you want to wound him to the extent that he can no longer return fire effectively and you’ll live to see another day. Depending on how fast you or someone else chooses to call 911, he may not (sniff). Sometimes simply breaking a leg of the BG will end the fight; sometimes not. Sometimes, simply the muzzle flash from a citizen the BG thought was unarmed will cause him to reconsider. As for me, I’m going for the chest.

And, yes, I followed Elmer Keith for years as well as Skeeter Skelton and others (I practically worshipped Jack O’Conner) and, yes, I think he’s right on big, slow-moving bullets. As for Gold Dot, it’s what I carry in my carry gun (.45, naturally), although if I can see some more examples of the Federal EFMJ I might switch to that. Many of our LE personnel are carrying Gold Dot as well as others carrying Federal HS. Of the two, I’ve come to like Gold Dot better. I don’t know why but I’ve seen some really funky stuff with HS. When it works, it works great; when it doesn’t it’s pretty lame. In fact, some folks in my neck of the woods refer to it as Hydra Sucks, but I think that’s taking it a bit far.

I hope this has answered some of the questions. If any others pop up that are generated by this post, let me know.

Ok, let’s try to answer a few more questions that have popped up since I got back. Again, as has been seconded here, the .357 has a well-deserved reputation as a man stopper, and it seems to be regardless of what load is used from what I’ve seen. Unfortunately, we seldom get them anymore, but when we do it just confirms what others have said about its stopping power. Ah, if only all handgun calibers were this effective…

As for over penetration, yes, it’s something to be concerned about but not overly so. I see bullets that pass through the body and are not recovered every day. I can only think of a very few times, though, when over penetration led to an unintended target being hit after passing through the BG, and even then the other person survived if I remember correctly. Keep in mind that most of the folks I see on an autopsy table weren’t shot while going to prayer meeting, while watching an Atlanta Falcons game in the stadium, or during an AC/DC concert. BGs are opportunists, which means that they look for places where contact with civilians other than the intended victim is minimal and they can get away without being identified. Sure, some occur in large gatherings and in plain view, but by far and large most involve a minimum of people. As a result, even if overpenetration occurs, more than likely the bullet will lodge in some inanimate object, not another civilian. I’ll take my chances with a bullet that will get the job done rather than being unduly concerned with over penetration and selecting a bullet that is less detrimental to the BG’s health and wellbeing.

Hydroshock is something I’ve never been quite sure of, at least with handgun bullets. Seeing the wound cavity in ballistic gelatin is really impressive, and the theory is that even if the bullet doesn’t actually make contact with something vital, the shock wave created by the passage of the bullet will inflict its own damage. Maybe, maybe not. I can tell you that when one of the BGs comes in with multiple gunshot wounds it can be extremely difficult to determine the paths of each. We use steel probes to try to follow the path of each bullet in an attempt to determine the angle and trajectory of the wounds, and many times it’s almost impossible. Unlike ballistic gelatin, the body is not translucent so the course of the bullet can’t be seen. Also, unlike ballistic gelatin, which stays open allowing the damage to be analyzed, human tissue closes back up. Many times it comes down to making small scalpel slices along the wound path and trying to follow it that way. And from this I can safely say that I’ve never seen anything that approximates ballistic gelatin. Yes, there is damage along the course of the bullet, but usually it’s due to the bullet itself, which is ripping tissue along the way and fragments of the jacket or core that are spalling off and creating their own trajectories incidental to the main path of the bullet. As I’ve said several time in other posts, I just don’t believe that ballistic gelatin is a realistic representation of what actually happens, and I’m afraid that folks are placing their faith in a bullet that looks impressive in ballistic gelatin although the results are markedly different in the human body.

As for body armor, the idea of becoming proficient with the Mozambique drill is fabulous!!! Be ready to put one between the running lights if one is wearing body armor, but, again, this should be the exception. Of all the thousands of autopsies I’ve seen, I can’t remember a single one that was wearing body armor. Still, it makes a good case for being flexible and ready to go to Plan B should your first round or two bounce off a Second Chance. And there’s always the 44 minutes in L.A. to think about.

Now for rifles and shotguns. I’ll say first that whenever possible use a shotgun. Doesn’t matter if you’re using 7.5 shot or 00 buck, use a shotgun! Trust me on this one! A spray of birdshot to the ‘nads or the eyes can end a fight really quickly, and if the range is short enough a high concentration of even very small shot can make a really, really big hole. Also, you’d be surprised at how deeply small shot can penetrate at relatively long distances. And even if the distance is such that small shot will be ineffective, most BGs aren’t willing to chance closing the distance to get a better shot once they know a shotgun is in use.

Barring shotguns, use a rifle. And like the shotgun, it doesn’t make much difference which as long as it’s bigger than a .22 rimfire. The other day I saw a head shot with a .204 Ruger that was just beyond belief! An itty bitty bullet moving at .220 Swift velocities (about 4100 fps) is most impressive when it fragments inside the noggin. I’ve seen just about all rifle calibers used at one time or another, and they were almost all impressive. Unlike handguns, rifles have the velocity to drive smaller, lighter bullets deeply into the body cavity. Expansion (and often fragmentation) is complete, and damage is magnified. Often, on x-ray a “lead snowstorm” is seen in which lead (and copper from the jacket) separates from the core and tracks tangentially from the main trajectory of the bullet. These can and often do inflict their own damage, such as opening arteries or lodging in vital organs that were completely missed by the main path of the bullet. Also, if hydroshock exists to the extent that it will cause significant damage, I think it’s almost certainly with rifles, not handguns. I once saw a woman who committed suicide with a 7mm Magnum to the chest. Not only did it blow out the spine, it turned the vicera in the chest cavity into mush. No matter what rifle or bullet you use on the BG, it will usually be more effective than your handgun.

In short, my first choice in almost all situations will be a shotgun, followed by a rifle, followed by a handgun.

After re-reading some of my previous posts on wound ballistics and how bullet weight and velocity affect wound characteristics, I’m not sure I did as good of a job of explaining it as I might have. Let me see if I can rephrase some of this stuff and reduce it to something useful (I hope). I’ll try to keep the scientific end of things to a minimum, but some of it is necessary to get the gist of it. Anyway, the kinetic energy imparted by a bullet as it enters the body depends on two things–the weight of the bullet and the velocity at which it is traveling. Of the two, velocity is more important. Doubling the velocity quadruples the kinetic energy; doubling the bullet weight only doubles it.

When a bullet strikes tissue the kinetic energy begins to create a temporary cavity behind it, sort of like the videos you’ve seen of space capsules re-entering the atmosphere. Maximum expansion occurs some time after passage of the bullet (measured in milliseconds) and the diameter of the expansion depends largely on velocity (as well as tissue density and cohesiveness, but we’ve already touched on that), with higher velocities producing larger temporary cavities. The temporary cavity is extremely important in that it is largely responsible for producing injuries to arteries, veins, organs, and nerves that are not directly struck by the bullet or its fragments. In fact, it’s possible for the bullet to strike nothing vital at all but still produce incapacitation or death by the temporary cavity that does.

Because of the relatively low velocity of most handgun projectiles, the temporary cavity produced is generally quite small, extending only a short distance into the surrounding tissues. With high velocity bullets, such as with rifles, the picture changes dramatically. Because of the quadrupling of kinetic energy, this temporary cavity is GREATLY enlarged and subsequent damage to surrounding nerves, tissues, blood vessels, and organs is GREATLY enhanced, and fractures to bones incidental to the temporary cavity can occur even without the bullet directly striking them.

So at what velocity does this increased (hence, more effective) temporary cavity occur? From what I’ve read (and confirmed on the autopsy table) this is around 2600-2900 fps. At these velocities the characteristics of the wound change from one with a minimal temporary cavity to one in which the temporary cavity increases dramatically.

As for the bullet exiting the body versus staying in the body, I read just yesterday that most ballistic experts now agree that my suspicions all along are correct. Although kinetic energy is determined by the weight and velocity of the bullet, wound damage is determined by the kinetic energy lost in the tissue. In other words, kinetic energy lost when the bullet exits is not imparted to the body; conversely, when a bullet remains in the body, all of its kinetic energy is spent doing damage to the tissue. So I guess that finding a bullet that is less likely to exit is bad for the BG who gets hit and good for the civilian standing behind him.

Ok, so where does this leave us? It sounds like we want a big bullet moving at high velocity that bleeds (no pun intended) off its kinetic energy so fast that it stays in the body rather than exiting. Also, the weapon that shoots it would have to be small in order to be concealable (after all, that’s what the gist of this CCW forum is even though this thread has morphed far beyond that), controllable, and capable of firing multiple shots in rapid succession. Wonderful! Now all someone has to do is invent it because it certainly doesn’t exist right now.

Like most things in life, everything is a tradeoff here. In order to get the much-needed high velocity necessary to produce a large temporary cavity we’ve got to opt for rounds commonly associated with rifles and somehow put them in a handgun. About the only ones I know of are things like the Thompson Centers or the Remington XP-100, and somehow neither of these would be very high on my list of self-defense weapons. Concealability aside, working the bolt of an XP-100 in a firefight just doesn’t appeal to me. And if you think a snubbie can be hard to hide in hot weather, try a Thompson Center. Even if it were possible to somehow shrink them to concealable size and produce multiple shots, how easy would it be to control a caliber designed for rifles but put in a handgun?

So we’re back to handguns, when going out and about, aren’t we? Ok, think back to the two things that control our all-important temporary cavity, i.e., bullet weight and velocity. In most handgun calibers that are designed for self-defense, we can’t do a lot about velocity. We just can’t get the velocity up to the all-critical 2600-2900 fps, so we’re left with bullet weight. Again, doubling the bullet weight doubles the kinetic energy. So, do you still want to shoot that 125-grain 9mm when you could have a 230-grain .45?

Someone poses a question…

Master Deadmeat2,

Grasshopper is confused by this. Where does it leave or how does it explain the most-deadly reputation of the 125 grain .357? Does that reputation hold up if fired from a 1 7/8″ snub? Or the commonly carried .38 special +P launched from a 1 7/8″ snub? According to http://le.atk.com/pdf/SpeerTech38_135HP.pdf Speer Gold Dot .38’s (135 grain bullet) fired from a S&W 640 1 7/8″ barrel yields about 870 fps (which they compare with a 124 grain GDHP bullet from a Glock 19 with 4″ barrel at about 1,200 fps).

I don’t have velocity information for other bullets handy, but it would seem that to a CCW wheelgunner it would behoove one to compare their chosen caliber offerings for velocity from a barrel length as close as possible to what they carry, compared with the weight of the bullet, and look for the best combination of high velocity viz high bullet weight. I’m not sure what weight to give to bullet shape in this analysis, versus velocity and weight.

Steven Camp has done some of this and I’ll have to re-read his and your postings. Pretty much he recommends 158-grain LSWCHP +P .38 special from a 1 7/8″ snub revolver (Remington, Federal or Winchester) but the pages seem a bit dated. They are however EXCELLENT, easy to read and well illustrated. I highly recommend reading them. Hopefully they’ll be updated soon.�
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/38vs357snub.htm (although a 2 1/2″ barrel was used for testing, not 1 7/8″)�
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/38%20Special%20158gr%20LSWCHP.htm (refers to but hasn’t yet tested 135 gr GDHP)�
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Feedingthe38Snub.htm

Edited to Add:�
I just found this information on Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel rounds on their website �
http://le.atk.com/Interior.asp?section=2&page=pages/cci…ccispeer_GoldDot.asp

.357 125 gr short barrel is clocked at 1,000 fps from a 2″ vented barrel. Here’s some abbreviated muzzle velocity and 25 foot velocity in parenthesis info from the page on short barrel, with my calculation of % velocity retained at 25 feet:

  • 9mm +P 124 gr 3.5″ barrel 1150 fps (1089) 94.6%
  • .38 Spcl +P 135 gr 2″ vented barrel 860 fps (839) 97.5%
  • .357 Mag 135 gr 2″ vented barrel 1000 fps (966) 96.6%
  • .40 S&W 180 gr 3.5″ barrel 950 fps (922) 97.0%
  • .44 Mag 200 gr 4″ vented barrel 1075 fps (1031) 95.9%
  • .45 ACP 230 gr 4″ barrel 820 fps (801) 97.6%

I don’t know why they used a vented barrel for some of the tests. I would guess that most users would not have vented barrels, and that velocities would be higher if tested in non-vented barrels (but so would recoil/muzzle flip).

Deadmeat2 answers the question:

Ah, Grasshopper, the answer is simple. Master just does not know! Again, we seldom ever see the .357 anymore despite its well-deserved reputation for stopping power, so for me to wax poetic on the meditations of its unexplained power would be ill-advised. And yes, Grasshopper, your insight on carrying what you practice with is well-taken. There are innumerable combinations of barrel length, vented vs. non-vented, bullet construction, bullet weight, velocity, etc. The trick is finding what works, which is easier said than done.

The .357 is a bit of an anomaly. Despite its relatively small bullet weight, it is known in defensive circles as a man-stopper. Yes, it’s got a higher velocity than many other handgun calibers but not THAT much greater. But then, remember that increasing velocity results in a concomitant increase in kinetic energy, which then translates into a larger temporary cavity. Handgun bullets are just not going to come close to reaching the 2600-2900 fps needed for the maximum expansion of the temporary cavity, but ANY increase in velocity will increase kinetic energy. Maybe, then, the increase in velocity of the .357 is just enough to increase the temporary cavity to the point that it can often shut down human biological systems more often than other calibers. I just don’t know.

I guess the bottom line here, at least from what I’ve seen on the autopsy table, is that it’s a tradeoff of bullet weight for increased velocity. If I had some way of making the 2600-2900 fps in a handgun to ensure a huge temporary cavity, sure, I’d opt for it even at the expense of a lighter bullet. But we don’t, and although increased velocity can be gained by reducing bullet size, it often comes at the expense of penetration for a modest gain in velocity (temporary cavity size). All too often I see bullets stop short of reaching vital organs because they shed weight before arriving there. I’ll stay with heavy even to the extent of sacrificing some velocity.

Although we most often see the .380 and 9mm on the autopsy table, we’ve pretty well beaten these to death (no pun intended). Suffice it to say, I would never trust either caliber to save my life regardless of what round I carried in it. Why the government in its infinite wisdom ever switched from a proven man-stopper like the .45 to the 9mm will forever remain a mystery to me.

The .40 is another caliber we see quite often, mostly in police-related shootings, and the round carried has mostly been Federal HS or Gold Dots. Both have worked VERY well in most cases although the Gold Dot seems a bit more consistent. Remember, this isn’t scientific but is based solely on observation. It has just seemed to me that HS occasionally does some funky stuff, mostly when the cavity gets crammed full of something besides the BG. Usually this just results in non-expansion of the bullet, but as we’ve said before this isn’t always bad. The bullet just keeps chunking merrily along busting up whatever it hits. Gold Dot has always seemed to expand well, and I’ve seen several instances of cars being brought into the garage that have been shot full of Gold Dots during shootouts. The Gold Dot rounds have done a marvelous job of penetrating doors and windshields before venting the BG (sniff). It’s the round I carry in my own weapon.

Same with the .45. Although we see it less than the .40, it has a justifiable reputation of being able to put a stop to a gunfight VERY quickly. Again, we see it with Federal HS and Gold Dots, and both work VERY well. Of all the rounds I’ve seen that are 1-shot kills, it’s the .45 that is the clear winner followed by the .40. It’s also the caliber I carry.

Ah, the .44 Magnum. I’ve got 3 of these suckers and love ’em all. About the only time we see them in the morgue is during a suicide and, trust me, there’s no such thing as an “attempted suicide” with a .44 Magnum. Regardless of bullet weight or design, they plow through bone and tissue with ease. As I mentioned in an earlier post, however, I did see a 230-grain hollowpoint touched off between the running lights flatten on the inside of the skull on the back of the head and not exit. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.

Most BGs shy away from the larger calibers like the .40, .45, and certainly the .44. They’re hard to conceal and harder still to shoot effectively. Most BGs don’t take the time to learn to shoot ANY firearm effectively let alone the harder to shoot larger calibers, and I doubt that many of them have ever gone to Gunsite or Thunder Ranch.

While we’re on the topic of Gunsite and Thunder Ranch, allow me to vent one of my pet peeves, if you will. That pet peeve is having a cavalier attitude toward qualifying. Let me explain it this way: I go to an indoor range near my home almost every Friday, mostly to get ready for an IPSC match the following day or on Sunday. A few weeks ago I was at the range when a guy took the lane next to me and put up a 50-foot silhouette target . After some period of time he leaned over into my lane and asked, “How do I get this thing downrange?” “Try the switch on the side”, I replied. He ran the target down to 10 yards and began blazing away with his Beretta 92. The holes appeared all over the paper, and the closest thing I could find to a group was whatever was defined by the margins of the paper.

Feeling comfortable that he was now in the ballpark, Bubba ran the target to 25 yards and began blazing away again. Half a box of ammo later he still hadn’t poked a hole in the paper, much less the silhouette. He then left, purchased another box of ammo at the front counter, returned, and began firing away. About 20 or so shots later I began to see a few holes near the shirt cuff of the silhouette, and he never got closer to the x-ring than a foot or so. He packed up his gear and on his way out said to me, “I’ve got to qualify tomorrow and I can’t shoot for (doodly squat).” “You’re in deep doo doo, pal” I replied. Once he was gone I retrieved his target and counted 7 holes in the silhouette and 45 on the paper but not on the silhouette.

I have no idea what his occupation is. Maybe it’s a policeman, maybe a security guard, but it’s something that definitely requires him to carry a weapon frequently enough that he’s required to qualify with it at least once a year. And if he’s required to carry it it seems to me like he should take the time to become proficient with it. But Bubba’s attitude toward qualifying was that it was something he had to do, not something he needed to learn to do.

In retrospect, I guess I should have taken him aside and said “Look, quit treating this like it’s a test you have to pass in order to keep your job! Think of it as a skill that might keep you or me alive someday. Think of it as a skill that might keep your wife from becoming a widow or your kid from growing up without a father.” It was obvious that he hadn’t been to a range in a very long time, probably since the day before he had his last qualification, and he’s unlikely to return until a year from now when he has to qualify again.

Folks, we can continue this thread until the next millennium and beat around calibers, bullet construction, velocity, muzzle flash, and a zillion other variables. Sooner or later you’ll have to make up your mind on what you think works and carry it. When the dust settles and we’ve made up our minds on what we’ll carry, I think we’d see that there won’t be a consensus of opinion. The one thing I hope we’d agree on, however, is that the best man-stopper in the world is absolutely useless in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to use it effectively.

Make every trip to the range count. Learn to shoot effectively; learn to call your shots. Learn how fast and how effectively you can place that second and subsequent shots. For those of you with non-adjustable sights, learn which ammo places your shots closest to the x-ring. Learn proper trigger control and proper sight pictures. Learn how to reload quickly and effectively.

As for the guy next to me who had to qualify the following day, I sincerely hope he failed and now has a desk job somewhere. The very job of a cop often places them in situations in which this skill, one that he considered a mere job requirement, could save their lives or those of someone else. Conversely, poor shooting by a cop has been the cause of the death of more than one innocent bystander. Yes, this was a cop or someone who was required to carry a weapon, but it applies to all of us, civilian and law enforcement alike.

Remember, that visits to the range are generally no-stress situations. You’re there to improve your marksmanship, and if you think it’s hard to poke holes in an inanimate piece of paper at 25 yards, it’s infinitely more difficult when 125-grain bullets are headed back in your direction from the perpetrator’s gun, the stationary paper target becomes a moving BG, and your shooting position becomes vastly different than the one you habitually use at the range. In addition, as I think I’ve mentioned before, an adrenaline rush from a real-life combat situation does the most remarkable things to a sight picture. In short, if you can’t place your shots on a non-moving piece of paper, how much more difficult will it be when that piece of paper becomes a 3-time felon whose sole purpose is to avoid going back to prison no matter what happens and no matter who gets in the way? Take your trips to the range seriously. Have fun, but take them seriously.

Maybe it’s my law enforcement background or maybe it’s having worked in the morgue for a number of years, but killing someone who is coming at me with intent to do me in is precisely what I want to do. For those who don’t, that’s fine, and I have no problem with it. We all make our own decisions and live (or die) with them. I was a witness at an execution by lethal injection last year and I have to say it didn’t bother me a bit; I also think that killing someone who is intent on doing me bodily harm would have a similar effect. Having seen innumerable innocent civilians killed by BGs, I’ll have to admit that an imperceptible smile crosses my face every time I see a BG supine on an autopsy table. I suspect the vast majority of law enforcement personnel feel similarly.

As for the .22, I agree with you that it’s a poor choice of weapons and probably about the last one I would choose if given a choice of calibers. Still, it’s a caliber we see quite frequently, and it might be good to know what damage it imparts. Discussing it is in no way an endorsement of it.

The reason it’s such a poor choice of a defensive weapon by now should be obvious. If you think 125 grains of 9mm has little stopping power, try 40 grains of .22 long rifle. It has been my experience that hollowpoint .22 long rifle bullets fired from handguns seldom mushroom; when fired from rifles they usually do. Also, when fired from handguns both hollowpoints and solids are often recovered relatively intact and undeformed.

Like most revolver calibers, the .22 long rifle (I don’t remember ever seeing a .22 short or long although ratshot shows up from time to time) is most often seen at suicides. The ubiquitous .22, since it’s the most commonly fired caliber in the US, is never in short supply, and many folks who own no other firearm own a .22. Most often the site of the wound is to the head, and penetration is almost always more than sufficient to get the job done. When fired from a rifle, often a “lead snowstorm” is created and shows up on the x-rays where the bullet fragments shortly after entering the skull. With body shots, either in defensive situations or suicides, multiple shots are usually required unless someone gets inordinately lucky and plants the bullet firmly in a vital organ. I’ve seen more than one example of someone who tried to commit suicide by emptying a cylinder into the chest and was forced to reload before completing the job with a shot to the head. As nvbirdman so rightly said, it has a well-deserved reputation as a very poor choice of defensive weapons.

Along these same lines, let me give a thought or two on pellet guns and bb guns. I can remember a number of deaths caused by these two weapons, one quite recently. In every case I can remember, the death was caused by a pellet or bb to the eye. The bone in the back of the eye is extremely thin and little is required to push a pellet or bb through it. Even worse, in the back of the orbit there’s a small area where there’s no bone at all and there’s a direct path to the brain. For those of you with kids, be aware of this and, as always, preach safety to them.

I hope the previous post was taken in the spirit in which it was intended. For many, there seems to be a feeling of comfort imparted by carrying a defensive weapon regardless of how incompetent they are in using it. Unfortunately, these folks seem to have a habit of seeking out an autopsy table.

Someone poses a question:

DeadMeat, I have a question for you that has come up in some discussions. Due to the laws of some states not allowing the transportation and/or possession of a handgun or in some places any “firearm”. The idea has been kicked around of carrying a flare gun. For the limited range that it most likely be used(1′-6′).And since it is not recognized by the law as a “firearm”, but as a signaling device it relieves the stress of legal problems. Have you ever seen a victim of or read a report medical or morgue of a person shot with a 12ga. flare pistol?

Someone else chimes in:

There was a pretty well known case among cruising sailors in the Bahamas. It made several of the magazines at the time back in the late ’80s. A man and his wife in a remote anchorage where attacked by a group of three local problems. They announced what they were going to do to his wife after they killed him with their machetes. He responded to the first guy over the rail with a 25mm white phosphorus round to his face at a range of about three feet. Perp ended back in his own boat doing alot of screaming. White phosphorus can’t be extinguished once it starts. 25 mm white markers burn for around 20 seconds and are very, very hot. His fleeing buddies dumped him on the beach where he expired after screaming for about 30 minutes. The couple had their property seized and where deported if I remember correctly.

Deadmeat2 replies:

No, I’ve never seen someone hit by a flare gun so I’m out of my element here. I did have a guy hit in the chest by a ‘tater fired out of a potato gun, though. Seems he and his buddies were having an alcohol-fueled softball game when one of the guys produced a potato gun and bet the batter he couldn’t hit a ‘tater fired from it. Believe me, if you’ve ever seen how fast a spud comes out of one of these things you wouldn’t have taken that bet! Anyway, batter up! Our batter was ready to do his best imitation of Babe Ruth, but, unfortunately the pitcher’s aim was a bit inside and hit our batter squarely in the chest with one of Idaho’s finest. It broke about half the ribs on the left side and severed a few major blood vessels around the heart. Needless to say, he didn’t get the walk to first.

When I started this thread a couple weeks ago my intent was just to relay a CCW story I had been involved in. Since then it has morphed into a lengthy discussion on calibers, bullets, velocity, wound characteristics, and other things. Also, judging from the number of views, it seems to have generated a fair amount of interest, due, I think, to a unique perspective of an ex-policeman and avid shooter working in a morgue. Please understand that I don’t profess to be an expert in ballistics since I’ve had no formal training although I have been hunting and shooting for the better part of 50 years now. What I’ve been relaying are simply observations based on empirical evidence I see every day in the morgue, nothing more.

That said, I’m wondering where else to take this thread, if anywhere. If you guys want to let this wither on the vine here it’s ok with me. If there are any other topics along these lines that might be of interest, we can continue it if you like. Suggestions?

You’re right, it is a good question, but one I won’t be able to answer, unfortunately. No, I’ve never seen a Glazer or MagSafe come through the morgue. Let me ask around a bit and see what I can find out. I got called out to south Georgia last night and will be gone through at least Wednesday and probably longer so it might be a few days before I can get back with you. Until then, if you guys can come up with some more questions like this one I’ll try to answer them when I get back. I’ve already got questions on knives (trust me, leave ’em at home if you’re expecting a gunfight although some folks still give them a try), assault weapons, and the .416 Rigby that I’ll answer when I return.

Jeez, what a week! Just got back last night from south Georgia looking for a guy who was killed six years ago. I thought I’d be there for maybe three days but wound up spending six…and never did find him. I’ll be heading back next Tuesday to implement Plan B for the search. I don’t think it was that hot last year when I was in Thailand identifying the tsunami dead!

Anyway, yes, I’ve seen the 145-grain Silvertip at autopsy (as well as the more common 125-grain variety) and like all .357 wounds I’ve seen, it was really impressive. For the life of me I can’t recall the details of shot placement or specific damage. I see so many gunshots at the morgue that I usually can’t recall the specifics of individual cases except to form an opinion over time of what bullets and what calibers work and don’t work. And, believe me, the .357 works! With any bullet style, with any powder charge. Carry it if you have it.

Oh, I do remember one from long ago that’s interesting. I never got the whole story on it, but it seems a BG somehow got hold of some .357 handloads that used a 148-grain hollowbase wadcutter–inverted, no less. Talk about a hollowpoint! I don’t know what velocity it was loaded at but from all indications it was really cooking and probably loaded the lands and grooves with lead as it traversed the barrel. Fortunately, he smoked the other BG (sniff)with one shot in the chest and didn’t blow up the gun with a subsequent shot. When we dug it out at autopsy it was about the size of a quarter and was about as thick. That’s one of only a handful of handloads that I’ve seen on the autopsy table but it was most memorable.

Let’s see if I can get to a few other unanswered questions. First, knife fights vs. guns. If given the choice, take the gun, always the gun. Bringing a knife to a gunfight is almost always a poor choice but one we see occasionally in suicide-by-cop. In these cases, the BG almost always loses. Fortunately, the Tueller Rule is (hopefully) now taught in virtually every law enforcement academy and distances between the cop and the BG that were widely perceived to be safe at one time are now considered well within the danger zone. By the way, there’s a really good re-evaluation of the Tueller Rule at www.usadojo.com/martial-arts-articles/article-21-feet-valid.htm. It’s well worth reading and serves to emphasize that a knife-wielding BG can be a formidable adversary and may well justify lengthening the 21-foot rule. Reading the article can explain it better than I can.

Oh, and, no, we don’t have the plastic injection method to determine the blade length, blade shape, and number of serrations that you see on CSI. Jeez, that just cracks me up!!! On CSI, they’ll take a syringe filled with some kind of liquid plastic, inject it into the knife wound, wait for it to set up, remove it, and then analyze the mold to determine the length of the blade used and whether it was single-edged or double-edged. Ah, if it were only so my job would be so much easier.

At the risk of morphing this thread even further than it’s already been morphed from the CCW topic, I’ll answer the question on smell and then maybe get back to the .416 Rigby, assault rifles, etc. To be honest, the smell is something you accept as part of the job but never quite get used to regardless of how long you’re around it. Actually, in my job I get the best of the best and the worst of the worst. For the most part, the skeletal material I deal with has little if any smell. Unfortunately, I also get the badly decomposed bodies that the ME can do little with because of the extent of decomposition. I had one in the other day that had more maggots than you could take out in a 5-gallon bucket, but it just comes with the job. Yes, they all stink, some more than others, but you learn to deal with it.

Frequently, we see folks come into the morgue to observe autopsies and put Vicks Vaporub beneath their nose. Now think about it. What’s the purpose of Vaporub? To open the sinus passages and help breathing, right? If you’re there to observe an autopsy of a decomposed person, is opening the sinuses really what you want to do? I don’t know where this one got started, but like most things psychosomatic, if you think it works it does.

The next question that will come up will probably be how do I get used to working around death? The long and short answer is that I just don’t know. Not to sound cavalier about it, but I honestly NEVER think about it. Sure, if I thought about it long enough I could envision someone on the autopsy table as someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, or dear friend. I could wonder what this person was like in real life and whether I would have liked to have known them. But I never do. In some way I don’t understand, I’m able to divorce myself from the personalization of it all and carry on in a clinical, detached manner that allows me to analyze the skeletal material to determine the biological profile, trauma, and, hopefully, identification.

I can think of only once when it bothered me, and that was more from personal effects than human remains themselves. I worked in Kosovo excavating mass graves and again for eight months in Bosnia doing the same thing. In Bosnia in particular, we often had mass graves that contained well over 200 individuals, women and children included. While excavating one mass grave I came across a Seiko watch that was nearly identical to one my wife gave me shortly after we were married and which I wore until a couple years ago. Since we’re now coming up on our 34th wedding anniversary, I guess I wore it for about 30 of those years and it remains one of my most prized possessions. In a poor country like Bosnia, a Seiko watch would be considered a large investment and was probably given at a special occasion such as a wedding or birthday. Upon seeing this watch I’ll have to admit that I nearly lost it and had to walk away for about 15 minutes until it was collected as evidence and was out of sight. To this day I can still see the date and time on that watch.

As for my wife, I NEVER tell her the specifics of what I do. She’s particularly sensitive to these kinds of things and would conjure up images of dead and mangled bodies in her dreams and during her work day. When I was in Thailand last year identifying the tsunami dead I would call home and tell her, “Yes, I worked in the morgue today. Sure is hot here but the beaches are beautiful and the guy at the motel bar makes a great margarita!” End of story.

There’s no middle of the road on what I do. You can either do it or you can’t. For those of us who can, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a good explanation of HOW we’re able to deal with it when others can’t.

Forgive the departure from the CCW format, but that seems to be the nature of this thread. Beyond my original post, I can’t remember any post that’s even remotely related to CCW, and now it seems we’ve even deviated well beyond the bullet, velocity, trauma theme. If this is getting too far a field, let me know.

Just got back from another three days in the garden spot of the world–the middle of a peanut patch in the middle of south Georgia so I haven’t had a chance to catch up on the unanswered questions but will try to do so over the weekend if I’m lucky enough to not get called out of town. Apparently in my absence my avatar took a hike, offended no doubt, by the graphic descriptions of the autopsies. I’m searching all the previous haunts now. Anyway, Plan B failed miserably and now I’m contemplating Plan C, whatever that will be. No, I haven’t forgotten about the .32 and I’ll send you the directions on some indoor ranges in the Rome area as well as get to some of the assault rifle stuff. As for the Vicks, it was in use long before The Silence of the Lambs came out.

As for funny decomp stories, here’s one. We had just finished autopsying a floater in a very small morgue. For some reason, there’s almost nothing that’s worse than a floater, and this guy was about the color of the Incredible Hulk when he gets POed. The first scalpel cut into him cleared the autopsy room and we came back several minutes later, dressed in Tyvek suits over our street clothes.

Following autopsy, we shucked the Tyveks and went to Mickey D’s for lunch. After getting our lunches we took a table near the front counter and were followed shortly thereafter by two other guys who took seats at a table near ours. Shortly after sitting down I noticed one of the guys wrinkling his nose and bending over looking under the table. He kept this up for a minute or so before walking to the front counter and asking for a manager. Being as close as we were, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation. As the manager walked back to the table with the customer I heard him say, “Man, I don’t know if someone’s thrown a dirty diaper under one of the tables of if something died in here, but this area STINKS!!!!!!!!!”

Only then did it dawn on me that it was US! The Tyvek kept off the decomp fluids but did nothing to keep the stink off the clothes. By the time we walked out, most of the patrons were looking at us with disgust wondering, probably, where we had parked the garbage truck. Lesson learned. After that, it was scrubs.

Desperado,�
So you live in Chickamauga? Great place and a beautiful part of the world! And you’ll also love Rome. My introduction to Chickamauga was in February 2002. I had just gotten back from eight months in Bosnia when I got called in from Knoxville to work the infamous Tri-State Crematory incident. The job fell to me because in addition to the remains that were found in the warehouse, in vaults, and in caskets in the back 40, there were numerous mass graves, and no one had ever worked one but me. I worked Tri-State by day and spent the nights for the next two weeks in a motel in Chickamauga.

Bill A,�
You’ve probably guessed my opinion of the .32 S&W Long by now, but I’ll proffer it anyway. In short, I don’t like it for self-defense. IMHO, it just doesn’t have the oomph to do what a defensive round it supposed to do, and I lump it in the same class with the much-hated (at least by me)9mm and .380. Actually, with the exception of the .357 (Magnum and Sig), I can’t think of any rounds that start with a number smaller than 4 following the decimal point that I would trust my life with. I like the .40 and the .45 better still when it comes to a defensive caliber. And think about it. Of all the countless articles you’ve undoubtedly read on which rounds and calibers to rely on for self-defense, have you ever seen one advocating the .32 S&W Long? I’m reasonably sure I haven’t.

Now for the .416 Rigby tale. Actually, I’ve seen two of them used, albeit in different ways. Many years ago when I was a cop I got a call of a suicide. It turns out that this guy had a extensive gun collection, one of which was a .416 Rigby. For some reason that I don’t remember, things had gotten bad and he decided to end it all with a bullet to the chest. Needless to say, the bullet went through him without slowing down, punched a hole in the ceiling, and blew a hole through the roof before achieving orbit around the earth. On the other side of things, the recoil blasted the butt of the gun off the floor and punched the stock about halfway through his TV set. Elvis would have been proud. Both the entrance and exit wounds were remarkably small, but I didn’t get to see the autopsy so I can’t report on what it did to the innards.

Also, while I was a cop there was a gun store, the name of which escapes me, that specialized only in high-dollar classic guns, such as L.C. Smiths, H&H, big African doubles, and the like. One night this gun store was burglarized, and the thieves got away with some really expensive guns. Several months later a local convenience store was robbed at gunpoint and the perpetrators were caught shortly thereafter. As it turned out, the gun held on the proprietor was one of the guns taken in the burglary–a .416 Rigby that the thieves had sawed the barrel down to 18 inches. As I remember it, they didn’t have any ammo for it, but somehow looking down the bore of the thing was more than enough to convince the clerk to hand over the money, which was on the order of $100. There’s no telling what the gun itself was worth before these candidates for MENSA sawed it off, but I can assure you it was worth far in excess of their take. As my favorite saying goes, “Against stupidity, the gods themselves fight unvictorious.”

Yes, I’ve seen the .32 a number of times at autopsy and was underwhelmed. Use it for targets; leave it for self-defense.

Many thanks to those of you in this thread who have encouraged me to write a book. In fact, I’m doing just that as time permits which, of late, hasn’t been much due extensive travel associated with my job. At the rate it’s going we’ll all be dead and gone before the first draft ever makes it to the publisher. Although some of it will undoubtedly include things I’ve seen in the morgue, most of it will be about forensic cases I’ve worked throughout the state and about working mass graves in Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Tri-State Crematory, as well as identifying the tsunami dead in Thailand.

My wife has been encouraging me to write a book for years. Her thinking is that because of my previous law enforcement background as well as the fact that I’m engaged in a job that very, very few people have, I owe it to law enforcement and the public to share my experiences. But I’ve always put it off. Somehow, it’s more enjoyable to shoot a Steel Challenge match on Saturday (like I’m doing today), an IPSC match on the Sunday (like I’m doing tomorrow), or crank out some rounds on the Dillon 550 in the evening (like I did last night), than to sit down and write after a long day at work. Still, I’m doing a lot of lecturing throughout the country these days, both to law enforcement and the public at large, and because of the current infatuation with forensics and the uniqueness of my job, everywhere I go I’m asked when I’m going to publish. I guess the time has come to take some of the PowerPoint presentations I give and begin to shape them into a book.

Please forgive this interruption of the thread, but in addition to the encouragement I’ve received in this thread, I’ve also gotten e-mails from some of you asking the same thing and I just wanted to clear it up.

Someone else posted:

I am asking here, in response to a question I read in the Reload Forum …. Would a .44 magnum, 180 grain bullet, at 1400 fps give better results than the hot Federal 125 grain .357 magnum ? Or, is the result similar to the .416 Rigby ?

That’s a good question, Hook686, and not one I’m sure I can answer with certainty. First, muzzle velocity on both the .357 and .44 with the bullets you named will be around 1400 fps, give or take a little. Since velocity quadruples kinetic energy, it goes as a tie. Bullet weight, however, is greater with the .44, and since bullet weight is the second factor in kinetic energy, the nod would have to go to the .44.

But there are other factors, namely whether it expends all its energy in the body or goes zipping through to expend it in some inanimate (hopefully!) object behind the BG. I’ll have to confess that I’ve seen few instances of the .44 in the morgue, but when I have, with one exception, the bullet exited the body and was not recovered. That means that much of the energy was lost because of overpenetration. Most of the .357 bullets I’ve seen have remained in the body, meaning they expended all their energy in the BG (sniff). This is where we want the energy to be lost, not digging a divot in the pavement or poking a hole in granny’s mailbox.

And then there’s the issue of controllability. Dirty Harry’s one-handed shooting notwithstanding, most of us just aren’t good enough to get off that often-needed second shot from a .44 with any kind of accuracy, at least not in the time we need to be able to do it effectively. The .357 is more easily controlled and therefore a better option for self-defense, I think.

In this case and with these two calibers, at least, I think the nod would go to the .357. Remember, at only 1400 fps, the temporary cavity is going to be quite small regardless of bullet size or design and the weight of the .357 is about 70% of the weight of the .44, which, although significant, is not THAT much lighter.

In my opinion (and as with all things I’ve voiced in this thread it’s only that–an opinion) I think the .357 would be a better choice for self-defense. It’s more controllable than the .44, the rounds typically do not exit, meaning ALL the kinetic energy is expended in the BG instead of only part of it, and its reputation as a man-stopper is well-known.

Amputator, �
Like you, I’ve read innumerable reports on which calibers and which bullets are most effective for self-defense and come away totally confused. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read reports such as a 1-shot kill by a .22 to the gut while a similarly-placed .40 was completely ineffective. What the reports don’t tell you is that autopsy it was learned that the .22 that sent our BG to the Promised Land just managed to nick the 12th rib and was deflected upward into the ascending aorta or the right ventricle of the heart and that the .40 missed the 12th rib by 2mm and exited without hitting anything vital. Was this stroke of luck mentioned in the report? No. Did it have anything to do with the bullet or caliber? No. Did the author draw the conclusion that the .40 is therefore ineffective? Quite possibly.

And this is where I think observations from the morgue are so important. As I’ve mentioned before, day in and day out I get to see what works and what doesn’t and why. I’ve learned that multiple layers of winter clothing can slow the bullet to the point that a well-placed shot won’t reach the vital organs (it isn’t Kevlar, folks, but it can be marvelously effective). In the shooting reports you’ve read, is the season of the year ever mentioned? Rarely if ever. Only in the morgue can we see which bullets tend to skip off of bone and exit the body without causing significant damage and which break bone and plow into the vitals. Only in the morgue can we see the effects of a 1-shot kill because it was placed in the central nervous system versus multiple shots to other organs.

Let me assure you that there’s a lot of poor information and mis-information out there, much of which is being used by the public to determine which calibers and rounds they’ll carry for self-defense. Let me give you two examples: Despite the hype and negative publicity given the Black Talon by our liberal media, in my opinion and the opinions of most pathologists I work with, I find it no more effective than any other hollowpoint. In fact, the Black Talon that ventilated our BG (sniff) is at least as dangerous to those doing the autopsy as it was to him because of the sharp projections on the jacket. Is it effective? Absolutely, but it’s not to the extent that it has been portrayed. Also, I occasionally hear the statement that a guy hit in the hand with a .45 will be instantly knocked off his feet. I can assure you that this myth didn’t start in the morgue, yet it seems to persist. Sounds like a good project for the TV program Myth Busters. Volunteers?

Because of my job I not only get to see what works but I also have to keep up with current literature regarding new bullets and calibers so that I’ll recognize them at autopsy. I have to read books that talk about sectional density, fluid pressure, yield tests, and drag coefficient and their presumed effect on bullet performance (and to you insomniacs out there, let me suggest that you read one of these books at bedtime. Beats Tylenol PM every time and it most certainly isn’t habit forming). Some of this stuff seems to make sense at autopsy, some is utter hogwash, and some I just don’t know about. Even my Ph.D. won’t let me make sense of some of the physics touted in these books.

Being the pragmatic sort that I am, just let me see what works and what doesn’t and skip the physics needed to get there. And I get to do just that every day in my job.

Yeah, the Black Talons can present real problems for those of us who work in the morgue, more for the pathologists than for me. They get the ones that are fresh and recently dead. I mainly get the skeletal remains and the ones that are so decomposed that the ME can’t do much with them. The fresh ones are often IV drug users, crackheads, prostitutes, and gangbangers that often have hepatitis, HIV, TB, or some other variant of nasty cooties that have taken up residence in their bloodstream. A nicked finger through a nitrile glove while fishing for a Black Talon can present real problems for the pathologist. By the time I get ’em, most everything virulent has long since croaked. Contrary to what you frequently read or hear about in the news, there just isn’t a whole lot of stuff you can catch from a decomposing body.

And, yes, Black Talons are exceedingly sharp and have to be recovered with caution. Problem is, that prior to autopsy we seldom have any idea of what bullet to expect, and often not even the caliber. But then a fragmented jacket from almost any round usually has some sharp edges and corners and can present the same problem.

As for the .500, no, I haven’t seen it on the autopsy table and don’t expect to. Remember, most of the guns of this size are in the hands of law abiding gun owners, not gangbangers. Gangbangers are usually of the previously-mentioned “spray and pray” philosophy, meaning they want something like a 9mm or .380 that they can shoot rapidly (somehow, shot placement takes a back seat to unloading the magazine as rapidly as possible for these guys), and the .500 just isn’t a gun to be shot rapidly.

OK – this may sound stupid and naive, but can’t you use a metal detector to help locate fragments?

The problem isn’t locating the bullet fragments because they show up easily on x-rays. The problem is trying to remove the darn things without butchering the all-important wound track. We try to remove fragments of the core and jacket whenever we can in order to preserve evidence for later prosecution, and sometimes the only way to find them is to probe the bullet track with the fingers, which can be a bit dangerous in the case of Black Talons.

DM2, thank you for taking the time to post your info on this thread. I have a question about the 9mm. I carry the Winchester Ranger 127 grain +P+ in my G17. This load is chronoed at 1265 fps. It isn’t giving up much to the 357 magnum. Have you seen any of these and if not how do you think they would do? Also, what about the 357 Sig; it is basically the 357 mag in an auto. Thanks!

I haven’t seen the 127-grain +P Ranger come across the autopsy table so in all fairness I can’t comment on it. Granted, velocity-wise it’s pretty similar to the .357 and with the 127-grain bullet they seem to be about the same here also. But as I’ve said in many posts on this thread I just don’t trust the 9mm for self-defense. The .357 Magnum and the .357 Sig, yes, but not the 9mm. No, I haven’t seen the .357 Sig at autopsy but from all accounts it’s pretty much a semi-auto version of the notoriously deadly .357 Magnum.

In the next two posts I’m going to bounce off a couple of things I’ve seen that can throw a wrench is this discussion of bullet types, calibers, and shot placement. One I’ve seen mentioned anecdotally from time to time in reports of shootings and the other I seldom if ever have.

We’ve already talked about physiological factors required to end a fight. Suffice it to say that the best of all worlds is a hit to the central nervous system. A hit to the brain or upper spinal column ends the fight then and there, be it from a bb gun or a .600 Nitro Express. That’s the good news. The bad news, as we’ve talked about earlier, is that these two areas are among the hardest to hit and aren’t real high on the list of areas we should be aiming at to end a gunfight. It’s the chest area that should be our focus since it’s loaded with high-value goodies that can end the fight quickly, if not immediately.

But in addition to physiological factors, we’ve also got a psychological component to consider. That is, what’s the state of mind of the assailant and how determined is he to continue the fight once the bullets start flying? For you students of the Hatcher Formula, you’ll know that this is not a new concept. I’ll try to summarize Hatcher’s thoughts here, taking a bit of poetic license from my own experience in the morgue.

First, there’s the assailant who, when the rounds start flying, suddenly remembers an appointment with his dentist to have a couple of root canals done. To quote Hatcher, he has “no stomach for the fight, or who has no expectation of trouble and is taken by surprise.” He will “quit at the first sign of trouble, and any wound, however slight, will put him out of the fight.” There are documented cases of assailants fainting at the first sound of gunfire even though they were not hit. These are the BGs we all hope to encounter.

The second group is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from this lengthy discussion. The gunfight starts, the adrenaline is pumping, and there’s an ongoing assessment of the situation. If a wound is slight, the gunfight may continue. If it’s significant, self-preservation usually takes over and the assailant seeks medical attention or at least breaks off the conflict in the hope of doing so. This is pretty much the normal reaction.

The third group is the assailant who is determined to kill you regardless of the consequences. Often they are enraged, drug-ridden, or simply mentally disturbed, and self-preservation takes a back seat to their all-important purpose of killing you. Of the three groups, these are the ones we most have to worry about. Cumulative, well-placed shots in the torso of these folks may well kill but not immediately, leaving them time to return fire.

Group One I’ve never seen because they never make it to the autopsy table. They live to fight another day or suddenly decide that going back to their mundane job is a bit safer than a life of crime. Group Two is what we see most often. Group Three, although I don’t see it a lot, really scares me. More often than not this involves police shootings, often of the deranged or inordinately determined criminal, or one involving suicide by cop. Often these are people who, at least in their minds, have nothing to lose and are determined that the fight ends then and there and either they or their victim will die in the process. Many times multiple, well-placed hits, although not ineffective, do not prevent the attack from continuing well beyond what would have stopped a person from Group One or Group Two.

You’ll notice that psychological factors are independent of caliber. The sound of a .22 may cause Group One to flee in abject terror. Likewise, a significant wound from any caliber may cause Group Two to reassess the situation, and Group Three will likely continue the fight regardless of what the BG is being shot with.

I’ll post the second part of this later and tie the two together with a third post at a later time. After the next post you’ll probably see where I’m going with this and hopefully it will provide some food for thought. That’s the good thing about working in a morgue. The things I see from day to day give me pause for thought, not only about weapons but about tactics and equipment, which is where this is headed.

Deadmeat,�
if you were to carry a 9mm, wouldn’t you say that the 127 grain +P+ Ranger would be THE load? A deer doesn’t know the difference between a .260 or a 7mm-08. I don’t think a person would notice the 100 fps slower 9mm. Just my opinion and no flame (disrespect) intended.

In theory I would agree with you; in reality I just don’t know. Remember, our BGs don’t sit around reading Gun Tests or some other magazine that evaluates ammo, and more often than not we never find out exactly what the BG was shot with except perhaps brand and caliber (and often not even that). So it’s possible that I’ve seen 127-grain +P Ranger and not even known it, but I think it’s more likely that it’s never come across on the table. Usually what we dig out is whatever was on sale at Wally World the day our BG decided to take some of his hard-earned drug money to buy some ammo, not what he decided to

Someone else posted:

This whole business of what caliber/bullet/load to carry for self-defense has been talked to death (pun intended) but that never stops me from joining in and offering my 2 cents worth. I always like to ask people about their expectations during a criminal attack. Do you expect to be attacked by 5′ 4″ 110LB 75 year old Mrs. Jones with her “attack umbrella”? Hey, stick that pellet gun in your belt and be on your way? Perhaps, like me, you think it much more likely you’ll be set upon by 6′ 12″ 325LB Louie Packaload who just got paroled from the state pen (assault on a police officer and possession of a big fat bag of crack) and who comes equipped with a big knife and a fresh load of heroine, PCP, or meth (or some combination of the three with a few shots of Jack Danials thrown in) pumped into his arm. Uh oh, did I bring the .380 or the .44 mag? Maybe its winter time and Louie is well dressed with a heavy leather jacket, a sweater, and a heavy flannel shirt. Now, whatta YOU want to be pack’n? Hey, shoot me with a 9mm +P+ and I’m on my ass in a heartbeat. Shoot Louie with the same load and you’ve got one pissed off ex-con to deal with. Friends, I’m a big believer is safety margins and there isn’t much of a bigger margin with a handgun) than a 200-240 gr. JHP clipping along at 1200+ fps and to hell with “overpenetration” I wanna win and I wanna stay alive. You pays yer money and you makes yer choices.

Well, you’re both right. All things considered I’d rather have a head shot regardless of caliber than a body shot with a hand cannon. But I, for one, just don’t consider myself good enough to do it consistently so I’m directing my bullets toward the chest. For those of you who can consistently hit the head under combat conditions, more power to you.

And Dusty Miller is exactly right. It isn’t going to be a Michael Jackson or Pee Wee Herman look-alike who holds you up at gunpoint. More than likely it’s going to be some drugged-ridden, bulked up, 5-time ex-con who makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like the runt of the litter. And for him I want the absolute biggest caliber and bullet I can control and fire effectively and quickly. And there’s no such thing as a margin of safety too large as long as I can handle it.

Yes, the 127-grain Ranger +P might do the job effectively. Or it might not. As Dusty Miller says, the margin of safety is just way too small for comfort for me. If you can learn to shoot the 9mm effectively, how much harder would it be to learn to shoot the .40 or .45? Probably not much, and believe me they’re both effective with any load.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I’ve NEVER failed to see a .40 or .45 get the job done. I can’t say the same about the 9mm.

By now you’ve probably figured out that I don’t like the 9mm for self-defense with any bullet. I’m a big fan of the .45 followed by the .40. I’m not intentionally avoiding your questions but the answer to them will become clear after the next post or two if I can stay in town long enough to get it cranked out.

Someone else posted:

This is getting ridiculous. Being shot 12 times in the chest with 9mm ammo and feeling “tired” is very interesting. Not knowing you are shot means is neural pain pathways are not working and he needs treatment because he probably has an auto-immune disorder. The 45 is in no way vastly superior to the 9mm. Just look at the physics and biology of a man. Plus, the blood loss from 12 9mm holes would cause death in a matter of minutes. All I am saying is if the 9mm is so poor, the 45 is not going to be much better. If you think it is so much better, what about it makes it so vastly superior to the 9mm? Let me say, that I have no love for the 9mm, I just think it is a good caliber and a disservice to people to mislead them into thinking the 9mm is weak or “for their wives.”

Your points are well taken, Patton21, and I agree with you to a point. But there’s method in my madness and if you’ll bear with me for a bit longer I’ll try to explain (but not try to convince) you why I believe the .40 and .45 are superior to the 9mm. You’re absolutely right in believing there’s no magic bullet and no magic caliber.

As has been stated before, I’m not schooled in ballistics and I make no assumptions that require that I be. I’m only stating what I’ve seen in the morgue, which I consider to be the finest university of self-defense. I’m far from an expert in ballistics, but having been a cop for seven years, a hunter and avid handgunner for half a century, and having seen thousands of autopsies gives me a unique perspective.

I’m only stating what I’ve seen, not what I’ve read about. Bear with me a bit longer, follow the posts, and make your own decisions at the end of it all.

Ok, if you think the psychological factor threw a wrench into the equation think about this one. You’ve just put three well-placed shots in the chest of some thug who was trying to do the same thing to you–and he stays in the fray! What happened to these well-placed shots that were supposed to end the fight? Enter the luck factor.

Even though our goodie-packed thoracic area is what we should be aiming at, there’s no guarantee that the vital organs contained therein will be hit. Hence, the luck factor. The temporary cavity of almost any self-defense handgun round is so small that it will pretty much take a direct hit from the bullet itself to bring about the much-desired damage. Believe it or not, there’s a fair amount of dead space (uh, let me rephrase that, non-vital space)in the chest that will allow a bullet to penetrate and exit without striking something vital. We see it from time to time and it’s the main reason that it’s tactically advantageous to continue firing until the BG is either headed to Gangbanger Heaven or he’s shot so full of holes that he probably will be shortly. The more rounds that hit the chest the better the odds are that at least one of them will hit something that will cause incapacitation.

Where I’m going with this should be obvious by now, particularly after the posts on the psychological factor and now the luck factor. Ok, you’ve just been attacked by some thug who’s high on meth, needs your money for another fix, has just gotten out of prison and is determined not to go back. He stands 6’8″ tall, weighs 350 pounds and it’s pure muscle. You’ve just put three rounds into his chest to no effect and three others have missed. He’s still coming, madder than ever. You do have your speedloaders with you, don’t you? Or, if it’s a semi-auto, please tell me you always carry a spare magazine! Surely you wouldn’t go out with only the ammo that’s in the weapon! Or would you?

Someone else posted:

Interesting thread. I am not sure I agree with some of the conclusions though, and based upon my own experiences and research I tend to believe that a good 9mm is about the same as a good .40 or .45 or .38 or .357. But I am always open to learning.

The “which is best” discussions seem to largely ignore issues such as gun weight, size, recoil, barrel length, bullet choice, shot placement, etc. Dirty Harry notwithstanding, most armed citizens and non-uniform cops have to deal with real-world weight and size issues that make a 9mm appealing. I also can’t help but wonder about anecdotal stories when the stories seem to defy common sense.

A 200 lb man is going to be substantially more affected by a .40 projectile weighing 165 gr than he is by a .35 projectile weighing 127 gr. and traveling at a similar velocity? Why?

A 9mm traveling at 1000 fps and weighing 124 gr is going to penetrate more than a .40 155 gr. bullet at about the same velocity? Why?

A 124 gr 9mm bullet traveling at about the same velocity as a 125 gr. .357 magnum is less effective?

The .357 is better than the .45 but a 9mm with similar properties as the .357 is much worse?

Help me out here.

I also am having trouble reconciling a few things:

  • 1. The most common gunshot wounds DM2 sees are from .380 and 9mm.
  • 2. He works in a morgue so these are all deaths.
  • 3. Therefore, he sees more people killed with .380 and 9mm than any other caliber.
  • 4. But the .380 and 9mm are ineffective as defense calibers?

(I understand that there is a difference between “stopping” someone and killing them, but this whole thread is about dead folks, not “stopped” folks)

Maybe more people shot with the .45 survive? Or are a lot less people shot with the .45? If so, what does that say about the validity of the conclusions?

I have first hand knowledge of a triple homicide in which the victims were each shot once with a .25 and stopped in their tracks. Do I carry a .25? No.

Why does DM2 say the 9mm is a bad choice? I can’t discern the reason from the data. If it that they didn’t expire quickly enough, fine, tell me more. Is it that when they come in they are accompanied by another dead guy, whom they shot after first being hit? Great, tell me more.

If it is just the fact that the deceased often have multiple injuries, does that mean the first round failed? Does it mean the first round didn’t work? Or does it mean these calibers allow follow-up shots that are harder to accomplish with larger calibers? Or does it mean they were killed by some whacko who just kept shooting? Are the multiple shots well-placed? Tell me more. What are the comparisons? If you have, say, three times as many 9mm shootings as .45 shootings you would expect to see a lot more weird results. What are the statistics?

If you have 40 shootings with a .45 and 50 with a 9mm and 7 out of 10 of the .45 shootings were one shot “kills” that might tell me something, but I don’t find that here.

I assume these are mostly killings by bad guys. What ammo did they use? FMJ? Where were the rounds placed? Just guessing here that if you randomly looked at 100 shootings with a 9mm and 100 shootings with a .40, both by average citizens or bad guys, you would find a higher percentage of old-style hollow points, fmj ammo and other less-than-ideal rounds in 9mm than you would in the newer .40. Does this factor in?

If I remember correctly, Atlanta P.D. went to the .40 a couple of years ago. How many of their shootings factor into this? One would assume they are using top-rated ammo and have a better record of well-placed shots.

Does this factor in?

What is wrong with the 9mm? Is it lack of penetration or lack of expansion, or what? Do the victims just not respect it and suffer less?

I don’t think there is much value in factoring suicides into this. In my comparatively limited experience, a suicide via gun is going to be a contact wound to the head/face or to the chest, and can’t be compared to a non-suicide. Same with an execution-style shooting.

I’m not saying DM2 is wrong, and I am not questioning his honesty or good intentions, just wondering about the data. I have no quibble with his caliber choice but I gather some people are thinking of switching calibers or ammo based on this thread. Fine, but does the data back up the conclusions?

I have heard the stories over the years about people being shot 10, 20, 30 times with a 9mm and barely noticing. Frankly, I don’t buy these stories. I got shot by a .25. it did little damage, but I did notice. I also have first-hand experience with people getting shot with .38, .357, .44, .22 .25, 9mm and .223 rounds and have seen some interesting responses from those folks, including a guy shot in the chest with a .38 and he wouldn’t sit still and wait for the medics. Interesting, but probably meaningless, although i don’t have much faith in wadcutteres now.

I would love to see some of the statistics or other data from DM2 on bullets, wound locations, etc.

Bottom line is this: I respect your conclusions, your background and your experience. You have more experience in this area than do I, and your opinions are worth knowing, but I would rather have data and facts so I can reach my own conclusions. Just saying “I’m a cop…trust me, the.45 is no good” or “I work in an ER and I would never carry a 9mm” or “my son was in Iraq and hated his M4” doesn’t give me much. Telling me how calibers and bullets work when they hit bone, muscle, intermediate barriers, etc., can be very helpful. In other words, I would like to hear more about what you have seen than how you feel. No offense…….

Another person posted:

Ok, sorry to be long-winded.

I continue to disagree. NO handgun round is a miracle weapon. IF any weapon gets that misnomer is would be a high powered rifle. I don’t understand this “myth” that the 45 is the “Holy Grail” of handguns; that if you are not using a 45 acp you are under-gunned. Isn’t the first rule to be armed anyway? What about shot placement? Oh yeah, in 4 years of law enforcement I have NEVER seen a meth/crack head that weighed over 200 pounds. Not that they don’t exist, just that I don’t think the chances of running into 6’8″ 350 pound Bubba are high.

Someone else posted:

Right, Chris. In the Glock annual this year they had the story of a policeman who went against some home invaders with her Glock 21, a .45 caliber. She hit one BG in the head and he stayed in the fight. She hit another (I forget where) several times, he too stayed in the fight. She was shot three times. One of the BG’s died later I believe. She and the other BG survived, and she’s back to work.

As to shot placement, a lot of people use that term. As you no doubt know in a real gun fight, often, you’re lucky to get a hit, much less a ‘shot placed’ where you want it. I guess that’s where a larger caliber bullet would be nice, even poorly placed it’s likely to do more damage than say, a .380.

A lot of stopping the threat, I think, is luck and having lots of ammo. I don’t have any statistics. but I wonder what percentage of BG’s are stopped by “spray and pray.” I’ll bet it’s a lot. Spray and pray, in fact, will probably be the default option for all amateurs and more than a few policemen. It’s a good one.

On the subject of 9mm’s. We had an officer a while back who was shot by his partner’s gun when the BG took it. (Most unfortunate, but it happens.) The officer was a big guy. He was shot in the upper left chest, and while it didn’t kill him, it clearly took him out of the fight. This was a 124 gr +P+ fired from a Glock 17 or 19. The BG was taken out of the fight, and quickly died, with two shots of the same ammo, also from a Glock 17 or 19.

I don’t want to contradict true experts, but just throw this into the mix. I’d have to say, carry the largest caliber you will carry and can handle, is probably a good rule of thumb. Every little edge helps at a time like this.

If you’re like I am, you read discussions like these, you want to run out and buy a .45. But that’s not going to happen with most people and for many good reasons. And I think that’s fine. Get as good as you can with what you can handle and afford.

But I much appreciate Deadmeat’s comments and the others as well.

The idea I got from DM2 was that most of the multiple shot kills he sees are the result of a 9mm or .380 ,while a body with only 1 or 2 holes in it was almost always killed right off by a single .357,.40,.45 .

I agree with DM2s observations and value them because they go along with most everything I have heard from other sources. Also because I believe a heavy slow moving bullet like a .45 has more smack down power than a 9mm. It makes a bigger hole, it’s putting a lot more metal in your body and the wider bullet will transfer more energy into the target that a real small one. It’s just an established fact, bigger bullets kill better than smaller ones do. If I’m going to be gut shot in a gun fight I’m praying it’s a .22,.25 or .32 slug in me rather than a .45 or hollow point .357. I’d even take a .380 or 9mm to a .40 or .45 sort.

Have your buddy poke you in the ass with a sewing needle, then have him drive a 10 penny nail into ya, see which wound is sorest for the longest. lol .

Likewise, shoot a deer with a 30’06 or 7mm,then shoot another with a .45-70.

Lol, no one will ever accuse me of being scientific. Neither will anyone ever convince me lighter and faster is always better.

But I’m getting off the subject.

The biggest things I get from DM2 is

  • 1. Bigger the bullet is the better chance you have of hitting something important as the bullet goes in and bounces around in the guts.
  • 2.Hollow points can get clogged up as they go in and lose there effectiveness, or else get shattered on some bone and bounce around for a little while in several pieces, killing the bad man eventually but still allowing him to shoot ya as he bleeds out internally.
  • 3. Your probably going to have to shoot multiple times if you have to shoot once.

I think we all agree on these points.

My coworker was confronted by an armed robber and tossed his wallet over as demanded, hitting the robber in the chest. The LEO drew his issued 9mm as the robber picked up the wallet.

The first two went in the dirt. Six went into the upper legs and groin, removing or damaging the testicles. Surgeons may have finished up later. By this time I suspect the BG had a huge adrenaline dump.

The LEO continued bringing his gun upward to the chest and emptied it, which was six more rounds. At least two were near the heart.

The BG commented that he felt tired, sat down and then reclined, still holding on to his S&W Sigma 9mm.

This had been a close in gun fight in which both parties moved as the range increased. The LEO suffered a grazing wound described as a burn by a passing bullet.

The BG survived and is in custody. That he lived may have been due to the immediate medical care he received. The incident occurred in a large US city accustomed to treating gunshot wounds.

Take from this what you will. We do not teach shooting into the ground or targeting the thighs or groin. The street and reality differs from training and the school solution.

I think my coworker did the best he could in that moment in time with his life on the line. I would hope I could do as well.

I can’t say any other caliber or load would have made a difference. I can only say this did happen and my source of information was the LEO who debriefed our involved agent.

The shoot was ruled justifiable.

Everyone should carry what they are comfortable with, but there are NO magic bullets…..

BEN SCHMITT�
Detroit Free Press via the Associated Press

Detroit police officials are investigating the ammunition officers use after a bullet fired from a cop’s gun bounced off a suspect’s head and another bullet failed to penetrate the winter jacket of a suspected robber.

These two recent incidents — and rumors of others — have touched off a fierce debate that’s raging from patrol cars to the gun range to the chief’s office. It’s a sensitive topic in a department under federal supervision, partly because of complaints about excessive force.

Chief Ella Bully-Cummings ordered the investigation.

“Any time officers are concerned, in order to dispel those concerns, it’s important that we look into the matter,” said Bully-Cummings, adding that the type of ammunition the department is using “is one of the best.”

The .40-caliber bullets are manufactured by Federal Cartridge Co. of Anoka, Minn. They are known as expanding full metal jackets.

The chief said they were first issued in January 2004, after years of urging by the police officers’ union, which wants ammunition that will stop a threat but not so powerful that bullets plow through bodies and hurt other people.

The chief said another worry of the officers is that body-piercing bullets — known as full metal jackets — sometimes allow gunmen, even after being hit, to continue to advance on officers while firing. Expanding full metal jackets differ from standard full metal jackets in that their tips are filled with a silicone-like substance and are designed to stop inside the body rather than exit.

Rich Weaver, secretary-treasurer of the Detroit Police Officers Association, wants more answers. “We do know there were some recent incidents where some rounds did not take effect,” he said Tuesday. “A bullet is supposed to go through winter clothes. We can’t shut down for winter season.”

Detroit Police Sgt. Lawrence Semczak, a supervisor at the department’s gun range, insists there is nothing wrong with the current bullets.

“There’s a major misperception out there right now,” Semczak said. “It’s all conjecture. The rounds do what they’re intended to do, which is stop a threat.”

Evan Marshall, a retired Detroit police sergeant who lives in Midland, has written three books on ballistics. He’s a proponent of the current ammunition.

“It’s certainly better than the standard full metal jacket, which will over-penetrate and endanger bystanders and other officers,” Marshall said Tuesday. “A straight, full metal jacket will go through a target. It won’t deform unless it hits a major bone.”

Federal Cartridge Co. said in a statement Tuesday that it is “working directly with the Detroit Police Department to support all of their ammunition research needs regarding this matter. It is impossible for us to respond in detail to this specific situation without doing further examination.”

Spokesman Jason Nash said in the statement: “We do have full confidence in our product based on extensive testing and previous live-fire field reports and will do all we can to support the Police Department’s investigation.”

Nash said Detroit’s bullets are also used by numerous other departments, and he knows of no other complaints.

The first incident that sparked worry took place Feb. 1. A Detroit officer fired at a robbery suspect, who had fired a gun. The bullet hit the suspect’s head but did not penetrate. He was hospitalized with a head wound, but an examination showed the bullet did not enter his skull — perhaps because the man had a metal plate in his head from a previous injury.

“The incident raised our concern,” Bully-Cummings said.

The second incident took place Feb. 12 when several officers from the 6th (Plymouth) Precinct shot and killed another robbery suspect, who was shooting at them. An officer was seriously wounded in the fusillade, and the suspect was struck 11 times. But when the officers and evidence technicians examined the man’s body, they reported that at least one of the bullets had failed to penetrate his thick winter jacket.

More from Deadmeat2:

At long last we’ve got a little controversy here so let me see if I can sort out some things that I apparently didn’t make as clear as I might have. First, I’m not a pied piper seeking to wean you believers of the 9mm over to the .40 or .45. I happen to like ’em both, and, as you’ve probably guessed, I’m not a big fan of the 9mm, but for those of you who are, fine. I’ve got no problem with it.

Second, there has been a fair amount of anecdotal evidence presented in the past few posts, little of which I have much faith in. We’ve all read stories about the BG who was hit with 2 magazines of +P and lived to tell the tale, often with the conclusion that the caliber used was ineffective. And, as I said in an earlier post, what isn’t said is what clothing he was wearing, what his state of mind was, what the bullet did once it hit bone and/or flesh, what ammo was used and whether the hollowpoint hit an intermediate target before reaching our BG… The list goes on and on. We can rehash stories we’ve read citing various calibers and bullets, but are these really a basis on what we should be using do decide what to carry? I think not.

Third, there’s no “magic bullet”, caliber, or weapon. Folks, it just doesn’t exist. No, not even the .45. The closest thing we’ll ever get to a “magic bullet” is the one that hits the central nervous system, and that’s also the only one that guarantees a one-shot stop.

10ring makes some good points, as expected. I wish I had data to back up all of this, but the only way to get it would be to wade through every autopsy report and accompanying police report, review the autopsy photos, and then review the tox and ballistics reports, clothing photos, and crime scene photos, all of which would figure into the findings of the ultimate demise of our BG. And even these would be incomplete. Sometimes due to bullet fragmentation or deformation we never even know what caliber they were hit with much less with what bullet. There might be some way to get at part of the data needed for a complete analysis but it would require a large investment of time, which I don’t have. As I said early on, these are observations only, nothing more, nothing less.

Rather than responding to all the numerous questions posed in the past few posts, let me just lay it on the line. For ME, there’s one main factor I’m looking for in a defensive weapon, and everything else is secondary. It isn’t velocity, since in most handgun calibers we just can’t get the velocity up enough to make an appreciable increase in the size of the temporary cavity. It isn’t bullet type, because for the most part modern bullets have increased in efficiency to the point that they pretty much do what we want them to and do it reliably. It isn’t dumping all the energy in the BG although this is preferable to dumping it outside of him. And, no, it isn’t even caliber. It’s something I’ve talked about in a couple of other posts.

It’s PENETRATION. Pure and simple. Give me guaranteed penetration to the vital organs with whatever caliber you like and I’ll take it to a gunfight any day, 9mm included. As I said in another post, you don’t have to shred the heart, just hit it, and a BG with an artery nicked by a 9mm is just as bad off if it were hit with a .45.

And it’s here that I have a problem with the 9mm and .380 (and a few other calibers as well). Yes, many time they penetrate to the vitals just as well as a .45 or a .44 Magnum for that matter. But many times they don’t. Yes, I’ve seen it. When I brought this up in an earlier post or two, I thought I had made that clear, but maybe I didn’t so let me try again.

Assuming that we’re going for the chest, we need to know that the vitals contained within it are extremely well protected by bone. We’ve got 24 ribs and the sternum (breast bone) in front, the clavicle (collarbone) and part of the scapula (shoulder blade) on top, and ribs, scapula, and the spine in the back. Not only that, but the bones are all tightly-spaced making it very difficult for a bullet to hit the goodies without striking bone first. Throw in the fact that when the arms are at the sides, the sides of the chest are protected even more and you’ve got a high-value area that’s hard for many bullets to reach.

As I’ve said in an earlier post, there are two main components to ending a fight. One is shot placement, i.e., what part of the body does the bullet strike to begin with, and, two, what does the bullet do once it gets there? A perfectly placed shot to the chest will often be ineffective if it doesn’t penetrate. Conversely, a poorly placed shot may end the fight if it does. It’s penetration that I think is the principal component in ending a fight and everything else is secondary.

From empirical observation of what comes across the autopsy table, I’ve noticed MANY times that the 9mm or .380 strikes bone and is deflected into a non-vital area, never reaching vital organs. And I’ve seen it with multiple shots on occasion. Other times the 9mm or .380 will fragment before reaching the vitals or just plain haul up short. Whatever the reason, often times adequate penetration needed to reach vital organs is not achieved and the fight continues. Much of this, I think, is related primarily to bullet weight with the 9mm typically weighing about half of the .45. Yes, I’ve already said the .357 is a proven man-stopper with the 125-grain bullet, so it’s not entirely a function of bullet weight.

As I think I’ve said before, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a .45 fail to penetrate adequately, and it’s for that reason that it’s my carry weapon. Time and time again I’ve seen the venerable .45 just keep plowing along, busting up bone instead of skipping off of it or being stopped by it. If it’s headed in the direction of the vital organs, there isn’t much that’s going to deter it from its intended target.

All things being equal, I suspect that a hit to the vitals with a 9mm ends the fight as quickly as an identical hit with a .45. At least in the autopsies I’ve seen I’ve never had any indication to the contrary. But that’s not the point. Let me say it clearly here. In my humble opinion, the 9mm and .380 are more likely to fragment or be deflected into a non-vital area or to simply stop short of reaching the vital organs than a similarly-placed shot with a .45. It’s all due to penetration.

For me, I want a large bullet from a large caliber in a weapon that I can control effectively and get off multiple shots from effectively. I want that bullet to be able to CONSISTENTLY PENETRATE the thoracic area even with heavy clothing, and I want a margin of safety built in to the extent that I’m still confident of the effects of the weapon under less than optimal conditions. For me, at least, it’s that simple.

Someone else posts:

I certainly hope my comments were not considered defamatory, and if everyone agreed and there were no questions or debate this would be kind of boring, wouldn’t it?

So the answer is that you believe penetration to be critical and believe the .45 offers more consistent penetration than does the 9mm.

Well, I agree on the penetration issue (combined with some measure of expansion, and the manner of expansion) and agree that the best .45 bullets probably offer more consistent performance than their 9mm counterparts. But I also believe that the .45 performs best in longer (4-5″ barrels) and can actually be less effective than a 9mm when you try to push it out of a 3.25-3.5″ barrel. It just starts slowing down too much unless you start with a really hot .45, which in a small and light gun will be a handful and placing quick and accurate follow-up shots will be more difficult for most of us.

I think that with the right bullet, the differences between the 9, 40 and 45 are fairly small, and are probably outweighed in any particular case by other factors, such as the “target’s” clothing, size, mental state, distance, intoxication, shot placement, etc.

I also think that those bullets that expand in a manner resulting in jagged edges are likely to cause more tissue damage and more blood loss and therefore will tend to be more effective when a major organ is not hit.

It can’t be just penetration, or we could all carry 9mm fmj and be done with it. It can’t just be diameter or we could just use .45 ball ammo. The wounding mechanism of a handgun bullet is complicated and there are a lot of pet theories out there.

I understand that it probably isn’t feasible for you to provide the data or detail that I would like to see, and I gather others may not care. Personally, I just find these discussions of caliber and bullet more interesting when accompanied by hard information, but the discussion is still interesting even without that.

Deadmeat2 Responds:

Ok, let’s get to some of those questions. First, my Ph.D. is from the University of Tennessee in Anthropology. And, no, my dissertation isn’t on ballistics, wound characteristics, or anything else even vaguely related to this topic. And, no, I don’t consider the fact that I’ve got a Ph.D. to elevate me above anyone else as anyone who knows me will tell you. Yes, I spent quite a bit of time in Kosovo and another eight months in Bosnia working mass graves over there.

Let’s go back a bit. My disparaging remarks about the 9mm notwithstanding, I own two of them, used to reload for them, and for years used to use one as my carry weapon. In fact, my .45 is a relatively recent acquisition, bought only after I started working in the morgue. And there’s a reason for it, the reason being that I’ve just seen too many instances where the 9mm fragments or stops short of reaching the vital organs.

I can understand your desire for data but how do I give it? I could show you x-rays of fragmented 9mm bullets beneath the skin, but that isn’t allowed. I could give you autopsy reports detailing the bullet path and the resulting injury but that isn’t allowed either. And you’re absolutely right that often the ME can’t tell what caliber and/or bullet was recovered at autopsy, and I clearly stated that in one of my earlier posts.

Look, I’ve tried to do one thing and one thing only here. I’ve tried as best I can to summarize my observations from what I’ve seen in the morgue. I’ve seen 9mm rounds fragment before reaching the vital organs and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a .45 do that. That’s all I’ve said, nothing more. I’ve never claimed that this was research, just observation. I’m fully aware that wound ballistics are complex and that penetration is due, in part, to an interaction of bullet type, velocity, and a few other things. All of that is interesting but that was never the thrust of this thread. Let me say it once again. All I’ve said all along through the past 15 pages or so is that I’ve seen the 9mm and .380 often fragment or stop short of reaching the vitals but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a .45 do so.

Someone posted:

I’ve been in public service since 1983, including time as a paramedic in Washington DC, an Army MP, a state probation officer, and a state prosecutor.

Since 1983 most of the killings I have seen have been .38 Special/.380 ACP and below caliber. I prosecuted one murder 2 in 2003 where a drunk migrant fruit-picker got into an argument with another drunk and let fly from 30 feet, in near total darkness, drunk, with a 2″ Charter Arms Undercover .38, and hit the target (who at 5’6″ weighed 230 lbs and was intoxicated both on alcohol and cocaine) in the left chest twice with lead round-nose ammo that had to be thirty years old, and killed him. The medical examiner told me that the victim was out of the fight instantly and died in minutes, from a transected artery and punctured lung.

I also saw D.C. police shoot a guy riding the Love Boat (marijuana laced with PCP) six times with issue .38/.357 revolvers in 1986, and he still planted a knife in one of the officers before going down.

More from Deadmeat2:

10ring, sounds like your week was about like mine. It came to me last night what the problem was here, and from the sound of it neither one of us quite seemed to see it. You were making a case for WHY a given bullet or caliber worked or didn’t. I was making a pitch not so much for WHY, but that it does. Your side is an argument that started long before either of us were born and will still be raging long after we’re gone. As I saw it, my side wasn’t open to debate.

To question my observation that I’ve seen SOME 9mm and .380 (and other caliber bullets) fragment and/or not penetrate and the vaunted .45 not fail to do so you’ve got to assume one of three things: a. I didn’t see it (I did), b. I saw it and changed the facts (lied) to fit whatever agenda I had (I didn’t) or c. actually saw it and somehow misinterpreted it (I didn’t). I guess you got my dander up because I thought you were somehow questioning my integrity, which I realize now you weren’t.

And apparently I never quite made it clear that I’m not talking about the 9mm or .380 fragmenting or failing to penetrate in every case or, for that matter, even in most of them. In most cases it works just fine and will hold its own against any caliber, including the .45. But my point was that I’ve seen a pretty large number of them (don’t ask for numbers because I don’t have ’em) of 9mm and .380 bullets that failed to penetrate and/or fragmented beyond what was effective. Does it happen often? Not a lot, but happens often enough that I would be reluctant to use it as a carry weapon. Does the same thing happen with the .45? Possibly, although I’ve never seen it. That’s all I was saying.

I don’t know where you’re located but you obviously know where I am. Sure, I’d love to have lunch or a beer with you. Better yet, why don’t you give me a call and drop by the morgue for a visit. I’d love to show you around. Maybe we’ll have one on the autopsy table that has had a few holes poked in him with a 9mm or .45 and we can continue the discussion while prodding the innards. Looking forward to hearing from you.

DM2, I have enjoyed your posts and most of the others in this thread.

As for some information backing up some of what DM2 has posted, there was an article a few years ago documenting the Texas Dept. of Public Safety’s search for a new pistol. They had gone from .357 mag revolvers to .45 and 9mms. They studied all of their shootings and found that often officers were required to fire into cars, so ability to penetrate windshields and car doors was a consideration. I am going from memory here but here as some of the highlights:

.357 mag worked quite well but they were going with a semi-auto pistol. This was the round that all others were judged by.

9mm penetrated windshields and car doors BUT the bullet tended to fragment, meaning Bad Guy was hit with only fragments which did not penetrate heavy clothing.

.45 would penetrate windshields and car doors and stay intact. The problem was that going thru the windshields or car doors slowed the round down enough that it would not penetrate heavy clothing.

.40 caliber was considered but viewed as a cross between 9mm and .45, meaning you get the best and worst of both calibers.

.357 SIG is what they ended up getting. It had similar ballistics with .357 mag, would penetrate windshields and car doors and still have velocity and bullet weight to penetrate a bad guy.

I am not advocating .357 SIG, just pointing out that some of DM2’s observations are correct. I have shot the .357 SIG but don’t really care for it. Another agency I know of considered the recoil and size of their officers and ended up with 9mms and have done quite well with them. I believe they are/were using Cor Bon ammo.

As far as shot placement goes, you could have two different bullets hit a body in the same area and both bullets could and probably will take wildly different tracks on their journey thru the human body. Gang bangers and Thugs are not known for using thing like sights; they advocate the spray and pray method or the up close and personal shooting (gun to back of head).

Right now, my duty weapon is a .40 (Speer Gold Dot), my back-up weapon is a S&W 360 PD (357 mag. Glaser), my off duty weapons are a 1911 .45 (Speer Gold Dot) and a 9mm (Federal EFMJ).

Deadmeat2 says:

The reason so many folks wind up on the autopsy table with 9mm and .380 holes poked in ’em is because these two calibers are the ones most commonly carried by the BGs. It stands to reason that the more BGs that are carrying them, the more BGs that will wind up on the autopsy table with these rounds in them. And in most cases they work quite well. Let me make this clear. Still, as I said in a very recent post, there are a fair number of times when they don’t, and these are the times that give me pause for thought. I realize that nothing is guaranteed regardless of caliber, but I’ve can’t seem to remember a .45 that fragmented or failed to reach the vitals as a result of a deflected bullet but I can think of plenty of times when I’ve seen the .380 or 9mm do it.

And that’s a great point about the choice of calibers for the poe’-leece (as we call them down here). Remember, though, that a traffic stop is pretty much different than the way the average citizen generally encounters a BG. More often than not it’s at an ATM at 3:00 in the morning, a deserted street, or some other place where an intermediate target such as a car door or windshield won’t be in the way. Not that I think a bullet that would penetrate these would be a bad idea by any means.

You’re right, Catshooter, it fell through the cracks. Sorry. Anyway, I carry a Para-Ordnance Para Carry loaded with 230-grain Gold Dot, but in all honesty I don’t think you’d go far wrong with almost any brand these days. When it’s cold enough and I can get away with it, I’ve even been known to carry my IPSC gun, double stack .40 STI Edge. And, as you’ve probably guessed, I prefer heavier bullets whatever the caliber.

I’m going to step away from this thread for awhile and may or may not pick it up at a later date. As it turned out, this thing sprouted legs and I spent far more time on the forum than I intended. Now I’ve got other thing that require my attention so I’m going to leave it with you and maybe come back with some other thoughts at a later date if time permits. I travel extensively, and I need to make the best use of my time when I’m actually in town.

This thread started as just a simple CCW tale I had first-hand knowledge of and then morphed into a zillion different directions, none of which had the slightest thing to do with CCW. It was not my intention to diverge into such a lengthy thread that discussed calibers, bullets, tactics, and other things, but I’m kind of glad it did. There’s a lot of information out there, some of it good, some of it bad, and some of which will kill you.

Like most of you, I had lots of preconceived ideas of what works and what doesn’t, and like most of you most of the information I used to develop my own ideas of what bullet, caliber, and gun to carry were based on extensive readings in gun magazines, published reports of actual shootings, demonstrations of penetration in ballistic gelatin, anecdotal information, and just plain old personal preference. Once I started working in the morgue I found out that it just ain’t necessarily so, and many of my long-held beliefs went out the window.

The interest in this thread seems to derive primarily from the fact that I work in a morgue which, in itself, is apparently a rarity among the shooting crowd. In the morgue, I guess the popular expression could be bastardized to read, “The bullet stops here.” We get to see the end result of gunfights, good and bad, what worked, what didn’t, and what could have worked better. And it’s because I get to see autopsies and the bullet trauma that comes with them that I’ve developed my own ideas of what works. The fact that I’ve been shooting for over 50 years now and am an avid reloader helps, I think, to understand what I see at autopsy.

My opinions expressed in the previous pages are just that–opinions–so take them only as that. Still, they are based solely on what I’ve seen in the morgue, not what I’ve read about somewhere, so I’m comfortable with them. Skeptic that I am, I want to see things, not read or hear about them. If there are some pearls of wisdom that make sense to you, use them; if you think I’ve fried too many brain cells breathing formalin and what I’ve seen goes against everything you believe, feel free to toss it.

In any event, stay safe. I don’t want to see any of you on my autopsy table.

Someone else posts:

In 20 years of working the streets, I have seen a lot of shootings. Sometimes the results are what you would expect, other times, make no sense at all.

A subject walked up to the back door of the station once. He had been involved in a fight with another subject and told the first Officer that he had been shot. He raised his shirt and showed 5 entry wounds to his chest. I followed the ambulance to the hospital and looked at the X rays with the doctors. Every single round missed every single vital organ. It was FMJ .380. No organs, bones or ribs were hit. It was amazing.

One of our Officers shot a subject through the neck with a .45 Hydrashock. He was trying to run over another Officer. After the shot, the subject drove off, we had a pursuit, he bailed, ran a couple blocks and barricaded himself for hours in a house before he surrendered. He appeared before a judge the next morning with a big wad of gauze on each side of his neck. That round had missed every single important thing in his neck, how? Who knows.

Another subject was trying to run over an Officer. The Officer fired several rounds of .40 through the windshield. One round hit him in the face and stunned him (a little) He had to be wrestled out of the car. At the hospital, he spit the bullet out of his mouth. The windshield slowed it enough to where it penetrated his face and sinus cavity, that’s it.

Homeboy #1 was standing in front of his gang house. Homeboy #2 drives by in his 70’s Chevy. At about 30 yards, he leans across the seat and fires one round of .22 LR out of his RG out the passenger window. That stupid little bullet smacks HB#1 straight through the aorta and he drops dead without twitching.

And on…and on….And on….

A good friend of mine who is a serious shooter, and teaches a lot of people who shoot people for a living sums it up nicely. Poke a hole. Poke the biggest hole that you can. Poke it all the way through. Penetration is king. If you can get a bullet that can reach the central nervous system from any angle on any human body, you have done all you can.

I would argue that a FMJ bullet is a better choice than a rapidly expanding Hollowpoint, unless the HP is heavy enough to penetrate. A good flat semiwadcutter may be an even better choice.

I usually carry a 3″ 65 loaded with full house 158 GR .357’s. I see a defensive shooting be a very close up fast event. There seems to be some weird combination of physics that makes a .357 inch bullet traveling around 1200 FPS a really good combination for dumping energy into 170-220 LB bipeds. No idea why, but, statistics bear that out.

My uniform gun is a Glock 35 loaded with issue 180 GR Gold Dot. Seems to be a pretty decent bullet. Heavy enough to penetrate.

Deadmeat 2 posts again: Maybe it’s just human nature, but for some reason when a differing opinion runs contrary to preconceived ideas, often the first response is to shoot the messenger. In many cases that’s what I’m seeing here. It also seems like in the haste to empty your magazines at the messenger, some of you aren’t reading things very carefully:

  • 1. I’m not a coroner or pathologist. Never said I was.
  • 2. I don’t work at the Clayton or Fulton County morgue. Never said I did.
  • 3. All of the autopsies I see aren’t gunshot victims. Asked and answered six weeks ago on my May 18th post. As I clearly stated, some are naturals, some are SIDS, some are overdoses, etc. although there aren’t many days that we don’t have at least one gunshot victim. We do autopsies 6 days a week, I work of 5 of those days (and often 6), and on Monday morning I look over photos of the few that I might have missed from Saturday. Any bodies taken in on Sunday are rolled to Monday. And when I’m out of town often I’m at another ME’s office observing autopsies there. Of course if you want to figure in the ones I saw (not worked on) in Kosovo and Bosnia we can bounce that number up much, much higher.
  • 4. Yes, most of my job is WORKING on skeletal remains or decomposed bodies, but I often OBSERVE autopsies of the newly-dead. I said that also.
  • 5. In a post on another forum it says I’m a big fan of the 10mm. Really! Please show me where you got that information because I certainly can’t find it.
  • 6. The list goes on and on…

If you’ll CAREFULLY read this thread, I think you’ll find that you can condense the vast majority of it to one thing and one thing only–my OBSERVATIONS from the morgue regarding the wounds I see inflicted. Not what I’ve heard, not what I’ve read about, not what I “believe” or “think.” Take it a step farther and you’ll see that my concern with the 9mm and .380 (and other calibers) as a defensive weapon is that I’ve SEEN it fragment and fail to penetrate to the vital organs whereas I don’t think I’ve ever SEEN the .45 fail to penetrate to the vital organs if headed that way to begin with. As I’ve clearly stated, most of the time the 9mm works just fine. It’s the times that it doesn’t that bother me. Obviously, there’s no one bullet/caliber that’s going to work all the time in all cases, not even the .45, but IN MY OPINION (and I’ve said this is opinion many times) I think the .45 adds a margin of safety that the 9mm doesn’t have, that’s all. I happen to carry the .45 because it’s the largest caliber I feel like I can shoot effectively when the chips are down. Frankly, I’d rather be carrying Smitty’s beloved .500 Magnum but I know my limitations. Virtually all thoughts expressed in my posts are predicated on what I’ve SEEN.

And that’s what I don’t quite understand. Just a quick count of my posts shows that I’ve used the word “see” or some variation thereof (e.g., saw, seen) 94 times (and I probably missed a few) or “observation” (at least 6 times). So in these posts I’ve detailed what I’ve SEEN on the autopsy table at least 100 times by actual count. What followed are ideas developed from my OBSERVATIONS. If you want to dispute what I’ve SEEN during autopsy you’ve really only got three options: 1. Say I didn’t see it (I did), 2. Say I saw it and changed to facts to fit an “agenda” (I didn’t), or 3. Just didn’t know what I was seeing to begin with (I do).

SEEING what happens to a bullet at autopsy isn’t rocket science, folks. Once you dig it out you’ll either see that it expanded or it didn’t, and once you look at the wound track and look at the x-rays you’ll either see that it reached the vitals or didn’t. It’s really quite simple. I could take any of you, show you an autopsy involving a gunshot wound, show you the wound track, show you the bullet, and I feel sure we’d agree on what we SAW.

EXPLAINING what happened and why is another story. SEEING what I have in the morgue, I’ve learned that bullets often do the strangest things once they enter the body, and no reasonable explanation will suffice. I’ve also mentioned that in my posts. On occasion I’ve speculated on why I think something happened but I’ve always prefaced it with the caveat that this is just speculation. And I’ve said many times that sometimes I just can’t understand what went on. For those of you who think you have it all figured out, please enlighten those of us who don’t.

On another forum, there’s the comment that since I work in the morgue, I don’t get to see the living. That’s right, we don’t. That’s why we call it a morgue, not a hospital. There’s also a comment that we don’t get to see how long our BG remained in the fight after being hit or how long it took him to expire. Right again. So how do we do it? I’ve never known anyone to take a stopwatch to a gunfight or whip out their CED8000 when the first shot goes off, and it’s an accepted fact that there’s time distortion in most traumatic events, which I suspect a gunfight would be classified as. And even if they manage to make it to the hospital only to die there, is that always really indicative anything? EMS can often sustain life far beyond what it would have been if left unattended. If a BG is hit in the frontal lobe and lives in a vegetative state for days, months, or years before someone pulls the plug, do we then say that because he lived that period of time after being hit that the shot was ineffective? I’m not nearly as concerned about how long he lived in the hospital as I am in how long it took after he was hit to quit firing back at me. So how do we determine how long he lived or stayed in the fight? If you’re going to pose a question at least give us a way to get at the answer.

And then there’s the one about shot placement. Sure it’s important, as I’ve said MANY times in my posts. But shot placement actually has two facets, as I also stated. Most folks think of shot placement as where ON the body the bullet initially hit i.e, the chest, the abdomen, etc. But there’s the other half of it, which most of the flames don’t get around to mentioning, that being what does the bullet do once it enters the body? And as I’ve said MANY times in the posts, quite frequently I’ve SEEN the 9mm fragment but not the .45. Yes, most of the BGs are really lousy shots and shot placement doesn’t seem to be quite as high on their list as putting a lot of lead downrange. I’ve said that also. But I’ve seen BGs with .40s and .45s do the spray and pray thing also, not just with the 9mm or .380, and for the most part I’ve seen better results with the .40 and .45.

And data. As I said from the outset, the information contained in my posts is OBSERVATIONAL. I never said I had subjected it to any statistical analysis.

As for my “agenda”, I have none. As I clearly stated in the forum, I used to carry a 9mm before working in the morgue and only switched to the .45 after seeing both calibers being dug out of BGs. If that tells you something, fine. If not, that’s fine too. And, no, I don’t work for any gun or ammo manufacturer, so it makes absolutely no difference to me what caliber you carry or even if you carry at all. I’m not trying to wean you away from your beloved gun/caliber/bullet, whatever it might be. I’m just trying to give you food for thought, nothing more.

So let me try to sum this up one last time. Forgive the caps for emphasis but I feel they’re needed because somehow the points seem to be getting lost on a few of you: From what I’ve SEEN in the morgue, MOST of the time in a gunfight the 9mm will get the job done. How fast, I don’t know nor does anyone else since there’s just no way of knowing how soon he died or how long he stayed in the fight after being hit. SOMETIMES, however, I’ve SEEN the 9mm fragment or fail to reach the vitals but I can’t remember the .45 doing so. THIS IS OBSERVATIONAL, NOTHING MORE. I don’t know how to make it any simpler than that.

What we’re looking at here, folks, is analogous to the parable of the blind men touching an elephant. One, who touched the tail, said he thought it was like a rope. Another, who touched the ear, said it was like a fan. Still another touched the tusk and said it was like a pipe. Although each of them was correct in his perception as he knew it, none of them had the full picture. What I tried to do over the course of several weeks was simply to present another aspect of the elephant. Like you, I’ve read countless theories on why a particular caliber works or doesn’t. Like you, I’ve read the police shooting reports. Like you, I’ve developed my own ideas, so up to now we’ve all touched the same parts of the elephant.

Unlike most of you, however, I work in a morgue. By working in a morgue I thought my OBSERVATIONS of what I’ve SEEN would present a part of the elephant that most of you had never seen before. I don’t spend much time on any forums so perhaps this information is out there and I just don’t know about it. From all indications, however, it isn’t.

Do I have the complete picture of the elephant just because I work in a morgue? No, absolutely not, and I never said I did. Like you, I’m just holding on to my small part of him. Perhaps if we can just turn loose of our own part of the elephant long enough to quit shooting at the messenger and listen to his description of a part of the elephant most of us aren’t acquainted with we could all become a bit more enlightened and gain a fuller picture of what we’re holding.

Someone else posts:

May I apologize in advance if I am somewhat long-winded here?

Most of us who have been involved with shooting have a few (or a lot) of anticdotal stories about what failed to stop or really stopped.

While most of us agree a 12ga. is a pretty good stopper, disagreement starts after that… some claim the .223 round is wonderful for self defense others say it is junk.

If you look at enough shooting you can find failures to stop with about anything. The real issue is what works well and FAST most of the time. This is what Marshall and Sandow tried to do in their books a few years ago. The result of those books was serious controversy over the usefulness of those statistics. You can decide for yourself if you think they are useful, but they were an attempt to predict what would work and what would not.

Earlier Major General Hatcher did extensive studies for the War Dept. on the effectiveness of various rounds. He concluded that among pistol cartridges, the .45 was hard to beat… and his conclusion was generally agreed to by those who had actually used various pistols in combat.

While we may argue the reasons, the fact is combat soldiers preferred the .45 acp to the 9mm and the troops today want to get rid of the 9mm for a .45… based on their experiences. Special units that have the ability to buy weapons commercially have already bought .45 acp pistols. These units express great satisfaction with the .45 and very little with the 9mm. This may be related to the fact they are required to use ball ammo… and because they are limited to ball for political reasons, the .45 is all the better.

All that said, I know of few if any who have carried the .45 in real “elephant viewing” situations who would choose the 9mm over the .45.

Another person posts:

Bottom line is this: I respect your conclusions, your background and your experience. You have more experience in this area than do I, and your opinions are woorth knowing, but I would rather have data and facts so I can reach my own conclusions. Just saying “I’m a cop…trust me, the.45 is no good” or “I work in an ER and I would never carry a 9mm” or “my son was in Iraq and hated his M4” doesn’t give me much. Telling me how calibers and bullets work when they hit bone, muscle, intermediate barriers, etc., can be very helpful. In other words, I would like to hear more about what you have seen than how you feel. No offense…….

Deadmeat2 posts again:

I’m going to answer this last question and then back out of here for good. I’ve got other things more pressing and this thread has taken up an inordinate amount of my time.

As for the .223 and the 7.62×39, yes, I’ve seen a few but not enough that I’d feel comfortable expounding on them. I wouldn’t doubt the rifle instructor’s description of the shredding of the organs a bit because I’ve seen it myself. Because the velocity of almost any rifle caliber is usually greater than with handguns, the temporary cavity caused by most rifle bullets is ALMOST always going to be bigger and cause more damage. In their military configurations, both calibers are FMJs, and most authorities (of which I’m not one) believe that yaw, a major factor in wound dynamics, begins in a shorter distance with the .223 than the 7.62×39 and thus imparts more damage, all else being equal. With increased yaw, the .223 begins to deform and even fragment while the 7.62×39, which usually has a steel core in addition to lead, often does not. Change the bullet design and you’ve just opened another can of worms. Let me say this very clearly to avoid alienating the rifle crowd: The explanation I’ve just given is what I’ve read by those who have seen far more wounds of both calibers than I have, not by what I’ve seen. We rarely see either caliber and I just don’t think I’ve had enough experience with them to want to take it much farther than that. We see mostly handgun wounds, followed by shotguns, followed by rifles.

By now, most of us have made up our minds on what we’ll carry, one way or the other. In 21 pages of posts what I’ve said has either confirmed what you’ve long believed, possibly caused some of you to switch or at least rethink your caliber choice, or angered some of you so badly that nothing I’ve said is going to change your mind. Again, that wasn’t my intent. My intent was just to provide food for thought based on what I’ve SEEN in the morgue.

Some of you have asked for descriptions of injuries, but I’m not sure a description such as “the projectile struck the anterior superior iliac spine, was deflected posteroinferiorly, and became lodged in the auricular surface of the innominate approximately 7 mm superior to the greater sciatic notch” is quite as effective as saying “it broke the hip”. Descriptions of soft tissue damage would be even more complex than that. Yes, I could go back through the autopsy reports and give a description of the wound either simply, in complex fashion, or somewhere in between but I just don’t have time to do it. If my statements of, “Occasionally, I’ve seen the 9mm fragment or fail to reach the vital organs, whereas I don’t think I can remember seeing a .45 do so” aren’t sufficient, I’m afraid you’re on your own.

And, yes, we could bat around theories such as Hatcher, LaGarde and many others as well as innumerable variables such as bullet design, bullet weight, velocity, and intermediate targets and still wind up right back at where we are now–in the typical caliber war with no consensus and no resolution. And I don’t have time for that either.

As a parting word let me say what I’ve said many times before–that what I’ve tried to do is provide food for thought based on what I’ve SEEN, nothing more. Take it for only that and don’t try to read more into it than is actually there. Think it over and if there’s something you can use, fine. If you are adamant that your opinion is correct even though it differs from mine, that’s ok too. But in either case remember this: The mind is like a parachute–it only works when it is open.

It’s been fun, folks, but now I’m going to leave it with you.

Stay safe, stay patriotic, and stay off my autopsy table.

Deadmeat2

Survival Guns

I’ve owned a large amount of firearms over the years and competed in IPSC on an irregular basis. Tactical with pistols, long range rifle and Western Action to a far lesser extent. Along with several Security based tactical training courses. At one stage, I even had a very large collection of commemorative Winchester lever actions. These have gone by the way side to pay for other toys.

It would be nice to own thirty different firearms to cover every situation covered over the internet but that would mean supplying thirty different types of ammunition at 500 to a 1000 rounds each comes to a lot of cash as well as spare parts when you can only carry maybe two at a time but defiantly only use one, so I choose to keep my choices to a minimum. Having a cracked sternum has also restricted the calibres I can now use, to lower recoiling. So as not to risk breaking the wires holding my chest together for a second time.

I wanted a rimfire for small game as I usually prefer to hunt with a bow, very quite and you can go anywhere with it. However the amount of arrows that are lost on rabbits and birds just isn’t worth the cost of a nine dollar arrow. The .17 calibres are great for long distance sniping and can take roos with head shots having a very flat trajectory and high velocity, however having very little bullet weight aren’t the greatest wind buckers. Along with the 22 magnum, are pricey to bulk buy. The 22 longs can almost keep up with the magnum using high velocity loads and cost under $50 for 500 compared to magnums which are well over double the price at $180 per 500. The advantage to the Long Rifle is that they can be silenced far more effectively, but misses out on the additional range of the magnum.

I’ve purposely stayed away from firearms requiring removable magazines as I’m not using them for sporting purposes where a large amount of ammunition is needed, only foraging and I like not having as many moving parts that can break or become lost. Single shots are built like tanks and even with some breakages can still be used effectively. Parts can be made with minimal power tools, if breakages were to occur.

Of those available I was lucky to come across an old Winchester Low Wall built for target use with a custom heavy barrel and trigger job. It had to have been made for someone well over six foot due to the length of the rear stock and at least a 30 inch barrel. Very little had to be done to make it suitable as a hunting rifle other than shortening the stock, barrel and removing the peep sights. Then replacing the sights with the largest scope that would fit comfortably and balance. I later had it reamed to a rimfire magnum. Many of the smaller game in the area where I hunt is out of range of the long Rifle and needed atleast a good hundred yards to reach a bunny. Dropping foxes that come in close to hen houses require a magnum. Ive skun out too many foxes with 22 rounds under their skin to ever use a Long Rifle again on medium game. Federal bring out 50 grain hollow points for magnums now that make it easier to drop slightly larger game from roo’s to goats.

Recently I came across a Martini action with a brilliant trigger. Usually the ones in shops have been decked out for competition use with heavy barrels and stocks. This one had been left standard and looked in mint condition. I left it as a long Rifle round, simply due to the cost of bulk buying ammunition for storage. $100 supplies 1000 rounds. Both the martini and low Wall are over 40 years old and dont look like ever breaking and not reliant on magazines. 40 grain power points are my prefered load for the long rifle.

For my third choice I wanted something a little more specialized for a Bug Out Bag carry that would take a variety of game and be collapsible for easy storage. Everyone is going to have a different set of circumstances in selecting a firearm for their bug out bag depending on;

1) Part of country you reside in, regarding available game

2) State laws

3) Do you see yourself needing a defensive firearm?

4) Foraging only

5) Storage requirements

I found myself selecting a M6 Scout combination in 22 Hornet over 410 gauge. I wanted something small, easy to breakdown and store. That would take a variety of game.

I had never owned a Hornet or 410 gauge and was interested in how both performed also not wanting to rely on a rimfire to hunt medium game. The hornet has always been referred to as a poaching round.

A friend recommended the 410 gauge as not putting as many pellets into the game as its larger brothers, as I could no longer use a 12 gauge from the shoulder and a 20 gauge seems to recoil more for me due to the guns being lighter (It may just be me).

Carrying an auto or similar seems to upset people as well; a little combo doesn’t draw much attention, is mainly for foraging but has the ability as a back up for defensive purposes. I believe the little 410 loaded with rock salt would deter most intruders or solids if you need to become serious.

For hunting I use the 410 gauge on smaller game as I can take rabbits on the run and birds on the wing. Then use the Hornet for medium sized game. As it has more reach than a 22 rimfire/magnum and can take larger animals with head shots at close range. The 410 loaded with solids performs similar to a 41 magnum, for use as a backup on larger animals. 50 grain nosler projectiles can be loaded into a hornett when using a single shot action. The longer prodgies tend to not feed well through mags.

I kept waiting and waiting for the stainless centre fire to be released in Australia alas that was never to happen; only the rimfire version ever appeared. So the week I found out production had stopped I called every gun shop on the eastern sea board looking for a copy.

The only one I found was an old blued version, so I grabbed it. The bore was good but the rest was junk, but I got it at a good price. The barrels were fairly scratched up from someone attempting to put on a wooden fore stock and the sights were pushed out by half an inch. So either the gun didn’t shoot well or the previous owner didn’t.

After reading other articles on the Scout I didn’t even bother to try and repair the rear sight, going straight to a red dot on a dove tail. It balances well and can be used with both calibers with a little practice. The red dot works a lot better for low light conditions than the factory peep.

The second modification performed was to bead blast then a hard chrome to remove the scuff marks and protect the steel. I wanted to further reduce the glare when hunting, so went to the strider knife site and tried to copy their instructions for braiding knife grips.

I promptly gave up trying to do this out of one piece of material. So I cheated and did an under bind like on fishing rod guides then following the instructions did the over bind out of the braid using Para cord. At first I thought this may be a silly idea, as there wouldn’t be a way to oil the barrels. However if you spray a light coating of clear lacquer over the barrels first to protect them from rust, the braiding provides a very nice grip. I ended up removing this after a few sessions at the range. Too much added weight, harder to store covertly and I like wipeing down barrels after a while. I ended up using a piece of rubber insulation for the foregrip.

The other thing that bothered me about the design of the M6 was loosing the connection pin that holds together the barrels and stock. A local gunsmith made me up three extra out of stainless steel with cir clips, so if they came loose the clips would still hold them in place.

Trying to find a gun bag short enough was a major headache. It became easier to have one custom made from a canvas maker out of codura. This holds the two segments separate to avoid wear. I was thinking of placing pouches on the side to store accessories but this would have increased the bulk too much for easy storage.

I decided to use a couple of smoke grenade pouches attached to the shoulder strap of the gun bag. One pouch contains 200 rounds of 22 hornet with 100 rounds of 410 gauge size 4 shot and 20 solids. The other pouch holds a small tin of gun oil and two bore snakes. These do away with the need of brushes and rods for cleaning.

The spare connection pins are also stored here. Another pouch could be added to include a small survival kit if desired.

Strider Knives

http://www.striderknives.com/

M6 Articles

http://free.hostdepartment.com/c/cas45reamer/m6.html

http://www.oldjimbo.com/survival/v-shrake/m6.html

For my main rifle I wanted to stick with a lever action in a pistol cartridge. This way I would have a decent ammunition capacity with out needing a detachable magazine and a fast cyclic rate of fire. The three calibres readily available all have their advantages and disadvantages.

The 45 long/colt is probably my favorite due to the history and the big hole in the end of the barrel. However it’s not really practical for survival use unless into reloading as factory ammo is a little on the light side, designed for older guns. I reload my empty cases for hunting but for long term storage or defensive work like to stick with factory loads, reducing the likely hood of misfires. When loading a 45 colt up to similar velocities of a magnum, its a myth that case life is reduced due to the thinner walls of the older cartridge. Both are the same, the magnums have slightly thicker bases around the primer walls. The 45 long has a 1in16 twist allowing for heavier bullets to stabilize out to 300 grains compared to the 44’s with a 1in32 twist. The 44’s have decent factory loads available in 240 grainer hollow points, if not a reloader.

44 magnums have the advantage of hitting power but require twice the powder and lead of the 38 cal to reload. The 357 magnum have light loads that won’t destroy small game and heavier loads that can take larger game with head shots. They can also be used in conjunction with revolvers, so only one type of ammo needs to be carried and can be switched to whatever firearm is used the most. The 357’s come in a box of fifty and are quite easy to carry as compared to calibres requiring a longer action such as a 30-30 but this is my all time favorite calibre and if I could still handle the recoil would be one of my first choices.

Of the three major rifle brands available it really comes down to a personal choice, all are very reliable. Rossi’s are a top eject and cannot use a scope. Winchesters are no longer made but I’ve always been a fan of these and own the trapper version. The Marlins in the cowboy action series are sweet with the octagonal barrels and are easy to mount scopes on. The barrels and mags seem much thicker on the Winchesters. The only bad thing Ive ever heard about a Winchester are from comp shooters that rapid fire, saying lifters tend to break when used in this fashion. Their still my favorite.

I’ve always been a peep sight user and never a fan of scope use, but it may be my age as I’m tending to go the other way. I’ve found instead of looking down the sights and aiming at the head of an animal, I can now aim within the head for a more specific target which drastically improves my accuracy.

Levers are great for up to 200 yards but for over that a bolt action is required. Realistically I doubt many shots are taken over that distance for hunting. The ability to shoot up to 600 yards can come in handy for tactical situations. Very few people could see over that.

I’ve always looked at 223s as small game cartridges, to successfully use them for anything larger requires the use of 70 grain projectiles with a fast rate of twist, either 1in8 or 1in9 to stabilize them. Most brands don’t come out with a twist this fast, usually 1in12 and may need rebarreling .Factory loads are only brought out to 55 grains. Tikka and the police models in savage and Remington have faster twists. I have always refered to 223’s as poodle shooters. They however do have� 3.3 foot pounds of recoil for sensitive shooters. To bring up more hitting power than a 70 grainer, its possible to neck up the case to a 6mm and fire a 90 grain prodgie. This however needs several more steps in the reloading process. Of neck sizing and fire forming and has a recoil figure of 4 foot pounds and will take a head off a roo at 400 yards.Not to mention the $600 dollar price tag on a new barrel and the work involved in fitting.

The 7.62×39 rounds are mainly exmil and made from steel which use double flash holes in the case making it a lengthy process to reload. Commercial brass only uses one flash hole from the primer for this reason I prefer 308s for the ease of finding commercial brass ammo over the Russian round. Im not generally a fan of using miltary calibres. These always seem the first to go off the shelves when a crisis hits, in order to supply the military.

Recoil is a problem for me and not wanting to go through the extra steps of removing berden primers from military rounds or modifying cases. I chose a 6.8SPC. These have comercial brass available and a recoil similar to a 22-250 at 8 foot pounds. This can be reduced even further by using heavy barrels, good recoil pads and a muzzle brake. Bringing it down to around 4.5 foot pounds. I found a Remington already fitted out with a burris scope and just needed to fit a badger ordance bolt handle and the muzzle break. Remingtons may not have a claw extractor but I have never heard of a clip extractor breaking with any regularity. My gun smith has changed one clip extractor in 10 years. If it aint broke dont fix it, as many of my mates that shoot long range, swap the extractors to Mauser claw types and many have broken part way through matches.

Remington LTR’s have a 20 inch barrel, fibreglass stock and aluminium bedding block. The glass stocks dont feel slick as the cheaper plastic SPS version do and the alloy bedding blocks dont require rebedding as fibreglass beds will do. The barrels are also fluted reducing weight by an extra few pounds. The fore stocks are also shorter than target models, allowing them to be fitted out for hunting. I see no sense in trying to hike around with a 26 inch bull barrel and match stocks designed to shoot prone, unless wanting to play sniper. I prefer meat on the table.

Shotguns are my favorite firearm I just seem to never miss. Auto’s are totally banned and pumps are restricted in some states leaving the Norinco 1887 levers. I’m starting to prefer these, as the external hammer can be lowered into the half cock position, unlike pumps that are always cocked and rely on safeties. The mag can be loaded and the hammer lowered without a round inserted in the chamber. A very safe way of carryiage.

I’ve had mine modified by shortening the barrel to 17 inches. It is possible to go another inch but I also wanted to shorten the stock to help with recoil and swing, this way they remain legal. A thick recoil pad was then added and magna porting to further reduce kick. Many of the earlier models had trouble extracting. I believe that the kinks have been ironed out, especially after the actions have been cleaned up a little more. Spare parts are now available including extractors. Using BB loads at 32 grams, the recoil stays low enough to shoot from the hip and is the same as bunny loads but with 40 pellets per shot. Ive found that wearing gloves and being rough when operating the action will aleviate most problems extracting after the action has been worked on. The magna-porting ended up being a waste of cash with no noticable difference.

Coach guns are the closest thing to a pistol with the help of a hacksaw in a post SHTF scenario and are well worth considering as an option to anyone that hasn’t a pistol license. Whether to go for a hammer version or hammerless is a personal choice. I prefer a hammer gun as it can be kept loaded with the hammer down, uncocked. Hammerless guns are always cocked when loaded, but much faster to fire and load. Single triggers work off an inertia system in some guns, meaning the first barrel needs to be fired before the second can be used. So if the first firing pin breaks the second barrel is useless. The same cant be said for double triggers. If either firing pin breaks the second trigger will still activate the other barrel. Good choices are the Rossi overland, (no longer made) for a hammer gun or a Stoeger western action coachy.

My first love has always been pistol shooting and I’ve made quite a few observations over the years, which most people will probably disagree with and some may not but, this is just my opinion.

With two shots to the body and one to the head it won’t matter what caliber is used, whether a .22 or a .44 cal? Don’t confuse the next statement with the dislike of the calibres and the models of guns their usually chambered in as I thoroughly like both Browning Hipowers and the Colt clones but just don’t think much of either the 9mm or 45acp. It’s all well and good shooting into ballistic gelatin and saying how good they perform but I don’t think anyone has ever been attacked by gelatin. In a realistic scenario you not only shoot through flesh but also bone and whatever cover maybe used whether vehicles or walls etc. I also think hollow points are a fallacy, prefering jacketed soft points. HP’s were designed for police to prevent over penetration amongst bystanders. A jacketed soft point with will not only leave an entry wound but as an exit wound aswell, allowing for faster blood flow from two wound points. Dropping blood pressure much faster.

When shooting at 1/4� inch steel plate in comps a 45 will knock down the target first time every time, but when you walk up to the plates all you see are squashed 45 slugs sitting at the base. To do the same thing with a 9mm requires a triple tap to knock the plate over. Having said that if I were in a country that allowed a pistol to be carried and used for defense, I would prefer one of the above mentioned pistols. Either a Browning Hipower chambered in a 9mm or ream a 9mm STI tactical 4.15 to a 357Sig.

After watching a youtube vid on comparisons of a 9mm, 40smith and 45acp fired through a ballistic vest into clay slabs. The 9mm went thin but deep. The 45 shot wide but shallow. The 40 shot both deep and wide, outshooting both other rounds. If I had my choice the 40 would win hands down. The 40’s are now restriced here and come in boxes of 20. With the price of base metals now making them an expensive proposition, along with any larger pistol calibre.

I might be getting old but prefer firearms where I don’t have to spend a fortune on gunsmithing to have them function as their supposed to. For this reason Glocks seem to out shine most other brands on the market at the moment requiring no work to fire them straight out of the box, maybe just a rifled barrel instead of the polygonal style to bring in closer groups when using lead target prodgies and these tend to drop straight in. Lone Wolf 9mm/357sig conversion barrels inserted into a 40 cal slide bring the barrels to a thickness similar to an STI bull style. Ten minutes on youtube shows you how to strip one down, having only 33 parts which will come in handy if gunsmiths arent available. The only other mods needed are an extended slide release and stainless guide rod. If anything were to break on a Glock it would be the plastic factory guide rod. Although trained on single actions, glocks have three things going for them, I now prefer. One, consistant trigger pull no double action /single action triggers to deal with. Ive never been able to master going from 12lbs to 3 lbs after the first shot. Two, no external safeties. I do however prefer an external safety when in a crowd situation but not for personel use. Three, the trigger doesnt reset after the last shot has been fired. This lets you know when your out of ammo by feel if yourve lost count of rounds.

Balistically I favour the 357sig over a 9mm. Both use the exact same projectiles, along with 38 super(38 super only available in handloads).The sig round has a flatter tradjectory and greater retained energy at 50 yards. Not the most popular round but gradually gaining favour due to security companies and comp shooters, costing less to purchase than 40 smith ammunition. 9mm still reigns for bulk purchases in terms of avialability and trying to find it stocked in stores in any resonable quantity. Barrels and mags can easily be swapped between slides to shoot either round. The sig is a bottleneck round which will feed better but the bullet sits deeper into the case which can cause problems when reloading, if powder sits up around the prodgy causing higher pressures. Comp loads for shooting major tend to be painfull and the brass doesnt last long from split necks. Using factory loads the round is compareable to the 40 smith. The velocity advantage of a 357Sig over a standard 9mm using factory Hornady ammunition is a 9mm using 147 grain projectiles will have a velocity of 975 feet per second from the muzzle. A Sig round will still have 1072 feet per second velocity at 100 yards using the same weight projectile. First choice in an auto is still a 9mm, for no other reason, than being able to find it easily on a normal day. Let alone after SHTF.

357 Magnums not only knock over steel plates, but usually move it back a few inches and when using jacketed ammo and put big dents into the target. Much more practical to use when there’s the possibility of having to shoot through heavy cover.

I was taught old school by you could say disreputable characters, who would always say only amateurs used autos. They leave spent cases all over the place with firing pin and extractor marks as well as finger prints and now genetic material. This doesn’t really pertain to SHTF but has stuck with me my entire life.

The other advantages to revolvers are that if the time comes that the only ammo available are reloads, it’s far easier to collect spent shells from a revolver than an auto. The same ammunition can also be used in a long arm and there is no reliance on magazines that can become lost or broken. Revolvers can also fire a variety of loads without having to change recoil springs and dont jam if limp wristing the grip.

I stay away from colts, although they are one of the best revolvers made. I’ve owned three, the diamond back model being my favorite but the first time I opened one up and saw all the leaf springs needing a professional gunsmith I changed to Rugers. These have the strongest actions and most sensible cylinder release. The spring set up internally are mainly coil, but like HK’s are made in segments that are difficult for a backyarder to work on. I ended up with Smiths, as I can strip one very fast; they seem to balance the best for me besides I’ve got a thing for unflutted cylinders, that Smith bring out in the classic Hunters and DX models.

Which ever type you may choose, it’s generally worth getting a good trigger job. This reduces the trigger pull from 12lbs and polishes the sears to remove any creep. It’s not worth going too light as target shooters can reduce the poundage to as much as 2lbs. This is alright when using custom hand loads for target use, but can cause misfires with the hard primers that are used in the manufacture of some brands. Federal primers are softer and dont misfire and are the best choice for reloading when playing with hammer springs.

I generally have all my revolver barrels cut to 5 inches to improve the balance and handling. Four inch barrels are best to carry, but six inch barrels are better for shooting at longer ranges. I find with a five inch barrel I get the best of both worlds.

Revolvers can be kept loaded for long periods of time without causing any damage. If you were to do this with magazines the spring will eventually become stressed and begin to fail. If you leave a magazine loaded for any length of time either remove one cartridge so the spring isn’t completely compressed and rotate the magazines periodically that are kept fully loaded.

Once again, the 357 can be used in conjunction with my winchester Trapper and three boxes of ammo in my pockets equates to 150 rounds. Easy to grab and carry in a hurry and can be used as a hunting round unlike the other pistol calibres available in this country, which are restricted to rifle use only.

A lot of people won’t even consider archery as an alternative to firearms. I find that I’m now using bows more than guns due to the lack of land owners that allow shooters on their properties. Bows are quiet, don’t jam and are easy to replace arrows unlike guns that may break and need spare parts or run out of ammo therefore more of a� renewable resource.

Crossbows require very little practice if your used to a rifle and would make a good backup for hunting if ammunition becomes unavailable. As yet no licensing or registrations are needed to purchase compound or recurve bows. (AS YET) More and more restrictions are gradually being brought in.

When I first damaged my back in an arboriculture accident, I thought that I would never be able to use a bow again. I sold my Oneida Eagle as a 70lbs compound was just too much for me and an Oneida was a big heavy bow at the time.

I walked into the local archery shop to collect the cash from the sale and come across them putting together a childs bow. I thought it looked pretty good for a kids bow and asked them about it.

The bow ended up being a Martin Altitude. Made for American hunters using tree stands, that requires short light bows to be used. I tried pulling back the string and found it so easy having only one cam and one pulley instead of two cams. No pain in my lower back, I put down the deposit immediately.

However being such a short bow, measuring 30 inches axle to axle the string pinches the fingers onto the arrow causing inaccuracy. A release aid is required to use the bow. The owner of the shop showed me a release that straps to the wrist which acts like a wrist strap in weight lifting, isolating the larger muscle groups and taking the strain off the wrist.

This also has the advantage of not needing a separate glove to hold the string, so two camo gloves can be worn reducing reflection from the skin to game. It also keeps your shooting hand free to string arrows easier. Using a wrist release also reduces the amount of pull by another 10 to 15 percent.

Having been a dedicated bare bow shooter it didn’t take long to become hooked. Ever since then I’ve been a fan of martin bows having a machined riser as opposed to molded and very easy to obtain parts.

I have my Altitude set up with an arrow rest called a Whiskar Biscuit. This is a rest made up from bristles forming a circle to hold the arrow in place, so it’s possible to walk around with an arrow nocked and not need to hold it in place using your fingers.

My upper body strength is limited at the moment, so I can’t pull a bow heavy enough to hunt with. This is where I discovered crossbows. They’re easy to load using a manual pulley system and powerful enough to hunt anything from medium to large game.

I like Barnett bows, but most target shooters don’t because of the triggers. I find like most things if you don’t like something it’s pretty easy to modify it to suit. Too lighter trigger on a hunting bow isn’t a good idea anyway.

One of my favorite bows is a Barnett commando; this has the ability to break at the stock using a leverage system to load the string. Being a recurve it’s only suited for thin skinned game. This is a good choice for survivalists due to the speed and ease that it can be loaded and the lack of a pulley system means less moving parts to break.

The new model Barnett Wild Cats in compound have a built in pulley system in the rear of the butt stock, making it very user friendly to load. Tons of grunt for pig hunting.

With restrictions becoming more and more the way of the future with liberal mind sets gaining power in politics, or as I refer to them quasi-nazi’s. Im experimenting more and more with primitive methods of hunting and defense, but with a modern twist. Modifying slingshots to fire arrows for small game and fishing, making atlatls from alloy tube, using delrin for manufacturing JO staffs, etc.

Links

http://www.savvysurvivor.com/chapter_one.htm

http://www.outdoorlife.com/outdoor/gear/gunvault/article/0,19912,604357,00.html

http://survivalplus.com/defense/page0001.htm

http://survivalplus.com/philosophy/page0003.htm

http://www.endtimesreport.com/Smithing/smithing.html

Postscript – Since writing the above several years ago, Ive gone through several changes in thinking. Most of the above have been sold in the past few months for various reasons. I no longer shoot long range. To do so would require me to drive three hours. Its far easier for me to hunt with bows now, for better accesss to properties. My upper body strength has also improved. Im currently selling my compound and buying a Martin Jaguar recurve 45# takedown. It can be taken apart and carried without being noticed and far fewer parts to need replacing. My shotguns have gone. Anything that cant be carried in a bug out bag has been sold. The realities of a 12 gauge are that to carry 2 slabs of ammo requires a sack truck. 500 rounds are too heavy when compared to pistol calibres. Shotties are still great for home security but not for carrying when having to leave in a hurry. Any calibre that is hard to find in a rural area or that costs too much to purchase as factory rounds Ive now sold.To carry a 12 gauge in a bug out bag limits the weight to 2 boxes of ammo. Thats 50 rounds. Compared to pistol calibres utilised in a rifle I can carry three times that amount.

Essentually Ive stuck with the 22 magnum with various loads for bunnies up to goats and the 357 magnums in a lever action and a revolver. Two sorts of amunition encompassing several loads and thats it.

Sti-AT 4.25/9mm Australian Tactical

The problem with special order guns in Australia is that theyre for lack of a better word, a head f&*k. It came down to the choice of two pistols, either a glock or an Sti. Both I can work on myself and are easy to get parts for within a day to two weeks. Other brands on the market can take 6 months and over to order since sales agents dont keep them in stock and only order a shipment every few months when large enough to warrant shipping and the ammount of importation paperwork required.�

For a glock to suit what I wanted there are three ways to go about it. One; to buy a model 17A. (A 5 inch barrel is required by law in OZ for auto’s and 4 inches for a revolver) for $900 and then buy a model 22 slide for $600 to replace the original barrel maybe another $300 to a 9mm conversion from either Lonewolf barrels or Stormlake. The easiest way is to order a Stormlake Longslide barrel at 6 inches and have it machined down. Anything under 5 inches wont be allowed in the country. Second; to buy a 17A and a 22 and hand in the barrel, extractor, mags and frame to Firearms Branch. This gives you an extra set of parts.(40 Cals are restricted here to police and security). Hence the 9mm build up, otherwise it would be 40 cal all the way. $900 for the 17A and another maybe $400 for a secondhand ex-security model if they come up for sale. Thirdly; Just buy a model 22 and have to have it inspected by Firarms Branch to say that its been converted. These prices on top of Stainless Steel guide rod, extended slide release, mag release, butt cap, taping the grip, decent sights, EU trigger, etc, etc. Using a conversion barrel brings the weight up and the thickness of the barrel to almost bull barrel proportions.�

The problem I have with Glocks is that I now limp wrist them causing malfunctions, my upper body strength isnt what it used to be. I dont have this problem with 1911’s. By the time Ive done all this I might aswell just purchase an Sti. The model I liked was a Tactical 4.15, undersized making it illegal here unless having a 5 inch barrel inserted. This would be easy in the States but not here, with importation laws and I end up with an illegal 4.15 barrel I couldnt sell or use. Coming to the conclusion that getting it custom factory fitted was too hard, having to import through shipping agents. It became easier just to make one up by importing the parts and having it custom made here to my specs. Hence the AT model or Australian Tactical.�

A� Commander frame and slide length are more likely to pass through an inspection, than a 4.15 slide. The 4.25 inch being close to a Glock 17A in length. The A model being a 5 inch barrel on a 4.5 inch slide. Two of my favorite STI’s that the AT is based on are the Tactical 4.15 with no front racking serrations and a SOCOM (Special Operations Command), made from an Edge with a two tone finish of an OD (Olive Drab) bottom end and a black top end. The original idea was to go for hardchroming but too expensive to have it factory done and I couldnt find anyone in oz that did a good enough job. There are bound to be a few but whomever I approached to use their metal plater also wanted to do the machining of the rails from where the extra coating builds up. This is what I wanted to avoid by staying as close to factory standards as possible. Ceramic baked coatings are far eaiser to have done and the two tone finish may be more suitable for military applications.�

The AT concept is a commander slide length of 4.25 with a 5 inch barrel, on a cut down Edge slide. Made by GFJ Firearms. Giving a Commander slide with full length sides with (no scallop) to match a long dust cover frame. Coupled with a Cerakote finish of a Military Black top end and a Desert Bottom end. Cerakote make three desert colours of Sand, Sage and Verde. Im leaning towards Sand. All parts are factory Sti, made by a MIM (Metal Injection Molding) process of using powdered steel formed under pressure in molds and then sintered, I prefer to stick with factory standard parts as much as possible. �

Speaking of which, always stick with factory STI mags, not aftermarket to be as reliable as possible. Ive only had problems with binding rounds when using aftermarket mags. Here we’re restricted to 10 round mags. Sti make two types of mags. A standard 1911 pattern for their single stack designs and a 2011 double stack mag but with crimping on the side to make them a single stack internally. This gives the best of both worlds in terms of no chance of binding with a double stacker but the ease of inserting into a mag well with the tapered ends.�

Other things worth mentioning are the removal of the ambi safety. I cant shoot left handed and if I had to the safety would already be off. I have small hands but prefer a fat frame. It seems to fill the hand and absorb recoil better. A wider trigger width is prefered for service matches, I no longer compete in IPSC and having to decide between Bomar and Novak sight dovetails when ordering the slide. Still in the design process, I’ll keep updates coming as the process moves along. It should end up looking pretty much like a 4.15 tactical but with a slightly longer frame and slide, extended barrel and two tone finish.�

JFJ Firearms

silverado@esc.net.au

Limp Wristing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limp_wristing

Budda’s Glock Build

Part 1

This is an article I put together a while ago, while trying to learn about building glocks and aftermarket parts. Finally have all the components and have started building it. Updates and pics to follow. I ended up with building a Glock over other model pistols due to the ease of aftermarket parts and 10 minutes on youtube will let you do all the work yourself without having to need a gunsmith.

Building a Glock Research

I was undecided on whether to start and do a build on a custom STI tactical 4.15 with an extended 5 inch barrel to be of legal length in oz or buy a Glock and came across the following picture on the m4carbine forum, which sort of settled the choice for me. That and finding several Australian importers of glock parts, that hadn�t been available to me in the past making buying the accessories and parts much easier than importing from overseas due to current import restrictions. It also allowed me to do most of the work myself, unlike working on a STI 2011. http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=95628

The following link describes how to break the trigger down into its separate components, in order to understand how modifying each one can change the characteristics of the trigger and gun as a whole. http://militarytimes.com/blogs/gearscout/2012/01/01/glock-setup-tips/

There are three main components to the Glock trigger action that determine pull weight: the connector, firing pin spring, and trigger spring. I will be discussing these along with barrel choices, guide rod recoil springs, guide rod weight and combinations of these. The following information is all I could find to learn about building a Glock, since I had never owned one before.

Firstly Guide Rods;

To start with in Glocks guide rods have absolutely no effect on the accuracy of your pistol. In a standard 1911 the guide rod, being so short, only guides the spring at the end of the rearward action. This allows the spring to move from side to side in the frame channel and could allow interference. The full length guide rod forces the spring to stay centered and slide along the guide rod reducing the interference. Ti is worthless for guide rods, you want heavier not lighter. Steel is only slightly heavier but if you are really in tune with your gun you can feel a subtle difference in the handling. Tungsten is much heavier than steel and makes a significant difference.

Below are some guiderod weights. Aftermarket rods are all same brand. Weights do not include the recoil spring.

Stock 17 2.04 grams = 0.071 ounce

Captured Stainless 17 18.3 gr = 0.645 oz

Cap Tungsten 17 34.18 gr = 1.206 oz

Non-cap Tungsten 34 44.56 gr = 1.572 oz

When compared to stock the tungsten is significantly heavier. When compared to stainless the tungsten is almost double the weight. Here is where it gets real interesting. An empty G17 weighs 625 grams. Adding a captured tungsten rod increases the total weight of the gun by more than 5% and in a key location. An empty g34 weighs in at 650 grams. With an extended tungsten rod you are increasing the total weight by almost 7%.

Something that weighs less than 2 ounces may not seems like much but it does make a significant difference in recovery from recoil.

My personal view

I�m using a model 22 in 40cal and converting it to a 9mm. This will bring up the barrel wall thickness and also the front weight of the firearm. I am therefore sticking to a steel guide rod. If I were using a stock thickness competition barrel I would then use a Tungsten rod.

Captured Vs. Non-Captured;

I personally use non captured rods. It is easier to swap out springs and with a little practice it is not any harder to assemble your pistol. There is no mechanical advantage or disadvantage to either, it�s just personal preference. If using a single load, such as when reloading a captured system is easier to install when cleaning. It�s similar to a bolt with a nut on the end that keeps the spring under tension. The advantage of non-captured is when working up loads or using more than one type of factory load and wanting to tune the firearm to the load being used. I generally use three different loads. A 147 grain subsonic at 980fps, my usual load is a Hornady steel match 125 grain running at 1100fps that cost $280 per 500 and ex-military FMJ plus P loads which cost $350 per 1000 rounds. An uncaptured spring set up allows me to change them out using a $12 spring, whereas with a captured system you have to replace the entire guide rod and spring.

Barrels;

KKM vs. Stormlake vs. Lonewolf. There are three links below comparing the three brands. From what I can tell there isn�t that much difference. If I were to choose a standard wall thickness match grade barrel, to fit in a standard slide assembly 9mm to 9mm, without opting to use a conversion/bull barrel 40smith to 9mm luger. I would probably choose a KKM due to the type manufacture, using button rifling.

Button rifling is a process, in which a Titanium Nitride coated Carbide button is pulled under pressure to displace metal to produce a rifled barrel. This process is very expensive but produces a better finished size, surface finish, and surface hardness as well as maintains a more uniform rate of twist than any other rifling process. Each button can be used to produce thousands a barrels before wearing undersized. This allows us to maintain the highest level of quality control.

That�s if I wanted to wait 6 months for the import process to occur in this country and could be bothered filling out B709 forms. If choosing a bull barrel style conversion it would be between a Stormlake and a Lonewolf as KKM don�t make a conversion barrel. The same import process would be required for the Stormlake. Lonewolf have an importer listed below. Hence the lonewolf is my choice.

Note: I have been told that KKM barrels are very tight and some require minor fitting.

Trigger Springs;

The NY trigger are a coil spring within a frame as opposed to factory coil spring, the modules alter the internal geometry and relationship of the trigger linkage. You now have a spring pushing straight up on the back of the cruciform, instead of applying pressure at an angle. The result is a smooth trigger pull and a clean break, with a lightning-fast reset.

http://www.glockmeister.com/TriggerSpringInstallation.asp

Dawson are just reselling the Glock Triggers kit. It removes pre-travel and gives a nice trigger: reduced travel and light pull, not for use on anything but a competition gun. I would offer one word of caution: you need to be very careful about setting the over travel stop and make sure that it does not creep out of adjustment, by using a little blue Loctite.

The Ghost Rocket is not a trigger kit, it is just a connector with a fixed over travel stop that needs to be fitted to an individual gun by filing. It works well, but it is not a complete trigger kit.

NOTE; If you have a Glock that has a couple thousand rounds through it your trigger is already lapped in. If you replace the trigger bar or connector in this gun, it will feel terrible. Any part that is replaced into a lapped system needs to be lapped in itself before a reliable evaluation can be made.

Guide Rod/Recoil Springs;

Effects of a lighter spring: Recoil is transferred to the shooter in a shorter duration of time because the slide is moving at a higher velocity. This is often perceived as less recoil and reduced muzzle flip. With a lighter spring the shooter also has less force to counteract, or you don�t have to work as hard. This usually reduces muzzle flip. Less force to counteract reduces the odds of producing a limp wrist style jam. A lighter spring will result is reduced muzzle dip when the slide closes keeping sights steadier and on target for a faster follow-up shot. Light springs are particularly helpful to smaller shooters like children, women or anyone else having trouble keeping their wrists locked.

Effects of a Heavier spring: Recoil is transferred to the shooter over a longer duration of time due to lower slide velocities. Slower slides equal a longer recovery time for the shooter. The shooter does more work, as there is more force to counteract. This often causes and increase in muzzle flip. The chances of a limp wrist style jam are increased, as there is more force working to unlock your wrists. The chance of the slide short stroking and causing a feed jam is increased. Increased muzzle dip when the slide closes for a slower follow-up shot.

Brass Ejection: It does not matter how far away it lands or if it is in a neat pile. You are there to shoot not to pick up brass.

Frame Battering: A non-issue for Glock pistols. It falls under the category of Internet Nonsense along with the idea that light springs cause kabooms and broken parts.

Spring Selection and Testing: There is no magic weight that is perfect for all shooters, loads and guns. Each shooter must evaluate and test various weights to determine what is best for their application. For rough tuning try different standard weights. For fine-tuning, take a spring slightly heavier than you prefer and trim it until it is just right, this is a trial and error process.

NOTE; MATCH THE SPRING TO THE LOAD.

If trimming springs. Start by removing 1 coil at a time and then check for full travel. Trim until the slide has full travel then check for proper lockup. You can go too light: The firing pin spring can overpower an old or too light recoil spring causing the slide to pull slightly out of battery as you pull the trigger resulting in a light primer strike. If you have off center light primer strike this is probably the cause. Feeding jams; The slide can be so fast that the mag spring cannot keep up.

By using 11 pound recoil springs should greatly reduce or eliminate the need for cutting 13s and should work great in the 9mm guns and the compacts.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Factory recoil spring ratings above are for current production models with captive factory recoil spring systems which are silver/gray in color. Previous captive factory recoil assemblies for the 17, 17L, 20, 21 & 22 had recoil springs rated at 16 pounds. Earlier non-captive models of the 17, 17L and 19 had factory recoil springs rated at 19 pounds. Not for use in Generation 4 pistols.

�Reduced Power…: 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 & 16 Lb.

�Factory Standard.: 17 Lb.

�Extra Power………: 19, 20, 22 & 24 Lb.

Recommend starting springs weights:

G17 13lb

G19 13lb

G20 15lb

G21 13lb

G22 15lb

G23 13-15lb

G24 13lb

G31 15lb

G32 13-15lb

G34 13lb

G35 15lb

Spring setups:

G34 Production 13lb minus 4 coils

G35 Limited 15lb minus 3 coils

G17 Open 13lb minus 5 coils

G19C Carry 13lb minus 6 coils

Choosing Spring Weight. This part is not as simple. Selecting the proper weight spring is part of the weapon tuning and will depend on what your end goal is to be. The standard weight spring, in the case of Glock 34, of 17 pounds is used to match the average slide performance with industry standard loaded ammunition. This is to ensure maximum reliability for a weapon right out of the box. In your tuning, if you prefer a snappy slide that opens and closes more quickly, you would want to go with a heavier spring and ammunition that has a lighter weight bullet, such as 115gr. You want to make sure you don�t go too heavy on the spring or it could prevent the slide from going all the way to the rear. This would not allow for proper empty case ejection or failing to strip the next round from the magazine. If you would like a slide that is a bit slower and has more of a push feel then a snap, you would go with a lighter weight spring and a heavier bullet, such as the 147gr. Because of the added weight, the round is a little slowing in getting moving and this produces the push feel. Again, don�t go too light on the spring as this will allow the slide to hit the slide stop too hard and cause damage. For a Glock, a good test is to make sure the weapon is not loaded, pull the trigger and hold it. Point the barrel straight up and pull the slide all the way to the rear. Do not release the slide but slowly ease it up until it stops on its own. If it fails to go into battery, on its own, the spring is too light and may fail to chamber a round and go fully into battery.

One thing to remember once you do this, if you tune your weapon for the light bullet/heavy spring, firing rounds with a heavy bullet will not function the same. But, the other way around, firing a light bullet in a weapon tuned for the heavy bullet/light spring, could damage the weapon.

If you have a heavy spring most of that energy is displaced in the spring, resulting in a softer push feeling. If you have a weak spring only a small amount of the energy is displaced in the spring and the rest is displaced when the slide slam’s in to the frame.

If an egg is thrown at you can catch it one of 2 ways. You can just stick your hand out and let it smash in to your hand (weak spring). Or, you can draw your hands back with the egg and absorb the eggs energy without breaking it. This creates a more even disbursement of the energy (heavier spring).

Either way your hands absorbed the eggs energy. Catching it differently didn’t change it’s energy. It only changed how the energy displacement was felt by both you and the egg.

Changing spring weight doesn’t change the energy going in to your hands, Just how it’s felt or perceived. A light spring may feel snappier than heavy but there is less muzzle flip for a shorter duration. It also produces less push than a heavy spring; it is a short tap instead of a long push.

  1. Try a little experimentation for yourself if you have not already. A few rounds with a 15# spring, a 17# spring and a 20# spring won’t hurt anything.
  2. 1911s are NOT Glocks. They have different kinematics and differences in the way the forces are transfered through the frame, due to geometry and material properties. Even the mathematical models show this pretty convincingly. The friction on Glock pistols between the frame and slide is less than in a 1911, the bore is lower and the frame flexes more.
  3. For 4 shooters, in a Glock 22, target acquisition, split times, perceived recoil, timing drills were always at least the same, usually better when the spring weights were increased. We went from 15# to 17# to 20#, 150 rounds each. Every shooter prefered the 20# spring. The round we used was Pro-Load 165 grain Tactical Grade (1100 fps chronographed) and a reload that duplicates it (165 Berry’s at 1100 fps). The spring weights were measured and we had to switch 1 of them to make sure the actual weights remained constant.
  4. Frame battering, in major caliber Glocks, if you want your pistol to last past 50K rounds or so and REGULARLY use hot or Plus P ammo, then a bump in recoil spring weight will help the gun last longer and allow more reloads on the brass.
  5. For the average shooter, I doubt most will ever shoot past 50K rounds on a gun, and the vast majority will be plinking rounds if they do.
  6. A factory Glocks trigger (5.5 pounds) precludes any slight advantage that softer springs may have in medium power loads as far as timing and increased performance is concerned.
  7. Buy a case of ammo or load 1000 rounds up and get yourself 3 spring weights and match your pistol and load to your shooting.

Connectors;

Everybody seems to want a 3.5lb connector because it is “THE BEST”. The truth of the matter is a 3.5lb connector delivers the lightest trigger pull BUT it also delivers the longest pull available. A lot of shooters confuse the 3.5 connector as a mushy system because it has so far to travel. It is hard for some shooters to grasp this theory because they are thinking less (3.5lb) is best? Try to think of it this way: You want to load a 55 gal drum into the bed of your truck.

1 You get a 30 foot plank and roll the barrel along effortlessly but it takes a long time to get the barrel in the truck. (3.5lb connector)

2 You get a 15 foot plank and roll the barrel along. This requires more effort but it doesn’t take much time to get there. (5lb connector)

3 You get a 5 foot plank and roll the barrel along. Man I noticed the effort here but the barrel was instantly in the truck! (8lb connector)

Factory connectors have less of an angle at the contact point with the trigger bar, less that stock = less resistance. The “+” connector has a greater angle, greater = more resistance. Difference either way is about 15 degrees.

Using a 3.5 lb. Trigger Connector: The factory trigger pull on a Glock is similar to shooting a staple gun. It has a long pull and a slight snap to it as the striker releases. The 3.5 lb. drop-in replacement connector gives an immediate improvement in trigger performance on the Glock pistol. The lighter trigger pull weight and the highly polished, nickel-plated surface make the pull smoother and more consistent. It helps the trigger reset more quickly for faster follow up shots and less temptation to jerk the trigger and compromise accuracy. The imported Glocks to Australia use an 8lbs trigger pull.

Combinations;

While doing my research, I came across this useful guide on trigger spring / connector combos. It was originally on this web site http://gunlovers.19.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=441

Actually, that link was quoting another article by T.R. Graham. Just want to be sure to acknowledge the original author.) I thought this might be useful for others:

5.5 lb coil trigger spring + 3.5 lb connector

This trigger setup generally gives a nominal pull weight of between 3.5 to almost 6 pounds, and has a somewhat long and “spongy” trigger feel in most guns. An excellent trigger combo for target use, but because of liability concerns it is not normally recommended for defensive applications.

5.5 lb coil trigger spring + 5.5 lb connector

Nominally breaking at 5.5 lbs, and by far the most commonly encountered of all the GLOCK triggers, this factory standard combination is the one that will have the most variation in overall pull weights between guns. Due to various lockwork tolerances a typical stock GLOCK “5.5 pound trigger” can and will break anywhere from 5.5 pounds to almost 8 pounds in a new and tight pistol.*

5.5 lb coil trigger spring + 8 lb connector

One of the least encountered of all the heavier GLOCK factory triggers, this trigger setup is also one of the least desirable, combining and magnifying the vague “spongy” feel of a stock 5.5 coil trigger spring with a stiff 8 pound “+” connector. Although mainly found on police issue GLOCKs, it is a poor choice for defense use, and this trigger setup is emphatically NOT recommended for competition use.*

8 lb NY1 (green) trigger spring + 3.5 lb connector

This almost bulletproof combination will generally give a nominal pull weight of between 4 to 6.5 pounds in most guns, providing a trigger with a much more defined takeup and a much crisper release point. Because the NY trigger spring is virtually unbreakable, this is an especially useful trigger setup for guns used for both competition and defense applications.*

8 lb NY1 (green) trigger spring + 5.5 lb connector

The most widely encountered of all the “heavy weight” GLOCK triggers, this combination gives a nominal pull weight of between 8 to 12 pounds, depending on the gun. Like with the 8 lb “NY” # 1 trigger spring with a 3.5 lb connector, the trigger takeup is firmer and more defined, and letoff and trigger reset is much crisper than the stock 5.5 lb trigger. Also, unlike the stock coil trigger springs, the “NY” trigger springs are virtually unbreakable in normal use, making this an excellent setup for hard duty or rough condition use.*

11 lb NY2 (orange) trigger spring + 3.5 lb connector

This combination feels much like a 8 lb “NY” # 1 trigger spring with a 5.5 lb connector, breaking at or about 9 to 15 pounds. Applications include rough duty or home defense use. Recommended only as a substitute when a standard “NY” # 1 spring cannot be installed.*

11 lb NY2 (orange) trigger spring + 5.5 lb connector

The super-heavy weight of GLOCK triggers, this combination averages from 11 to almost 20 pounds trigger pull. Of limited use, applications include home defense for people with young children, or with persons having especially large and strong hands.*

EITHER of the NY trigger springs + 8 lb connector

NOT approved by the factory. As well as giving a incredibly heavy trigger pull, installing these two components together can cause failure of the sear kickup on the trigger drawbar to drop down far enough to clear the firing pin lug with some guns. In effect, although the trigger will move back and forth, the pistol will not fire. Furthermore, if this happens the pistol cannot be field stripped to remove these components without first removing the firing pin mechanism from the slide.

Trigger Recipes

1) 8 lb NY1 (green) trigger spring + 3.5 lb connector. This almost bulletproof combination will generally give a nominal pull weight of between 4 to 6.5 pounds in most guns, providing a trigger with a much more defined takeup and a much crisper release point. Because the NY trigger spring is virtually unbreakable, this is an especially useful trigger setup for guns used for both competition and defense applications.

2) For a 5-6 lbs trigger it would be very easy. For a true 6 lbs spring use the factory springs and connector. For a 4-5 lbs spring either use our connector or trigger spring with the factory firing pin spring. It is not an exact science but going heavier is always easier than going lighter.

3) Here’s a suggestion that may prove somewhat controversial: Use a 4 lb connector (Glock works has them) and get yourself a NY #1 trigger module.

4) Lone Wolf 3.5 connector

Lone Wolf Ultimate Trigger Stop

Lone Wolf 4 lb striker spring

Lone Wolf 6 lb trigger spring

Polish the trigger bar “birds head” flat and edge where it contacts the connector also the raised angled edge where it contacts the firing pin safety and the “kick up” edge where it engages the striker leg. Polish the leading edge of the firing pin safety and the face. Polish the face of the striker leg.

Squirt a little “Flitz” between all bearing surfaces of the trigger system. (everything you polished) Keep it there for a few hundred rounds then clean all the parts and check the bearing surfaces. They should be lapped in completely. If so, replace the Flitz with a small amount of quality grease or oil. If not, add a little more Flits and check it again in a couple hundred rounds.

Special note: You can use this recipe with any connector, 3.5/5/8. Try them all and pick the one best suited to your style shooting

For rough tuning try different standard weights. For fine-tuning, take a spring slightly heavier than you prefer and trim it until it is just right, this is a trial and error process.

5) The fulcrum trigger will indeed lower the trigger pull though. Installing a 3.5 connector w/ ny trigger spring will make reset better and polishing the firing pin and replacing the firing pin spring will shorten reset.

6) The heavier trigger spring will lighten the trigger a good bit, particularly during takeup. The lighter connector doesn’t change takeup at all but will make the break lighter. It will also tend to make the break “mushier”. Some folks don’t really notice the “mushy” or don’t have a problem with it.

Things to look out for;

If you reduce the poundage you will increase wear on other components such as the lower barrel lugs where they make contact with the vertical impact surface. The process of extraction and ejection are altered in fact that is how one might tell they need to replace their springs when you see the casing being thrown into another time zone.

The relationship with magazine springs and followers can affect how well the pistol feeds and is often referred to as the primary cause of malfunctions. On the flip side, running your gun in a dirty environment, or wanting to insure your gun cycles reliably, some folks recommend raising the poundage to 17-18 lbs. Duty guns.

Competitors tune their recoil springs as mentioned for soft ammo using the idea of managing the recoil so they get back on the target faster. At this point they add a little weight so they might reduce muzzle flip.

You can play with these ideas along with downloading your ammo but the standard weight of 16 lbs for recoil springs and practicing will likely be better for you than tinkering and losing confidence in your pistol.

Peening happens because the frame flexes under recoil allowing the locking block to move upwards and hit the slide.

The most common approach to dropping trigger pulls is to replace the factory firing pin spring with a lighter unit. Unfortunately this makes the gun sensitive to primer hardness. Run hard primers with a light firing pin spring, you will get misfires. If you can always control what ammunition goes into your gun by choosing only ammunition that uses federal soft primers.

Explaining Pre-travel, Reset and Over-travel

1.Pre-travel. Pre-travel is the amount of �slack� that must be taken up before the full weight of the trigger begins. Some pre-travel may give the user the ability to feel the trigger prior to discharge, it also increases the length of pull, which may add some safety margin.

2.Overtravel. Overtravel is the amount that the trigger is free to move after the point at which it activates. In most applications, minimal overtravel is consdiered advantageous as it prevents any jarring caused by the trigger hitting a sudden stop after release. With self-loading firearms, overtravel considered detrimental because it increases the reset distance.

3.Reset. Reset is the distance the trigger must travel forward (as pressure is released) before the trigger is ready to be fired again. Reset is not a concern in single-shot firearms, but in self-loaders where a fast follow-up shot may be desirable, a short reset is preferred.

In conclusion;

As with any modifications or gunsmithing tips, take them with a grain of salt and do your own research.

What I would like to achieve is a 5 pound trigger pull to bring it down from the 8 pound factory weight. Essentially a tactical trigger system, not as light as a competition trigger but not as heavy as a duty trigger where you end up missing the target. Have a medium trigger pull and a short reset using a Zev Industries model ZT-STD-D-9-TAC as a base to work from, being made from CNC billet aluminium. Then play around with a 14 pound recoil spring, Ghost 3.5 lbs tactical connector and Light New York trigger spring and see what happens.

Amendment�s;

Found out some more information since writing article. I will be using a full fulcrum kit. The trigger is billet aluminium and not polymer. It�s also three times wider, better for accuracy. Will also need a 9mm trigger kit to use in a converted 40cal as the ejector pin is slightly different in a 9mm compared to a 40.

Glockworx Triggers

http://www.glockworx.com/Products.aspx?CAT=3688

Ghost Connector Tactical 3.5 lbs

http://www.ghostinc.com/category/50_tactical/

NY trigger Spring

http://www.rockyourglock.com/custom/TriggerSprings/GLO-7405BK2.htm

Links

Anarchangel Blog � How to make a Glock not Suck

http://anarchangel.blogspot.com.au/2005/03/how-to-make-glock-not-suck.html

Modding the Glock � By Duane Thomas

https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/ccm-columns/features/modding-the-glock/

Glock Tech – Recoil Springs, guide rods, Connectors

http://www.custom-glock.com/glocktech.html

Recoil Springs

http://www.gunsprings.com/index.cfm?page=items&cID=1&mID=5#109

Spring Tech

http://www.custom-glock.com/springtech.html

Triggers � Pull Weight, NY Triggers

http://www.gundigest.com/tactical-gear-articles/tactical-military-arms-blog/range-report-glock-new-york-trigger

http://www.boatmanbooks.com/samplelwglocks.html

http://vickerstactical.com/tactical-tips/trigger-pull-weight/

Barrel Comparison

http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1420767

http://glock.pro/glock-pistols/1764-barrel.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU83fh6XoYA

Glock Gen 3 vs Gen 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtS59trmk3Q

Zev Tech trigger installation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iawkkWSHioQ&feature=plcp

Australian Glock Importer Parts

C-More sights and mounts

http://www.dillonprecision.com.au/c/66/more-sights.html?osCsid=27a30b1600b69a2c7e80f319ddf1e33a

Trijicon sights

http://www.urbanconquest.com.au/

Zev Technologies and Lonewolf

http://www.hyperfire.com.au/

Glock Parts

http://glockproducts.com.au/

http://survivalarms.com.au

Trigger Design

http://firearmsdesigner.com/?p=504

GFJ Firearms (special thanks for all the advice and help)

http://www.gfjcustomfirearms.com/

Part 2

What I�ve done to my Glock.

Top End- I started off with a Gen 3 Model G22 40cal. (Now restricted in Australia due to caliber, but to use a heavy barrel you require the 40 caliber slide). As I prefer the aftermarket aluminum extended mag releases on the gen 3’s, compared to the stock wide gen 4 mag release design, hence the older model choice. This has been converted to a 9mm using a Lonewolf Barrel LWD M/22 conversion to 9mm, threaded 1/2 x 28 length 5.03 inches/ 128mm to suit the 5 inch barrel length laws in oz and to enable the use of a close to bull barrel wall thickness to reduce muzzle lift and add to the balance.

The lonewolf barrel slipped straight in with no fitting and has no ejector port slop; all parts were purchased from hyperfire.com.au.

The slide has been bead blasted and Cerakoted in amour black by GFJ Firearms, with a black slide cover plate in aluminum added. All internal and external parts have been changed to titanium, CNC billet aluminum or stainless steel. An uncaptured stainless steel guide rod replaces the plastic version and the original 17 pound spring has been changed to a 14 pound to suit the Hornady 125 grain/1100fps steel match loads I generally use. Uncaptured guide rods are easier to use when swapping spring weights if changing to suit light and heavy loads. The only two parts I�ve ever heard of breaking in a Glock are the guide rod and trigger spring.

The original firing pin spring has been kept to aid in igniting hard primers instead of using the lighter competition version that comes with the trigger kit. The 40 cal extractor has also been changed out to a 9mm extractor. Many people haven�t bothered doing this. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn�t. Why take the chance on a $15 dollar part.

The front sight has been removed; my eyes are what they used to be so I�ll be using a red dot. Trijicon are known as the best, followed by C-more but I ended up with a Burris fast fire due to where the on/off is located on the side. This way I don�t have to reach inside and around the mechanisms for accessibility. It also sells at an affordable price.

Bottom End – Trigger spring has been changed to a NY1 olive 8 pound spring for added reliability over the standard coil spring. The trigger weight should be able to eventually to be reduced by using a 3.5 connector and the adjustability on the fulcrum trigger its self. It should end up being around the 4 pound mark, a good combat weight.

The Fulcrum trigger has a CNC Billet Aluminium trigger pad has an ergonomic correct shape with a flat face that is ideal for shooting with the pad of your trigger finger as opposed to the more rounded face of the factory trigger pad better suited for shooting with the first joint. The Safety of the fulcrum trigger is 3x wider and completely flush when depressed. Safety features a real spring as opposed to the thin plastic nubbin of the factory safety for greater heat and chemical resistance.

The Fulcrum trigger features adjustment screws for over travel and pre travel adjustment. Overall trigger movement can be shortened to �� with all factory safeties intact. Trigger reset has been shortened by half so that pistol can fire mechanically faster. Trigger bar is high polished and precision ground to help eliminate trigger creep and allow trigger to stack up and break consistently.

The trigger system used is a Zev tech fulcrum Gen 3 9mm model as the ejector pin from a 9mm to a 40 calibre is slightly different, even though it�s a 40 calibre slide. If converting, use the trigger system to suit the calibre being used. Glocks are known for reliability, why mess with that unless attempting to improve it. The ejector pin and extractor are small things to change, if doing a job you might as well do it right.

This kit includes a connector, springs, ejector housing, and Titanium Firing Pin Safety.

  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>2/56 Set screws in front and back of the trigger to adjust over travel and pre travel. All aluminium CNC milled out of solid billet aircraft grade billet aluminium.
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Wide ergonomic trigger safety is completely flush when depressed
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Very short trigger reset
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>V4 Race Connector
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>ZT Reduced Power Striker Spring
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>ZT Standard Power Striker Spring
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>ZT Trigger Spring
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>ZT Titanium Firing Pin Safety
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>ZT Firing Pin Safety Spring
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Ejector housing
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>All glock safeties fully functional!
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Trigger pull weight adjustable from 2 lbs � 6 lbs
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Instructions and two allen wrenches included

Other Parts I�ve changed are the plastic take down pins to titanium. Probably went overboard with those but what the hell. They�ll outlast the frame. An extended slide release, to replace the standard slide stop, I�ve been too used to 1911�s and Brownings to change to the racking the slide method in order release the slide at this stage.

I�ve never been fond of Glock grips in hot weather with sweat. So am trying out a Brooks Tactical A-Grip. To finally complete the overall balance I�ve used a ZEV tech speed magwell with a brass insert. It now balances better than an STI, with the steel guide rod, bull barrel and brass magwell combination and still remains lighter than a 2011 to carry all day.

Pictures are to follow later when the build has been completed.

Tactical First Aid Kit

My first introduction to the importance of carrying a Tactical First-Aid Kit came when I met Fred Perrin in Paris. He was so well equipped he could support an army field unit. His doctrine was, if you teach the knife you must also teach first-aid, and that has been my conviction since then as well. From that time onward, I have always invited medical personnel to my seminars to teach self-triage and first-aid. Although this article was written primarily for police agencies, I also feel this is an important article for the reality-defense community.�

Tactical First-Aid Kits�
By Fabrice Czarnecki, M.D., M.A., M.P.H.*�

Police officers should carry a medical kit specifically designed for penetrating trauma injuries such as gunshot and stab wounds. Such a kit can be assembled at a fairly low cost, while meeting your requirements better than most commercial kits.�

Individual medical kit:�
While it’s a good idea for all officers to carry this small kit at all times, they should definitely carry the individual kit during high risk activities like warrant service, protective details and firearms training (in case of accidental injuries). Contents should include:�
2 pairs of gloves�
1 or 2 tourniquets�
1 or 2 trauma dressings�
1 or 2 rolls of gauze�

Gloves�
Gloves should be made of nitrile (first choice) or latex (second choice). Nitrile gloves are usually blue, purple or green colored. They are more resistant to puncture and chemicals, and do not cause the allergic reactions that many people have to latex.�

Tourniquets�
Tourniquets are safe and effective in trained hands, especially if left on an extremity for less than one hour. Tourniquets alone could save 6o % of all the preventable deaths from combat trauma, according to Capt. Frank K. Butler, MC, of the Naval Special Warfare Command. My preferred tourniquet is the triangular bandage (usually 37 x 37 x 52 inches). It is inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to deploy. First choice for the tourniquet is the US military (Bandage, Muslin, Compressed, Camouflaged, 37 x 37 x 52 inches, NSN 6510-00-201-1755), or any high quality brand named triangular bandage.�

*Note: Realfighting is a distributor of the Q-Tourniquet. This tourniquet can be applied with one hand, and incorporates a seamless 2″ band secured with a built in ratchet. There is no pinch point to damage tissue and nerves.�

Trauma Dressings�
The key is the ability to apply pressure to the wound, rather than just covering it and absorbing the blood. First choice for the trauma dressing is the military field dressing (Dressing, First Aid, Field, Camouflaged, NSN 6510-00-159-4883, 4 x 6 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches), but it is difficult to obtain if you do not have connections with the military. Second choice is the Cederroth Bloodstopper (sold in most public safety catalogs).�

Rolls of Gauze�
The gauze should be sterile “disorganized” conforming bandage type, like Kerlix bandage rolls (4 inch wide preferred).�

Car or Team Medical Kit�
A larger medical kit should be kept in cars. It could be pre-positioned at the door during warrant service.�
Suggested contents include: Two (or more) individual medical kits, wrapped separately and used only for penetrating trauma; Laerdal pocket mask; Co-Ban cohesive bandage (sticks only to itself); SAM splint; Xeroform dressing or other non-adherent dressings; Bandage strips, tape wound closure; 4 x 4 gauze pads; Tape; Elastic wraps; Safety pins; Space blankets; EMT shears; Cold compresses; Medications: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, triple antibiotic ointment, aspirin; Artificial tears (saline); Antiseptic solution; Alcohol gel; An automated external defibrillator (AED) is recommended to trained officers, if available.�

*Dr. Czarnecki, an emergency physician, is the Director of Medical and Legal research with the Gables Group, Inc., and the Director of Training of the Center for Homeland Security Studies, a non profit corporation conducting training in counter terrorism and intelligence for domestic law enforcement. He served as a trainer and a consultant for several law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Marine Corps.

http://www.realfighting.com/content.php?id=83

The Importance of a Personal Casualty Care Kit
By Paul S. Shubinsky, RN, CEN

The reality in today’s world is that we can’t just dial 9-1-1, and expect that someone will come and save us. We must be responsible for our own wellbeing. When we engage in combat either due to occupation, or by chance, we are at risk of being injured. During the fight these injuries should not distract us from our primary goal of winning; however, they may require immediate self treatment afterward to prevent death. While being healthy and in good shape will increase your chance of survival, it is no guarantee. Shawn Taylor of the Washington Redskins, died from blood loss after receiving a single gunshot wound to the leg, during a robbery of his home.

Penetrating trauma (Ex. Gunshot and stab wounds) can quickly become deadly. Blood loss from an extremity is the number one preventable cause of death in combat at 60%; the second is tension pneumothorax at 33%. Death from severe blood loss can occur very rapidly. The average response time for an ambulance in the city of New York is approximately six and a half minutes.

Penetrating trauma to the chest wall can cause a sucking chest wound. This type of wound interferes with the normal process of respiration and can lead to a tension pneumothorax, which can quickly become fatal. Normally when we breathe in, the pressure in our chest lowers and air enters through our nose or mouth. When we breathe out this process is reversed. In the case of a sucking chest wound, air enters and exits through the hole in the chest wall.

A personal casualty care kit is a first aid kit that contains the items to treat the above injuries. It is small enough to be kept with us at all times, thus allowing us to render care to ourselves or loved ones, immediately after the fight. When traveling to areas where immediate medical care is not available, other basic first aid items should be added to the kit. Some pain medications (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) to treat mild to moderate pain, an antihistamine (diphenhydramine) is helpful for treating allergic reactions, and a topical antibiotic ointment (bacitracin or triple antibiotic ointment) to help prevent infection in minor cuts and burns.

A personal casualty care kit should contain a few pairs of nitril or latex gloves, sterile dressings, pressure dressings, occlusive dressings, hemostatic dressings, tourniquets, sterile saline eye wash, medical tape, and a pocket face mask. This is a device that acts as a barrier when performing CPR. Some of these items can be improvised from common items in an emergency. Any clean cloth can be used in place of a sterile dressing to help control bleeding. An occlusive dressing can be improvised using anything that is flexible and non-porous, and some tape. For example you could tape part of the bag from your potato chips over the wound. In addition to washing dirt and caustic substances out of your eyes, the eye wash could also be used to cool burns, and irrigate wounds. Tourniquets can be made from a loop of cloth or belt, and a stick.

While we invest in training in combat arts, we should also invest in first aid training. This will increase our chances of surviving violent encounters. A basic first aid, certified first responder (CFR), or emergency medical technician (EMT) class is highly recommended. These classes will teach you how to care for common emergencies such as bleeding, fractures, and burns. Bleeding is controlled through the use of direct pressure, elevation of the injured area, pressure points, hemostatic dressings, or tourniquets. Sucking chest wounds can be treated through the use of occlusive dressings. These are dressings that prevent the passage of air through the wound. The emergent treatment of these injuries can be easily accomplished using a few items that we can have with us at all times.�

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a formal training. The author accepts no responsibility for the use or misuse ofthis information. The practice of medicine is something that should only be undertaken by trained professionals.

About the author: Paul S. Shubinsky is a Certified Emergency Nurse. He has worked in the field of Emergency Medical Services in New York City for the past 17 years. He spent several years working as an EMT, and has worked as a registered nurse in Level One Trauma Centers for the past 15 years. He is also involved in martial arts, close protection, and defensive tactics training.

http://www.realfighting.com/content.php?id=115

Other Articles PDF’s

http://www.tacticalmedicine.com/2articles.html

Tac Med Solutions Blog

http://www.tacmedsolutions.com/blog/�

Tac Med Solutions Products

http://www.tacmedsolutions.com/

Antibiotics

Preparing for Biological and Chemical Terrorism:�
A Practical Guide to Antibiotics and�
Their Usage for Survival�

by�
Leonard G. Horowitz, D.M.D., M.A., M.P.H.�
Tetrahedron, LLC�
Sandpoint, Idaho�


Disclaimer and Background�

This information is for educational purposes only. It is intended to help in the event of biological and chemical weapons attacks on civilian populations. It is not provided in order to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or injury of the body, mind, or spirit.�

The author, publisher, and distributors of this work accept no responsibility for people using or misusing the potentially life-saving information in this text.�

Individuals suffering from any disease, illness, or injury should, as Hippocrates prescribed, “learn to derive benefit from the illness.” In this sense, in the context of “America’s New War” on terrorism, diagnosing the root causes of contemporary threats best derives “benefit”. That is, comprehend the evil bringing on such illness and distress. The macroscopic–political, social, moral, and personal forces, beside the microscopic agents, are best identified to provide appropriate treatments.�

The antibiotic applications against germ warfare discussed herein are not well-established medical practices. They are best considered speculative, but reasonable, given the urgent and widespread risks of biological attack for which there is no precedent, nor adequate scientific research. Discussions herein are intended to provide self-help strategies under emergency circumstances in which professional care is unavailable, as is anticipated following large-scale exposures of unprotected populations to lethal biologicals.�

It must be stressed that the unsupervised lay use of antibiotics is dangerous for several reasons: 1) antibiotics may cause potentially fatal reactions (e.g., allergy, asthma, and death); 2) antibiotics can prompt greater growth, development, and spread of resistant pathogens such as fungi and Mycoplasma prompting more severe or alternative infections; 3) antibiotic usage can make it more difficult for physicians to diagnose life-threatening infectious illnesses. Thus, self-medication is not advised under normal circumstances of medical personnel availability.�

Furthermore, though certain antibiotics are customarily prescribed to kill certain strains of bacteria, germ warfare presents unique challenges. Biological weapons developers have routinely developed germ strains, such as anthrax, smallpox, influenza, Mycoplasma, Brucella, and more, that are antibiotic resistant. At the same time, vaccines and vaccine manufacturers have proven themselves to be highly untrustworthy.�

Moreover, in the event of a biological attack, the initial benefits of antibiotic prophylaxis and treatment may be jeopardized by a second wave of infection of the same microbe, or secondary infections with other germs. These are expected due to subsequent disease transmission by infected insects, such as flies, fleas, and ticks, and immune compromised victims in which secondary infections are common.�

Typically, bacteria are classified either “Gram-positive” or “Gram-negative” due to their structure and staining characteristics, which reflect their susceptibility to certain antibiotics. The Penicillin family of antibiotics has been effective against Gram-positive infections. Alternatively, the Tetracyclines have been used successfully to combat Gram-negative agents. These will be discussed in more detail later.�

Near the beginning of a widespread biological attack, it may be extremely difficult to determine precisely the causative agent, and thereby select the proper antibiotic. This is due to: 1) the latency, or slow growth period of the germ within exposed individuals, and 2) biological weapons specialists often mix microbes to be used in such a manner as to confuse diagnosis and delay effective treatment.�

For instance, a consensus of authorities predicts inhalation anthrax is among the likeliest biological weapons to be used by terrorists. This is due to its relative ease of manufacture, durability of spores, and difficulty of delayed treatment. Anthrax is a Gram-positive rod-shaped Bacillus. To be more effective in killing large populations, authorities suggest that Gram-negative bacteria, such as Pasteurella tularensis, may accompany such attacks. This germ is likewise rod-shaped to confuse accurate diagnosis and delay time-critical treatment.�

For the above reasons a “combination therapy” may be indicated and most useful in saving lives following a biological weapons attack.�

Weights and Measurements�

Safe and effective antibiotic dosages depend on accurate weights and measurements. For this reason, the following recommendations and basic knowledge is provided for lay civilians under emergency situations:�

To accurately weigh antibiotics in an emergency, use the chart below. Begin by placing a ceramic cup on a postal scale. Weigh it. Next, add the powder you wish to weigh to the desired amount. For instance, if the cup alone weighs four ounces, and you require one ounce of powdered antibiotic (where, according to the chart, one ounce equals approximately thirty (30) grams, that is, thirty 1,000 milligram [mg.] doses), set (or tip) the scale at five ounces with the desired antibiotic.�

The same method may be used for measuring liquid doses. However, one ounce of liquid antibiotic may weigh less than once ounce on a scale. For this reason it is wise to use a graduated measuring containing, if possible, for measuring liquids.�


Weights, Measures and Conversions�

Solid Weights and Measures�
1 ounce (oz.) of solid = nearly 30 grams (Gm.)�
1 pound (lb.) = 454 grams (Gm.)�
1 kilogram (kg.) = 2.2 pounds (lb.)�
1 gram (Gm.) = 1,000 milligrams (mg.)�
1 grain (gr.) = 64.8 mg.�

Liquid Weights and Measures�
1 ounce (oz.) of liquid = nearly 30 milliliters (ml.)�
1 pint = 473 ml. (sometimes rounded up to 480 ml.)�
1 teaspoon (tsp.) = 5 ml.�
1 tablespoon = 15 ml. (that is, half [.5] an ounce)�
1 milliliter (common droppers held upright) = approximately 20 drops of liquid�

Antibiotic Conversions�
400,000 units of penicillin = 250 milligrams (mg.)�



Antibiotic Usage and Duration of Treatment�

Under normal circumstances, antibiotics are intended to be used for approximately one to two weeks. This duration is prescribed in order to kill more slowly growing germs, such as those initially in spore forms that require incubation for disease expression.�

Emergency situations may require less careful treatment durations. This is particularly true if antibiotic shortages occur as expected following a biological weapons attack. In this case, rationing may be necessary and helpful in saving more lives. The shortest duration of antibiotic coverage recommended following a biological attack is from the onset of symptoms to at least 72 hours after the person’s symptoms completely disappear.�

Ideally, antibiotic prophylaxis (for prevention of disease) should begin as soon as a biological weapons attack is confirmed for individuals at risk of exposure. In other words, it is best to leave risky environments in advance of possible exposures. Certainly, urban populations are at greatest risk for biological and chemical weapons attacks.�

Common Allergic Reactions to Antibiotics�

Again, under normal circumstances, individuals who are hypersensitive, or allergic, to antibiotics should avoid taking them. However, following a biological weapons attack, it may warrant the risk of allergic reaction, particularly if antihistamines (such as Benadryl) are available, rather than contracting the infectious disease which is often more life-threatening. In this case, individuals who develop symptoms of allergy, including skin rashes, should ideally be under the care of a physician or hospital staff. Careful monitoring of even seemingly benign skin rashes is advised because of more urgent conditions that may result from simple allergic reactions.�

Individuals with known allergies to specific antibiotics should, obviously, try to avoid taking these antibiotics. Alternative antibiotics, in this case, should be sought and used. For example, people allergic to penicillin may be able to effectively substitute erythromycin.�

As detailed below, there are several types of penicillin, all of which may cause severe allergies and fatal reactions. Penicillin G and penicillin V have been known to cause more severe reactions than ampicillin. Similarly, penicillin injections have been known to cause more severe reactions than similar doses taken orally.�

Approximately ten percent of people allergic to penicillin are also allergic to the cephalosporin antibiotics. The good news is that the incidence of deadly reactions to the entire class of cephalosporin antibiotics is very low.�

In some liquid penicillins, manufacturers mix the anesthetic procaine (i.e., Novocain) into their formulas. Therefore, persons allergic to this commonly used dental anesthetic should avoid taking liquid penicillin suspensions.�

The antibiotics suggested below for use in case of bioterrorism or biowarfare do not contain sulfur or “sulfa” drugs to which many people are allergic.�

Preventive Foresight Regarding Pharmaceutical Supplies�

The likeliest source of breaking news concerning a biological or chemical attack, launched by terrorists or other foes, is the mainstream media. By the time you hear such reports, it is likely that hospital emergency rooms, and doctor’s offices, will be full of ailing victims. It typically takes a day or longer for symptoms of infectious diseases to manifest. The first signs and symptoms of a covert attack include inexplicable headaches and flu-like symptoms.�

Such is the case with anthrax. The first indication of an anthrax attack, providing the strain had not been modified, is cattle becoming sick and dying. This can happen in a matter of hours. Moreover, this is an indication to begin antibiotic prophylaxis.�

Under such trying circumstances, you can expect there to be tremendous demand for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals in the wake of a terrorist attack. It is, therefore, highly advisable to consider beforehand what medical supplies might be essential for your survival and the protection of your loved ones.�

Obviously, people on a regimen of prescription drugs should stock, perhaps, a three months supply in a cool, dark, and dry closet or basement.�

Antibiotics can be purchased in bulk from pharmacists or livestock and veterinarian supply stores.�

In case you need to leave your home or workplace in an emergency, try to plan, in advance, transporting your antibiotics and other medicinal requirements with you. Maintain access to standard emergency kits, particularly during times of possible trouble. Keeping one in your car is a good idea, providing the car doesn’t overheat.�

Given these constraints, diabetics, on the move in an emergency, should try to keep their insulin at room temperature until they are resettled. Above 80 degrees and while freezing insulin will begin to degrade.�

In general, when traveling or storing antibiotics and medications in your car, be aware of extreme temperatures. Extreme heat and cold often inactivates, like insulin, many medicines.�

A Simplified Guide to Antibiotics and Their Uses�

Penicillins�

The original penicillin-G (Pen G), along with more the common penicillin-V (Pen V), are used to fight gram-positive bacteria, such as anthrax. Pentids, the brand name for penicillin-G, come in 400 and 800mg pills. Brand names for penicillin-V include V-Cillin-K and Pen Vee K. The basic Pen G may be purchased from farm and veterinary stores for far less expense than through pharmacies, though make sure you only buy the refrigerated brand. The active ingredients in the unrefrigerated variety are far lower and potentially inadequate.�

Pen G must be taken on an empty stomach. This is not as critical for Pen V. A dose of 250mg (i.e., 400,000 units), for people weighing 50 pounds or more, is taken four times daily. A rule of thumb for children weighing less than 50 pounds, the dosage should be reduced by 20% for every 10 pounds of less body weight.�

These penicillins are more likely to cause allergic reactions, and fatalities, than synthetic penicillins such as ampicillin. Some of the allergic reactions are caused by procaine (Novocain) that is added in some Pen G formulas.�

Ampicillin�

Brand names of this synthetic penicillin include Principen, Omnipen, Polycillin and Totacillin. These are also affective against gram-positive microbes such as anthrax.�

Dosages of ampicillin are the same prescribed for penicillin. This antibiotic should be taken, ideally, on an empty stomach.�

Strains of anthrax that resist penicillin may be more susceptible to destruction by ampicillin. Also, ampicillin may be more helpful than penicillin for killing a broader spectrum of infections.�

Cephalosporins�

These are also effective against anthrax. One gram of Cephalexin taken every six hours is recommended. Brand names for this are Keflex, Keflet and Keftab. One gram of the related Cefadroxil, brand named Duricef, should be taken every twelve hours.�

Erythromycin (Macrolide family of antibiotics)�

Erythromycin and its relatives provide a broader spectrum of coverage than penicillins. Brand names of Erythromycin Pediamycin, Erythrocin, Eryc, EES, Ery-Tab, PCE, Ilosone, and E-Mycin. Other related antibiotics, such as clarithromycin (Biaxin) and azithromycin (Z-pak or Zithromax) may also be effective. A liquid form of erythromycin, called Gallimycin, is available for injection. The oral dose of this injectable product is the same.�

Taken on an empty stomach, this may be used to treat more difficult cases of anthrax. If upset stomach occurs, it should be consumed with a bit of food. Avoid eating citrus fruits or products, which deactivate these antibiotics during digestion. Note: Fatal heart attacks may result from taking these antibiotics in combination with Seldane (terfenadine), Hismanal, or Seldane-D.�

For individuals weighing 150 pounds or more, a 500mg dose is recommended. People weighing less should reduce their dosage proportionately.�

Aminoglycosides�

These antibiotics that are effective against anthrax, tularemia, and the Bubonic plague, include: Streptomycin, Gentamycin, and Neomycin. They can all be extremely toxic. Primary organs at risk for destruction by the aminoglycosides include the kidneys and inner ears.�

Each of the aminoglycosides must be injected, and cannot be taken orally. The oral dosage forms of these antibiotics are effective only against gastrointestinal (GI) tract infections of the stomach and intestines.�

Gentamycin (Garacin) powder can be purchased in bulk. It cannot be absorbed when taken orally, but it can be effective against certain biologicals striking the GI tract such as botulism.�

Streptomycin, taken two to four times daily, in one to four gram doses, equally spaced throughout the day. It can be used in combination with tetracycline until the person’s fever breaks. Then the tetracycline can be continued alone. Otherwise, streptomycin should be used consistently for a week to ten days.�

Gentamycin, is effective against tularemia and the plague. It should be injected intramuscularly or intravenously every eight hours in emergency measures of 1.7mg per kilogram body weight. As soon as symptoms of disease disappear, the dose should be reduced to 1.0mg per kilogram of body weight for the remaining 7-10 day period.�

This antibiotic is available in bulk through veterinary stores. It is likely that this less expensive product may be successfully used orally to defend against the plague or tularemia germs infecting the gut.�

Neomycin, when given in doses of 500mg, four times daily, may be helpful against anthrax, plague, and tularemia, though it has not been traditionally prescribed for these. Use this only if the other aminoglycoside antibiotics are unavailable.�


Fluoroquinolones�

In daily doses of 300mg per kg. of body weight (i.e., 65mg. per pound), Ciproflavoxin (Cipro) is effective against tularemia and anthrax. The daily dose should be divided into four doses taken every six hours for two weeks. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, this extremely expensive drug has been in high demand as the FDA’s antibiotic of choice against anthrax. Disturbing politics regarding this selection and its manufacturer-Bayer-may be found at http://www.tetrahedron.org.�


Chloramphenicol�

Effective against anthrax, tularemia and plague, Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin) has a relatively high rate of lethal side effects. Thus, persons allergic to safer antibiotics should only use it, or in the event other medications are unavailable. More expensive than other antibiotics, this injectable product can also be consumed orally and absorbed effectively into the bloodstream. Ideally, taken on an empty stomach, it may be consumed with food to reduce stomach upsets.�

Chloramphenicol has the same spectrum of activity as erythromycin. Thus, it should never be given with erythromycin unless under emergency conditions at the first sign of biowarfare-induced illness. It may, however, be taken with Tetracycline for a broader spectrum of effectiveness. This combination may be wise if it is unclear which biological weapon is causing illness, and if rationing is not in effect.�

The injectable form of chloramphenicol tastes awful! For people weighing 200 pounds or more, 2,500mg doses recommended.�

Tetracyclines�

Tetracyclines (brand named Sumycin and Achromycin-V) are broad-spectrum antibiotics available from farm supply shops and veterinary stores in the form of oxytetracycline. These can be used effectively against all most strains of anthrax, plague, and tularemia.�

Oxytetracycline comes in bulk powder form under the brand name Terramycin-343. It also comes in combination with livestock feed (Advance Calf Medic). This could be used in a pinch if other antibiotics were unavailable. There are 3 grams of active antibiotic in each pound of feed. A low dose could be provided by consuming almost 1.5 ounces; a high dose twice that could be measured and eaten.�

Two newer classes of tetracycline are Doxycycline and Minocycline . Brand names for these tetracyclines include the Doxycyclines-Vibramycin, Vibra-tabs, Monodox and Doryx; and the Minocyclines called Minocin.�

Tetracycline is typically taken four times a day, doxycyclines once per day or twice per day when taken with Minocycline. The two newer cyclines can be taken with food, not the older tetracycline. They, thus, tend to cause fewer stomach upsets. Doxycycline is typically less costly than traditional tetracycline, and Doxycycline and Minocycline provide a broader spectrum of antibiotic effectiveness than the old standard. Stains of biological weapons the may have been manufactured to resist tetracycline might be more susceptible to the newer cyclones.�

As a rule of thumb, four 250mg doses of tetracycline are prescribed daily, that is, one dose every six hours for your typical 100-pound person. For persons weighing less than 100 pound, reduce this dose accordingly. For instance, if a 100-pound person receives 1,000mg per day, then a 50-pound person would receive 500mg per day, or four 125mg doses q. 6 hours. The Doxycycline dosage is typically 200mg the first day, and 100mg doses following for up to ten days. The oxytetracycline (Terramycin) dose is the same as standard tetracycline. Another alternative tetracycline, called demeclocycline (Declomycin), may be substituted for standard tetracycline employing the same dose schedule as well.�

Preserving and Administering Your Antibiotics�

Most antibiotics and drugs can be preserved by refrigeration, so long as they are kept dry. If traveling through extreme temperatures, antibiotics should be encased in Styrofoam containers, at best, and efforts should be made to avoid heat or freezing cold.�

Warning: No drug should be consumed beyond its expiration date, especially Tetracycline antibiotics. Severe reactions may result from this expired antibiotic. However, when faced with a life-or-death situation, as might be presented with biological warfare or bioterrorism, such chances might have to be taken.�

Antibiotics are typically administered orally or by injection. However, if the patient is comatose, the oral route may be circumvented rectally by using a plastic oral syringe available in most drugstores. This should be inserted as deeply into the rectum as possible. Use of a few drops of water, then larger amounts of cocoa butter, for dissolving the antibiotic. Cocoa butter is available in most drugstores in sticks that are melted in a jar placed in hot water. The butter is commonly used for suppositories and will hold the antibiotic for absorption better than water. Water may run out of the rectum and thereby precious antibiotic may be lost. So if water is all you have, use as little as possible to dissolve and inject the measured amount of powdered antibiotic.�

Antibiotic tablets can be crushed and powdered by placing them between two napkins on a hard surface and pounding them with another flat hard object or instrument.�

The absorption of active antibiotic is less, given the rectal route of administration. For this reason, the dosages should be increased to compensate.�

Maintaining Healthy Gut Flora and Immunity�

Three primary factors determine the outcome of a biological attack on any one individual: 1) the quantity of germs to which the person has been exposed, 2) the “pathogenicity” or power of the germs to cause disease, which depends on the unique strain, and 3) the “host resistance.” This depends on the vitality of the individual’s immune system.�

Obviously, in the event of a biological or chemical attack, the first two factors are largely, if not entirely, beyond the control of individuals. It is upon this liability that terrorists act. But people can make a profound difference affecting the third factor-human immunity-by making a few simple choices. The first is, maintaining a healthy gut flora.�

According to scientific literature, the bacteria in the large and small intestine help digest foods, support nutrient assimilation from foods, are critical in preventing infectious diseases for a number of reasons. For instance, Lactobacilli, commonly found in healthy guts, helps prevent infections from eating foods contaminated with biologicals such as Botulism. A healthy gut micro flora also helps with the elimination of harmful cholesterol, toxic chemicals, and cancer-causing compounds, both natural and man-made. More than 90% of human immunity is, in fact, tied to lymphatic activity around the gut. Consequently, a healthy immune system is largely dependant on the intestinal flora.�

Ideally, soil-based microbes, typically found on organically grown foods, should be consumed for boosting natural immunity against infectious diseases, including anthrax and other potential biological weapons. Far more effective than eating yogurt that contains Lactobacilli, there are several products available in good health food stores that supply a full pro-biotic spectrum of soil-based microbes that many alternative health professionals have been prescribing with very favorable results. One such product is called GI Flora Pro (http://www.healingcelebrations.com; 1-888-508-4787), which sells for about $29 for a 30-day supply.�
A five-step protocol for boosting natural immunity to help fight biological attacks is available from a non-profit publishing company, Tetrahedron, LLC (http://www.tetrahedron.org/; 1-800-336-9266). Their information includes how to: 1) detoxify your body, 2) deacidify your body, 3) boost natural immunity, 4) oxygenate the blood and other body tissues, and 5) bioelectrically manage infectious diseases and recoveries. The material is presented in a 225 page hardcover book titled, Healing Celebrations: Miraculous Recoveries Through Ancient Scriptures, Natural Medicine and Modern Science. The book sells for $22.85, and the advice may be life saving.�

Biological Weapons�
The following chart presents the biological weapons most likely to be used during a terrorist attack, and details concerning its diagnosis and treatment:�
Agent Gram Staining First Symptoms and Treatment�
Anthrax positive Headache, fever, coughing, confusion, rash, joint and�
joint and muscle pain. Tx: Tetracyclines, Pen G, ampicillin and erythromycin.�
Botulism positive Weakness, blurred vision, difficulty in speaking and swallowing, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, spreaking weakness, Tx: Horse antitoxin�
Bubonic plague negative Fever, headache, abdominal distress, inability to sit or stand, swollen glands particularly in the groin, Tx: Hydration and Tetracycline�
Cholera negative Watery diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, Tx: Hydration and Tetracycline�
Dengue fever parasite Intense aching in head, muscles and joints, and fever. Second bout is accompanied by a destructive rash . Tx: none but symptom managmt.�
Ebola virus headache, fever, malaise, cough, rash, and bleeding out. Tx: palliative�
Enterotoxin B positive Staphylococcus causes headache, nausea, fever and weakness Tx:�
Tetracycline, Doxycycline or broad spectrum antibiotics.�
Encephalitis virus Fever and headache, meningeal irritation, swollen parotid glands like mumps, skin rash with some, seizures, brain dysfunction. Tx: palliative�
Smallpox variola virus Severe headache, high fever, skin rashes with vesicular and pustular stages of lesions. Death by secondary infections. Tx: palliative.�
Tularemia negative Fever, malaise, headache, liver swelling, ulcerating skin lesions, possible lung involvement with coughing. Tx: Streptomycin, Tetracycline and chloramphenicol.�


Chemical Weapons�
The following chart presents the chemical weapons most likely to be used during a terrorist attack, and details concerning diagnosis and self aid:�
Agent Type Smell Symptoms and Self Aid�
Tubun ‘GA’ Nerve Fruity Tightness in chest. Difficulty breathing. Runny nose. Eyepain and blurred vision. Nausea, seating, salivation, elevated pulse, heartburn, vomiting, giddiness, muscle spasms, involuntary urination, paralysis and respiratory arrest. Tx: Wash off immediately and completely. Inject 2mg atropine into thigh, followed by 4gm. Shot of parlidoxine mesylate (oxime). If symptoms persist, give atropine again-two more 2mg doses at 15 minute intervals. Apply emergency first aid, including CPR for artificial respiration for approximately 2 hours if breathing stops. Atropine can cause serious side effects and must not be used unless there is certainty that nerve gas has caused the poisoning.�
Sarin ‘GB’ Nerve Little Same as above.�
Soman ‘GD’ Nerve Camphor Same as above.�
VX Nerve Unknown Same as above.�
Mustard Blister Garlic Eye and skin irritant causes blistering of skin and lung damage. High risk of developing pneumonia. Symptoms delayed for up to 48 hours. Can be fatal. Tx: Wash off contamination immediately and completely with water. Later washes will cause worse pain. Use mydriatics, antibiotics, and local anesthetics to reduce pain. Treat blisters palliatively as burns. Bed rest.�
Phosgene Choking ? Lung damage. Causes victim to drown in own mucous. Tx: Same as above.�
“CN” Incapacitating Blossom Eye and skin irritant. Tearing with breathing difficulty. Nausea and headache common. Tx: Codeine for cough and plenty of warmth, oxygen and bed rest.�
“CS” Incapacitating Pepper Severe eye irritant. Causes coughing, tearing, flu-like symptoms, nausea, and breathing problems. Tx: Wash eyes thoroughly with warm soap and water. Breath lots of fresh air. Bed rest.�
“BZ” Incapacitating ? Skin flushes. Heart pounds irregularly with hastened pulse. Hallucination, giddiness and maniacal behavior. Tx: Restrain victim. Quiet bedrest.�


Clean Water and Adequate Hydration�
Having a pure water source following a biological or chemical weapons attack is critical for two main reasons: 1) Victims frequently become dehydrated, and 2) Purified, or distilled, water is needed for detoxification of blood, liver, and kidneys. Following a biological or even chemical weapons attack, water supplies may be contaminated. Water distillers may be purchased, but most require electric power to run. The best transportable, non-electric, water filtration system available is the British Berkefeld. It typically sells for $279 (http://www.prophecyandpreparedness.com/; 1-208-265-2575) and is the ideal hardware to have on hand to filter potentially contaminated water supplies in emergency or survival situations.�


Healthy Food Intake and Supplies�
Consider what could happen to food supplies in the wake of an anthrax attact. Cattle herds would likely need to be slaughtered causing a run on remaining beef and dairy supplies. Prices for these commodities would skyrocket. Contaminated grains might also need to be burned to prevent further spreading of the anthrax spores during harvesting and transport. Prices would likely rise here as well. There may be greatly increased demand for flour, grains, dried cereal, and probably other baking supplies as well. This is why many people have begun to stockpile some of these resources as well.�

You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” If you decide to stock up on essential food supplies for survival, it’s wise to think of boosting your immunity along with receiving the greatest value for what you spend. The first and finest grain you might want to stockpile for these concerns is called amaranth. Its cost is reasonable, you can use if for baking, and best of all, it contains all of the amino acids and enzymes you need for life. The Aztec and Mayan civilizations depended mainly on amaranth and good pure water for their strength and survival.�

Ideally, for immunity, you want to be eating organically grown foods. One product that contains a hefty amount of organic amaranth, and other nutritionally wholesome and immunologically supportive ingredients is called Green Harvest. Most people, under emergency conditions, could live off of this good tasting powdered food formula, mixed with water or organic juice(s). Green Harvest is available in select health-food stores, and from the manufacturer (http://www.healingcelebrations.com/; 1-888-508-4787). It costs less than $35 for a one month supply. The manufacturer supplies this product by the case at large discounts for families that wish to stock up. Their website also provides a host of other products and educational resources for boosting natural immunity for preventive health care and improved recovery rates from infectious diseases and cancers.

Emergency Back Up for Type 1 Diabetics

The storm season is coming again and with it brings memories of Hurricane Charlie. For those that don�t remember, Hurricane Charlie was a category 4 hurricane that landed unexpectedly in Charlotte County, Florida. It took only three days for FEMA and the National Guard to come in and help, but in other hurricanes, it took longer. Much too long for people with type 1 Diabetes and no way to keep their insulin the proper temperature. (I�ve heard that insulin needs to be kept cool otherwise it will break down.) Coolers help for a day or two, but if you are caught off guard, you might not have the ice necessary to properly chill the medication. If it lasts for more than two to three days, you�ll be very concerned about trying to find more ice.

Then I saw the answer in an offroad magazine. Portable mini fridges.

These mini refrigerators are designed tough and have been engineered to withstand the jostles, bumps, and bangs that come with driving off road in the cab or in the bed of a truck.

They run off a 12 volt system and plug into the cars lighter socket. This means they use low amounts of energy which is good when electricity is scarce.

They also have an adapter that lets you use a standard plug so you can plug it into a generator or anywhere there is a 110 outlet.

Here�s two that I found online.

The first is by Waeco:

This is the company I read about in the magazine. A cooler sized model was tied to the bed of a pickup that drove over 500 miles of washboard roads, powder dust, hidden pot holes, and river crossings. It never failed. It kept everything cool even though it was outside of the vehicle and had the sun beating down on it. Waeco also makes an insulated cover for it so it doesn�t have to work as hard in the heat.

My biggest concern about this fridge is the price. They range from $300 to $400 for the inboard small one to $700+ for s cooler sized one. And that�s without the cover.

There are people out there who just can�t afford that and I want to give them an optional choice more suited to their budget. After a little searching, I found this:

The Koolatron 29 quart cooler.

It too is a 12 volt system that plugs into the cigarette plug in your car, but you have to buy the 110 volt adapter plug separately if you want to plug it into a generator or other regular outlet.

The good news is the price. The list price is $160 for the cooler and Amazon has it listed for $117.00 without the adapter plug. (The adapter plug goes for around $40.00.)

I have no reports or reviews of this refrigerator other than what people posted at Amazon. Read them and decide if this will work for you.

While not having to deal with an emergency is ideal, these two refrigerators give a little help to diabetics that have to deal with a storm or other emergency. Having these fridges able to be powered by a car battery gives you a way to keep your insulin cold if you lose power to your house. It also gives you a way to safely transport it if you have to travel a long distance. If worse comes to worse and your car is destroyed in the event, you can pull out the battery from the remains, yank the plug off the wires, strip the insulation off the wires and tie them to the battery terminals themselves to get the power. It�s not ideal, but it�ll work.

Going through the cleanup after a storm is bad enough. Being able to do it without worrying about insulin is a game changer. Stay safe and stay strong.

Survival Retreat – Defending your Retreat

The single most important criteria of all is to insure the retreat you select is defend-able. Your defense may simply be its isolation, its physical preparations (Barb Wire, Entrenchments,etc), or a combination of the two. Remember, however, even the most thoroughly prepared and vigorously defended survival retreat may not survive repeated assaults from heavily armed and determined bands of looters in a highly populated area. Conversely, the most isolated survival retreat may fall to a single looter unless basic security precautions are taken.

Basically, stay as far away from the population centers as possible. As food begins to disappear from the supermarket shelves, roaming bands of looters and thugs will gradually begin the attrition process.. The weak and unprepared in the major urban areas will be the first victims of the collapse. The more agrarian and remote cities and towns will be spared the violence initially. However, the interstate highway system and modern communications systems will soon spread the disorder thru most of the country. We will assume that your survival retreat is somewhat isolated, or at least away from the major urban areas.

Survival Retreat- Never Retreat Alone

To a certain extent there is safety to be found in numbers. A well defended retreat of several families is less likely to be attacked than that of a single family. Only if you have the protection of total isolation -deep in the North Woods, Arizona desert, etc. – should a single family retreat be consider.

One person can only remain on guard duty so long. Even a well armed single family would be overwhelmed in a short time by the coordinated attack of only lightly armed looters. Multiple family retreats offer the following advantages:

(1) Coordinated in instituting a coordinated and well prepared defensive system that would not be possible for the single family.
(2) Sharing of the tasks of defense, hunting, food preparation, house keeping, farming, etc
(3) The potential of attracting qualified medical personnel (most important) to an established survival retreat

Survival Retreat – What about your Neighbors?

In some respects the best neighbors to have at your survival retreat are none. The fewer people that are in an area the less likely an armed group of looters will be checking the area out. Looters and other parasitic creatures will prey on those that have neither the knowledge, weapons or will power to defend themselves. If the area that your survival retreat is situated in has large numbers of unprepared people the changes of looters attracted to your retreat will be greater.

Although an area where there are multiple survival retreats linked together with wired communications may be able to offer each other mutual defensive support in case a massive band of looters happens to fall upon the area. This plan may be worth consideration.

 

Long Term Food Storage-PT 1 Nutrition

Long Term Food Storage-PT 1 Nutrition

I won’t go too far into nutrition, but need to cover the basics to explain the reasons behind the way I’ve approached things. Proteins have two main functions, firstly to promote growth. Secondly they maintain supplies of enzymes, hormones, antibodies to regulate body functions. Proteins are made up of amino acids, approximately twenty act like building blocks. Nine of these are essential, that our bodies cannot do without or synthesis them itself.These include; isoleucine, leucine, lysine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, histidine, valine, phenylalanine. Proteins from animal sources contain all essential amino acids. No single vegetable contains all of these and need a combination to provide a complete protein. �

In contrast to animal products, most of the foods derived from plants rarely have the complete array of the 9 essential amino acids you need to survive. For example, rice is quite high in the total amount of amino acids it contains, but misses out on several of the 9 required by the human body. For this reason, from the perspective of getting enough of amino acids in your diet you cannot survive indefinitely on rice alone like you could on beef.�

Plants have provided a means to obtain the complete amino acid array we need to survive without having to consume any animal products at all. This is done by mixing and matching. What some plant based foods lack in amino acids, other foods have. For example, eating just beans or eating just rice will result in not obtaining all the 9 essential amino acids you need to survive. However beans and rice complement one another so that by combining them into the same meal you will receive all the amino acids you need to maintain health.�

��Rice / Chickpeas

��Corn / Lentils

��Corn / Rice

��Corn / Beans

��Beans / Rice

��Rice / Lentils

��Pasta (Wheat) / Chickpeas�

To achieve a complete amino chain with vegetables; beans, corn and squash need to be used in combination. These are also refered to the three sisters. Corn, beans and squash also complement each other nutritionally. Corn provides carbohydrates, the dried beans are rich in protein, balancing the lack of necessary amino acids found in corn. Finally, squash yields both vitamins from the fruit and healthful, delicious oil from the seeds.

Many societies throughout history have hit upon the right food combinations that together provide the complete amino acid set necessary for survival. For example beans on corn tortillas in Central America, soybeans and rice in the Far East, cornbread and pinto beans in southern US. When laying in your preparedness food supplies you would do well to emulate those who have successfully figured out the correct combinations necessary for health and survival.

Examples of Foods High in Amino Acids

  • Grains include wheat, oats, rice, barley, and corn.
  • Seeds and Nuts include almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Legumes include peanuts, soybeans, lentils, peanuts, and a wide variety of beans.

Food Combinations for the Essential Amino Acids

For example, beans (a legume) when combined with rice (a grain) are an excellent source of the complete array of essential amino acids. Combining rice with nuts is still a good combination, but not optimal as compared with the beans and rice combination. Therefore if you have these kinds of foods on hand you can optimize your diet by making food combinations.

If you add some milk products, in the form of powdered or canned milk or long lasting cheeses, your options are increased. For example a glass of milk with a whole wheat sandwich is an excellent combination for obtaining the essential amino acids.�

Carbohydrates consist of two types 1) Simple e.g.; sugars and 2) Complex e.g.; starches.� Sucrose the most commonly eaten (sugar) have no nutrients and is used mainly for taste and fast energy. Complex carbs are from potato’s wholemeal bread and flour products.Before being used by the body must be broken down into simple sugars and absorbed through the small intestine. Then used as energy or as a reserve to maintain blood sugar levels, between meals or during exercise.� �

Apart from providing energy, carbs are needed to metabolize protein, so they can be used for the above functions.� To release the energy from carbs the body needs sufficient quantities of vitamins. Everything is connected.When I first started to research long term food storage, complete proteins were never really mentioned. Everything was based around old methods.�

Mormon Four�

1.�Wheat

2.�Milk Powder

3.�Sugar

4.�Salt�

This provides the basic minimum to stay alive, (but who would want to on this) and needs to be incorporated with foraging.�

An alternative is the Kearney Diet of;�

��Red Wheat

��Corn

��Pinto Beans

��Olive Oil

��Salt�

Which is slightly better at providing complete proteins, but very limited to recipe ideas.�

A One Year Grub Stake consisted of;�

��Split Peas

��Beans

��Flour

��Salt

��Sugar

��Dried Eggs

��Cooking Oil

��Coffee

��Rice

��Pepper

��Baking Powder

��Baking Soda

��Yeast�

I wanted to combine these and add a few more essentials to increase variety and nutrition. I also wanted to separate Long term, Medium term and Short term.�

Long Term (5-10 years) are items that could be brought gradually, stored in plastic food grade tubs, sealed and wouldn’t be touched.�

Medium Term (1-2 years) items used all the time and rotated fortnightly, mainly tinned foods with a three to six month supply.�

Short Term (6 months-1 year) essentially foods used in homemade MRE’s to be used in my BOB kit or backpacking trips.

HEALTHY PINTO BEANS – and PEOPLE

About 20 years ago, someone noticed that the people in one remote village (A) on the East coast of Mexico were very healthy, yet the people in another remote village (B) about 70 miles away were not healthy. Their diets were virtually identical: a little fish, their home grown beans, some corn, and a few vegetables. The soil conditions and water available for gardening were virtually identical, and the villagers used similar clay crocks or jugs for storing their harvests.

Another obvious difference between the two villages was that the first one was able to store beans from one harvest to the next, but the poorer villagers often ran out of stored beans, as bean weevils destroyed their dried beans.

The people in village A were healthy and industrious, their children full of energy, with strong limbs and teeth, ran to their tasks and games as healthy children do. Meanwhile, in village B, the people were listless, did less work, and the children all had symptoms of rickets and scurvy.

So what could make such a tremendous difference in the health of people in two neighboring villages? After considerable study, it turned out there were two things the people of the distant villages were doing differently.

In village A, a watchful villager had noticed that bean weevils had to brace themselves against one bean in order to gnaw through the hard outer shell of another bean. So they only filled their storage crocks three-fourths full, and once a month would shake them. The shaking of the beans would by itself kill the been weevil larvae, and thus their beans would remain unharmed in storage.

Again, in village A, persons long before had noticed that beans were hard to digest, which meant that all of the food value was not being extracted from them. So they added a teaspoon full of wood ashes (lye) to the soaking water for their beans, then rinsed the beans and discarded the soaking water before cooking. The lye altered the state of the lysine in the beans, so the available amino acids were much more readily assimilated by the human digestive tract. It worked: they were healthy.

You are wondering if the researchers took those lessons from Village A back to Village B, and everything turned out just fine, like in a fairy tale, right? Well, they tried, but the B villagers said they had been growing and saving beans for years, they knew what they were doing, and something as simple as shaking their beans was dumb, and they weren’t going to put any wood ashes in their beans. Sounds like the tale of the ant and the grasshopper to me!

Toxicity

Before they are eaten, the raw bean seeds should be soaked in water for several hours and then boiled for at least ten minutes in new fresh water to degrade a toxic compound – the lectin phytohaemagglutinin – found in the bean which would otherwise cause severe gastric upset. This compound is present in many varieties (and in some other species of bean), but is especially concentrated in red kidney beans and white kidney beans (Cannellini beans). Although in the case of dry beans the ten minutes required to degrade the toxin is much shorter than the hours required to fully cook the beans themselves, outbreaks of poisoning have been associated with the use of slow cookers whose low cooking temperatures may be unable to degrade the toxin. Sprouts of pulses high in haemaglutins should not be eaten. Kidney beans, especially, should not be sprouted.

This is the most commonly used bean used for refried beans (fresh or canned) and in many dishes at Tex-Mex restaurants. Rice and pinto beans served with cornbread or corn tortillas are often a staple meal where there is limited money for meat, as the combination of beans and corn creates all the protein amino acids needed in a meat substitute. When it comes to making chili, if a bean is added, this is the one typically used, although the kidney bean, black bean, and many others may also be used in other locales.�

Long Term Food Storage-PT 2 Storage

Long Term Food Storage-PT 2 Storage

There are three ways of storing foods for long term use; Descendants, Nitrogen and Dry Ice. I’ve tried to suit these to an Australian context as most of the information on the net is suited to other countries where different products and pricing are available.�

There are two types of desiccants or moisture absorbers, short term that lasts for six months without opening then once opened only last for twenty minutes and those that last for a year before needing to use. These can last up to two hours once exposed to the environment.�

These need to be used in conjunction with mylar bags as they form a partial vacuum and can cause the collapse of a pail. When used with mylar only the bags contract and use the structure of the buckets for support. The amount of desiccants need to matched to the size of the container being used to remove the correct amount of moisture. The bags cannot be used alone as they are easy to puncture. I haven’t been able to locate a local supplier for either the mylar bags or food grade moisture absorbers.�

Nitrogen can be used immediately, as the pails can be closed as soon as they are full. This may be a good choice if sharing the cost between several people for large amounts of buckets to be sealed. �

To rent a food grade nitrogen bottle G size 8000 litres weighing 60 kilo at five foot in height costs approximately $150/yr for the bottle, $110 for the gas, $175 for the regulator, not counting hoses and still requiring transportation. Bringing a subtotal to $450 or there about.NOTE: when using Nitrogen in enclosed spaces it becomes deadly.�

Using Dry Ice costs $6.50/kilo in pellet form requiring approximately 10 kilo or $50 – $60 for the amount of containers I would need to fill. Dry Ice forms CO2 as it melts, removing the O2. The idea is to remove as much oxygen as possible to stop oxidization and to prevent insects from mulitplying through their life cycles. NOTE: when handling dry ice it can burn. Always wear safety glasses and gloves when handling.�

I want to use 10-15 kilo buckets as these will fit under a double size bed, stored out of the way and are light enough to be easily moved without the need of a sack truck. If one pail should become contaminated or have broken seal, only a small amount of the stores will be effected and not the entire amount.

The smallest food grade buckets/pails I’ve been able to find hold 15 litres/15kgs are 13inches/330mm in height with lid or 290mm without and 12inches/300mm in width. The lids have a rubber seal in the base of the lip and a tamper seal on the lips edge, preventing removal with out first removing the tamper strip.�

This size will fit 24 containers under a double bed frame and are light enough filled, to be easily moved for either rotation or possible evacuation. A sack truck is still needed to move more than one container at a time.�

I was considering importing Gamma seal screw on lids from the States costing $6.85US ea not including shipping subtotal $168US or $200AUD before shipping is included. It costs $228AUD for 24 buckets and lids from the local manufacturer. Other than the cost, what sold me with using the push on lids were the tamper seal, luckily these are reusable.You definitely know that no one has gotten curious and decided to open any of the pails to see what’s inside and release the carbon dioxide stuffing up hours of preserving. These have cost me $6.36/bucket and $2.27/lid with 0.87 GST/EA coming to a total of $9.50EA or $228/24 containers.�

I like using mylar bags in association with buckets, this is the simplest and easiest way to store food long term. NOTE: Do not use O2 absorbers and Moisture aborbers in the same container unless in a high humidity area and then do not place in close proximity to one another or either wont work. These can be brought from Sorbent Systems or straight off Eprey. Eprey have deals where the bags and the correct size O2 aborbers are sold together. A 5 Gallon bag 4.3mm in thickness measuring 20 x 30 inches generally requires from 2x750cc=1500cc to 2000cc O2 absorbers.�

Generally 10 cups of wheat will make approximately 14 cups of flour. This depends on how fine you are grinding and the type of grinder being used.

10 cups of wheat makes 14 cups of flour

1 Litre = 1 Kilogram

4 cups per 1 litre/kilogram

60 cups per 15 litres/kilograms

60 cups of wheat should make 84 cups of flour or

42 loaves of bread per 15 litre bucket

Preserving Meat without Refrigeration

Preserving Meat without Refrigeration�

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        1. Preserving Techniques
          1. Salt Curing
            1. Brine / Pickle
            2. Dry Curing
          2. Smoking
            1. Cold
            2. Hot
          3. Drying
          4. Pickling
            1. Vinegar
            2. Sugar
          5. Combination Processes
        2. Storage Methods
          1. Dry Hanging / Storage
            1. Waxed / Sealed
            2. Oiled / Larded
            3. Spiced / Salted
          2. Wet Storage
            1. Brine
            2. Oil
            3. Pickle
        3. How Do I Do This
          1. Salting
          2. Smoking
          3. Drying
          4. Pickling
        4. Using the Preserved Product
          1. Consume As Is
          2. Cook As Is
          3. Freshen and Cook
        5. What Can Go Wrong
          1. Spoilage / No Guarantee
          2. Mold
          3. Health Risks
          4. Insects

Preserving Techniques�

Salt Curing�

Salt curing meat to preserve it is probably one of the oldest preservation techniques known to man.� This method of curing meat was known to the Romans, as well as smoking.� There exists a story that salt meat was important enough to the Romans that the senate once debated whether man could exist without it.� Salt curing preserved both raw and cooked meats, as well as poultry, game and fish.� Several receipts for salt curing exist from the Roman occupation to the end of period.� These receipts call for a variety of preparations of the meat, and a variety of curing mixtures.� One of the receipts from the 15th century even calls for the addition of �great salt of Peter�, or sodium nitrate, which is still used in modern food processing operations.�

Brine curing is the process that consists of soaking the raw or cooked meat in strong salt solution.� If multiple pieces of meat are brined in the same container, the meat is usually rearranged every couple of days to ensure consistent coverage.� Often the brine would contain spices other than salt to add flavor or to attempt to disguise the sometimes-heavy salt flavor of the meat.� After several days in the brine solution, also called a pickle, the meat is hanged until completely dry on the surface.� It can then be stored.� The shelf life of the finished product depends on many factors among which are the amount of meat to be processed, the strength of the pickle, and length of the brining process.� In many instances brine curing becomes a pre-process to another preservation method.�

Dry curing is the process of rubbing the raw or cooked meat with a dry salt mixture, and allowing the meat to stand for several days.� Often the salt rub is reapplied after a few days.� This may be repeated more than once.� The product is normally cured in a container that will drain, laid on a bed of the salt cure mixture.� The curing rub was often more than just salt.� Saltpeter was added as early as 400CE.� Many spices or sweeteners were used in the curing mixture, often in an attempt to cover the salty flavor of many of the foods preserved in this manner.�

A combination of brining and dry curing was also used.� Both of these methods were used with both raw and cooked meat, fish and poultry, whether domestic or game.� Both of the processes should be performed between the temperatures of 35�F and 50�F.� This means that unless some kind of refrigeration is employed this must be done at a time of the year when the nighttime low dips no lower than 32�F, and the daytime high is no greater the 53�F.�� If the temperature drops below 32�F the process is suspended.� If the temperature rises above 50�F there is an increased chance of spoilage during the curing process.� This 50�F high temperature becomes less important as the meat cures longer.� In many cases that is the end of the process; the preserved meat is then stored.� Often this was only the first step in a process that involved one or more of the other preservation techniques.�

The chemistry and biology (note I�m telling you what�s coming so you can skip this part if you want) of this is that most harmful bacteria, including the bacteria that cause botulism, cannot exist after the salt content gets so high, or when the water content of the meat gets so low.� Soaking the meat in a salt solution, or rubbing it with salt both causes the meat to assume the salt, and leaches moisture out of the meat.� Even meat cured in a pickle loses water weight during the curing process.� If the meat starts the curing process raw, it will still be raw when completed.� The curing process will not kill trichinosis or salmonella.� If the meat should be fully cooked before eating fresh, it should still be fully cooked after curing!

Smoking


Smoke as a preservative has probably been around as long as man has been eating meat.� A widely believed theory is that smoking was seen to improve both the flavor and the keeping qualities of meat as a side effect of it�s being hung above the fire to keep insects off.� As with many beneficial discoveries this was probably completely accidental, but would probably have been noticed because even our most primitive ancestors would have had an interest in preserving their food supply.� Although I have seen no period documentation of the processes used, there is evidence of smoked meat from the Roman occupation through the end of the 16th century.� This primarily appears in descriptions of Roman foods and orders and invoices for armies and in preparation for lengthy voyages where fresh supplies may be in short supply.�

Cold smoking is a process involving saturating the meat in smoke at a temperature of 75�F to 120�F.� Meat to be cold smoked is almost always at least partially cured before smoking.� In most cases it is fully cured before smoking.� The meat is usually hung or placed on racks, and smoked for days instead of hours.� Sometimes the process took place in special buildings for that particular purpose, sometimes strips of meat were hung around a fire, and sometimes meat was placed near the hearth or hung in the hearth or chimney where smoke from the cooking fire would pass.� The resulting product was either completely raw or only partially cooked.� When combined with salt curing this can result in a product that will remain edible and tasty for a year or longer without refrigeration, even under the worst conditions.� Cold smoking can be used for all meats, poultry, fish and game.�

Hot smoking is essentially the same process with temperatures in the range of 140�F to 200�F.� In many cases meat to be hot smoked is not cured, or is only slightly brined for the salty flavor, or to inhibit bacterial growth during the smoking process.� The meat is then hot smoked for several hours, cooking in the process.� These hot smoked products are usually intended for immediate (relatively) consumption, and will not keep like the fully cured, cold smoked variety.� In some cases the hot smoking process was also used to further dry the product in addition to flavoring and adding the smoke based preservatives, as with the famous double smoked red herring.� These meats are usually fully cured before smoking.�

In both processes the meat is usually completely dried on the surface before it is smoked.� In some cases cold smoking is followed by a period of hot smoking.� The smoking process, either cold or hot, flavors the meat, improves the shelf life and prevents attack by many insects that will infest meat that is only salt cured or not cured at all.� Virtually all manner of meat, fish, poultry, and game was smoked.� Many of today�s local specialty smoked food products, and smoked food names survive from the middle ages or earlier.�

Now we move to the science.� Smoking meat deposits the resins from the burning wood into the meat.� Many of these resins contain aldehydes.� These chemical compounds force the moisture out of the meat.� (Remember how your fingers dried out in biology class.)� This has a twofold effect; first, the aldehyde compounds themselves inhibit bacterial growth, and the lowering of the moisture content further slows bacterial growth.

Drying


Drying meat and fish as a preservation technique has been practiced for hundreds of years; possibly thousands in more arid areas.� In many communities along the Mediterranean coast meat and fish were suspended in nets above the roofs to dry in the sun.� Many early fishermen would clean and salt the daily catch, and hang it in the rigging until it was �hard as oak planks�.� In the Middle East and Africa dried meat very similar to modern jerky was produced.� Drying was most often done in the sun, but in regions where this was impractical special drying sheds were built to dry the meat with mild heat.�

Except in arid environments, meat to be dried was usually partially cured before drying.� In extreme dry areas the meat would dry before bacterial action could start.� In more humid climes partial curing was necessary to retard spoilage long enough to dry the meat enough that bacterial action could be inhibited.� To effectively dry meat and fish more processing of the raw meat is required.� Large pieces for raw flesh do not dry well unless hung for extended periods of time, which usually rendered the meat inedible.� So meats to be dried are cut or pulled into smaller pieces.� Often the size and shape of the prepared meat depended on its intended use.� If properly stored, dried meat and fish will keep indefinitely.�

Red meat and fish are the usual candidates for drying.� There is some evidence that the Chinese were smoking and drying duck before 500 BCE.� Dried meat products are excellent foodstuffs for travelers.� They are light in weight, and a small amount of the meat provides a large amount of protein, so less is consumed at each meal.� Small cubes and thick strips of dried meat can be reconstituted for use in soups and stews or noodle dishes. Thin strips are usually spiced in some manner when dried, with the intent that they be consumed in the dried state.�

Ok, here�s more of the scientific stuff.� As mentioned before, most harmful bacteria cannot exist when the moisture content of their environment gets too low.� Drying relies on this principle heavily.� The salting process prior to drying is usually only sufficient to protect the product during the drying process, and may be safely omitted if the meat is cut so that it will dry quickly, or spiced in some other manner to prevent bacterial growth.� After the process is complete, the lack of moisture is usually sufficient to normally inhibit bacterial growth indefinitely.

Pickling


Pickling is usually applied to preserving food by soaking in either heavy vinegar or sugar solutions.� The Egyptians have practiced this type of preservation for thousands of years.� Foods and bodies have been found preserved in honey in many Egyptian tombs.� Evidence of pickled meats can be found from pre-period Roman documents.� This technique was also widely applied to fresh fruits and vegetables.�

Vinegar pickling is accomplished by immersing the food in a strong vinegar solution.� The Romans pickled lamb and many pork by-products. Many of these are still available today.� One medieval pickling receipt adds a strong spice mixture, and claims that the process will work for meat, poultry, or game.� Most meat intended for pickling is cooked before the pickling process begins.� This keeps the vinegar pickle from assuming too much water from the meat, and as a result going rancid because of the lower acid content of the pickling solution.� Vinegar pickling was often used in areas where salt was unavailable or at a premium.� If stored properly foods pickled in vinegar will last for years, and in many cases will retain their natural color and texture.� Foods preserved in vinegar solutions have a very tart or acid flavor.� If spices are included in the pickling solution the food will readily pick up the additional flavors.�

Preserving in sugar, or honey, has been practiced in northern Africa, the Middle East, and the Orient for hundreds or thousands of years.� Although this method is used primarily for fruits, vegetables, and flowers, there is evidence that meat can also be preserved in strong sugar solutions.� There is a Roman recipe for preserving meat in honey.�

Behind the scenes, these processes do essentially the same thing as salting.� This is one of the reasons that they are grouped together.� Both of these processes leach the moisture from the food and replace is with components of the pickle, in this case vinegar, sugar, or spice.� Not only is the moisture content of the food decreased, it is also impregnated with a substance that resists bacterial growth.

Combination Processes


In many cases a combination of preserving techniques are used together on the same product.� Much of the time this is standard operating procedure, as in the case of most smoked meats and sausages.� Meat and fish are usually prepared for drying by first brining or salting the food.� In some cases these foods were also smoked before or during drying.� The same process would be applied repeatedly to certain products.� This is the case in the well-known red herring that traveled well through Europe through the 13th and 14th centuries.� This product was heavily salted, then hot smoked twice, until it was very dry.� This product was often still edible after more than two years, but reportedly tasted like �dried wood� after that length of time.

Storage Methods

Dry Hanging / Storage


Dry storage refers to the storage of a product at room temperature in a dry (relatively) environment.� This is the preferred storage method for many salt-cured, smoked, or dried meat and fish products and many sausages.� No, the processed meat was not just thrown on the shelf.� The meat was usually wrapped or stitched into a close fitting cloth sack.� Often this was not the only preparation to storage.� Many preserved products specifically target this storage method.� Fully cured hams can be wrapped in butcher�s paper and hung in a close fitting linen or muslin bag.� These hams will remain edible and tasty for two years or longer.� Dried meat and fish can survive for years if kept dry.� There are still many storage related problems.� Several enhancements to dry storage have been made throughout the years.�

Sealing is the act of preventing air contact with the preserved food product. Waxing food to be dry-stored enhances shelf life by sealing out air, and sealing in moisture.� This had the dual effect of inhibiting mold growth, and keeping the stored product moist and edible, both of which are problems with this type of storage.� This was usually done with cheeses, and later in the Middle Ages with fruit preserves.� Modern housewives still pour a layer of paraffin on top of each jar of homemade jelly and jam to inhibit mold growth.� The method would probably work with dry cured or smoked meats, but there is no evidence that this was ever tried.� Dry hung meats were sealed using other substances also.� Often salted and smoked meats were closely stitched into linen sacks, and painted with a lime wash.� The wash dried to a very thin cement-like coating, effectively sealing it from the air.� Potted meats were sealed with a layer of butter or lard in milder climates.�

Larding and oiling perform a function similar to waxing.� Applying a thin coating of oil or other grease that will not go rancid seals the product from the air and greatly reduces the risk of mold growth.� Oiling is not as effective against drying because the oil tends to dry which then allows air exposure.� This method was used primarily for smoked and salted meats.� The meat was larded before sacking, and usually required treatment again during extended storage.� Larding is a reasonably effective deterrent to mold but might attract insects.�

Spicing or salting the meat before hanging is also done as a deterrent to insects and mold.� Strong spices, such as pepper and mustard seed, are generally used, because of their repellent qualities.� These spices also perform better at inhibiting mold growth.� The meat is usually dredged in the cracked or very coarsely ground spice or spice mixture, then sacked and hung as usual.� The usual candidates for spicing are smoked and salted meats.� On occasion dried meats are spiced before drying to keep insects off during the drying process.� Spicing also adds flavor to the meat, especially after it has aged well.� Salt packing is the storage of salted meat or fish in crocks or barrels between layers of salt.� This storage method is generally used with salted fish and fatty pork products.� This is quite effective at preventing both insect attack and mold growth, and it will prevent the fats from going rancid for quite a long while.� It is also quite effective at rendering the meat inedible, especially after extended storage.� Salt packing can extend the shelf life of salt cured meats by years.

Wet Storage


Wet storage refers to the storage of preserved food in a liquid medium at room temperature.� This storage method is used for a very wide variety of preserved foods, including several preserved meats and fish.� Both salted and smoked meats were stored in liquids.�

Brine storage is immersing the preserved food in a strong salt solution.� The product must be fully immersed.� Storage in brine was usually reserved for brined or salted meats.� Foods stored in brine could last for several years, and would not dry out as much as those packed in salt.� These foods would still suffer from too much salt content after extended storage, rendering them as inedible as those packed in salt dry.� Storing meat in brine requires some maintenance.� Because the container is not sealed the brine might turn rancid after a time.� To prevent this, and to redistribute the meat within the solution, the meat is unpacked, the brine boiled and strained, and replenished if necessary, and the meat is repacked in the brine.� This is also done at any sign of mold or off odor.�

Oiling and larding are processes that seal the preserved food from contact with the air.� Smaller pieces of salted or smoked seafood or meat were immersed in a variety of oils or covered with melted lard or butter.� The oil or lard should completely cover the preserved food, leaving no air pockets.� This would allow trapped microorganisms to multiply and start spoilage.� Jars and crocks of oil stored foods were often also sealed with a piece of leather or waxed cloth tied close about the opening, or the opening was plugged with a piece of cork.� Later bottles and jars were available with a close fitting lid or stopper.� Smoked and salted foods stored in oil often lasted for years, and were usually still quite edible after lengthy storage.� This is very similar in concept to sealing as previously discussed.�

Preserved foods stored in a pickle are usually stored in a strong vinegar solution.� When completely immersed these foods are also sealed from contact with the air.� Foods to be stored in this manner are usually pickled first, and then simply left in the pickling solution for storage.� Often the container was sealed for storage.� Preserved foods stored in a pickling solution will often remain in good eating condition for years.

How Do I Do This

OK, here goes.� If you try this, and someone gets sick or worse, I am not responsible.� The author will assume no liability for any failure when using any of the food preservation, or storage techniques outlined.� All responsibility falls to the person performing the preservation and storage.

Salting


Most red meat, pork, fowl, game and fish can be successfully salt cured.� Red meat and pork can be either dry salted or brined.� Fowl is usually brined, and fish is usually dry salted.� Salt curing meat and fish must be done during cool temperatures or under refrigeration.� If the temperature gets too high there is a great risk of spoilage, and if the temperature gets too low the curing process is suspended.� The optimal temperature for curing with salt is between 35� F and 45� F.� Temperatures lower than 32� F or higher than 50� F should be avoided.�

A basic curing salt can be made with 1 pound of pickling or kosher salt and a teaspoon of saltpeter.� Do not use table salt, iodized or otherwise.� The smaller granules tend to impede the flow of moisture out of the meat, and the ability of the meat to assume salt.� The saltpeter can be omitted but shelf life and product color may suffer.� This cure may be directly applied to the meat or mixed into a quart of water to make brine.� Sugar cures can be made by replacing up to � of the salt with about twice as much amount of sugar, or brown sugar in dry cures.� Liquid sweeteners, such as honey, molasses, or maple syrup can be used to make sweet cure brines.� Be careful not to replace too much salt.� This can lead to improper curing and spoilage.� Many herbs and spices can be added to cures and brines.� These additions can add considerable flavor to the preserved meat, but have little effect on the quality of the cure.�

Although the cure itself remains mostly unchanged, the process and curing time vary greatly depending on the food being cured and the size of the pieces.� As a general rule, fish, less fatty fowl, and game will cure in shorter periods of time; fowl containing more fat will finish next; less fatty meats like beef and lamb will take somewhat longer; and fatty meats like pork take longest to cure.� There is very little difference in the curing time required for dry curing versus brining.�

To dry cure fish, scale but do not skin the fish and split or fillet the fish.� If the fish is split remove the backbone except enough near the tail to provide some rigidity.� Lay the fish skin side down on a bed of salt about �� deep.� Cover this layer of fish with �� of salt.� Place the next layer of fish skin side up on top of the first.� Cover this layer of fish with �� of salt.� This is continued until all of the fish have been added to the stack.� Fillets � inch thick will cure in 6 to 10 days.� Thicker fillets will take longer; about 1-2 days per � inch.� Fillets greater that 1� inches should not be dry cured due to the greater risk of spoilage.� Dry cured fish is normally packed in salt or dried for storage.�

Brining fish takes a little more attention.� Make the brine using the basic salt cure.� Prepare the fish as for dry curing.� Put the fish in the brine, leaving plenty of space.� If the fish floats to the surface, place sufficient weight on the fish to force it under the curing brine.� Curing times are about the same as dry curing.� The brine should be agitated daily to ensure that all of the fish is properly exposed to the brine.� Brine cured fish can be stored as dry cured fish.� It is not advised to store the fish in brine, but brined fish can be stored in oil after the surface has dried completely.� It will become mushy in time.� Most brine-cured fish will eventually be smoked.�

Dry salt curing pork, beef, or other red meats works best for larger cuts of meat such as pork hams or shoulders, lamb leg, or ��round beef roast, but can be used for smaller cuts also.� Avoid trying to cure pieces too large because they may spoil before curing is complete.� Dry curing meat requires about a cup to a cup and a half of curing salt per pound of meat.� Rub each piece with about � of the salt required for that piece of meat.� Place the meat in a cool dry place well protected from insects and animals for 4-5 days, and not touching the walls of the container or other pieces of meat.� After this time rub the meat with the remaining cure mixture and replace.� If the pieces are very large, greater than 7� at the smallest part, rub with an additional � pound of cure after 5 days.� If boneless the meat should cure for 5 days per inch of breadth at the narrowest part, or 7 days per inch if the meat contains a bone.� Rinse off the excess salt with fresh water, allow to air dry and store.�

To cure these meats in brine, make basic brine from your curing mixture, and immerse the meat in the brine.� Make sure that the meat us fully immersed in the brine.� The meat should remain in the brine for 48 hours per pound, if boneless.� If the meat contains bone it should be cured for an additional 12 hours per pound.� If multiple pieces are cured in the same container the meat should be removed from the brine and repacked every couple of days to ensure equal coverage by the brine.� Curing should be extended by 12 hours per pound in this case also.� If the brine should start to turn rancid, remove the meat and rinse in fresh water.� Boil the brine to kill the contaminant, replace water lost while boiling, and replenish the brine, if necessary.� After the brine has cooled repack the meat in the brine and continue curing.� After curing is complete the meat should be rinsed in fresh water and hung to air dry, unless it will be stored in the brine.�

The preferred method for salt curing fowl is brining, though dry curing is possible.� To brine fowl immerse the bird in sufficient brine to cover completely.� Make sure that the body cavity is filled with solution, and that the bird is weighted to keep it under the brine.� The bird should remain in the brine for 30-48 hours per pound, depending on the fat on the bird, the strength of the brine solution and whether the meat is to be processed further.� Fowl with higher fat content, like duck and goose, will take longer to properly cure because the fat doesn�t absorb the curing solution as readily as meat.� If fat poultry is improperly cured the fat will soon turn rancid, and the meat will quickly follow.� After curing is complete the bird should be rinsed in fresh water and hung to air dry, unless it will be stored in the brine.�

Dry salting whole fowl is nearly impossible because of the shape and cavities.� If the bird is split or cut up this presents less of a problem.� Small birds are better candidates for dry salting.� The bird should be rubbed well with curing mix, and laid on a bed of the same mixture.� Cure the fowl for about 4 days per inch of meat thickness.� Rinse off the excess cure with fresh water, allow to air dry and store.� I do not suggest doing this.� It is only presented for completeness.� If the cure is not well distributed over the entire surface of the meat, it may not cure properly.� Because of the unusual shape of cleaned poultry this is usually the case.

Smoking


Meat, fowl, fish, and game to be smoked must be salted sufficiently to at least resist bacterial growth during the smoking process.� This is particularly important during cold smoking, which is performed at optimal temperatures for bacterial growth.� Often smoked meats are fully cured before smoking.� The length of the curing process is determined by the anticipated storage time and often by personal preference and taste.� The cure used on the meat will often contain sweeteners, spices and other flavoring agents.� The length of smoking time is also a matter of personal preference in many cases.� When smoking to cure taste is less of a consideration; the food must be smoked sufficiently to deposit the curing agents supplied by the smoke.� Smoke cured meats are smoked much more heavily than those produced today for the smoke flavor alone.�

Smoke curing is done at low temperatures, 75�F to 120�F.� If the temperature gets too high the meat will start to cook and caseharden.� This cooks and seals the surface of the meat, and as a result decreases the amount of smoke preserving agents that can be absorbed by the food product.� While fully or partially cooking the product while smoking may be the eventual aim, the food must be cured at low temperatures, only after curing is complete should the temperature get high enough to actually cook the food product.�

Pork, red meats, and game meats other than fowl should be cold smoked for at least 6 to 24 hours per inch of breadth at the narrowest point.� The time per inch in the smoker is dependant upon the density of the smoke and to a degree on personal preference.� If the smoke is very dense (meat is nearly obscured by only a six inch curtain of smoke) exposure for 6 hours per inch of meat should be sufficient.� However light smoke (the meat is obscured at 2-3 feet) would require 24 hours or more per inch.� Animal skin or a thick layer of fat covering most of the meat surface will retard the absorption of the curing agents.� Smoking times should be doubled for these meats.� A whole, skin covered ham, about 10� across might be in the smokehouse as long as 3 weeks.� For normal smoking the surface of the meat should be air dried before smoking is begun.� The meat will either be hung in the smoke chamber or laid on a rack, depending on the configuration of the smoking equipment and the cut of meat.�

Poultry and game fowl should be cold smoked for 12 to 24 hours per inch of thigh or breast depth, whichever is greater.� Fatty birds such as duck and goose should be well cured before smoking because the fat in the meat resists penetration of the curing agents carried in the smoke.� Ideally fowl should hang by the wings when smoking.� This allows smoke to pass freely through the body cavity, and it allows moisture to drain during smoking.� If necessary, fowl can be smoked on a rack lying on their back.� If this is the case make sure that the body cavity remains open to allow smoke passage through the cavity, and hang the bird to drain well before storage.�

Very little fish is cold smoked; salmon and herring are processed this way.� Cold smoked fish is processed between 75�F and 100�F for 4 to 12 hours.� The fish must be sufficiently cured to resist spoilage during the smoking process.� If the temperature rises above 100�F, the fish will start to cook, and may caseharden.� This will retard the smoking process.� Unless fully cured cold smoked fish will only keep for several days unless refrigerated.� Under refrigeration smoked fish will often keep for 3 weeks or more.�

Some fish can be hot smoked at temperatures ranging from 140�F to 180�F.� This is usually done with salted herring or a similar fish, or small (under 5�) whole fish like anchovy and shiner sardines.� This process cooks the fish while smoking.� Smoking times and smoke density vary greatly depending on the intended product, but will usually range from 2 hours to 2-3 days.� Fish destined for the hot smoker should be fully cured unless it is to be eaten immediately or stored under refrigeration.� Most hot smoked fish is intended to be dry stored, sometimes in oil.�

A third process for smoking fish, called kippering, involves cold smoking the fish for several hours, then hot smoking for sufficient time to cook, or partially cook, the fish.� This is usually done with fatter or oilier fish such as herring, trout, and salmon.� Depending on the desired end product and fish being used the fish may be only lightly salted or fully cured.� The lightly salted varieties should be eaten immediately, or stored under refrigeration.� Fully cured kippers can be dry stored or packed in oil.

Drying


The process of drying for preservation is primarily used for red meats, game meats, sausages, and fish.� Some oriental cultures will dry smoked duck and other waterfowl.� Unless previously processed meat or fish that will be dried should be cured sufficiently to resist spoilage during the drying process.� Because much of the meat to be dried is sliced quite thin curing times are often significantly reduced, often to only hours.� Often meats that will be dried are smoked first.� Some recipes even call for the product to be cooked before drying.�

Meats that will be dried should be cut into strips no more than �� thick, or cubes about 1� square.� The prepared meat should be cured sufficiently to inhibit spoilage during the drying process.� Usually 6 to 12 hours is enough.� A variety of spices may be added to the cure, depending on the intended use of the dried meat.� After curing the meat may be rubbed with additional spice, or smoked, or both before it is dried.� Fish should be fully cured before drying.�

In dry climes the product can be sun dried.� This is not the case for most of us.� Alternative methods include oven or commercial food driers, drying in a smoker at low temperatures, and drying near an open flame.� Drying times will vary depending on the size of the pieces, and on the drying method chosen.�

Sun drying is recommended only for thin slices of meat and fish fillets.� Meat should be laid on a rack and placed in the sun.� It should remain there until nearly all of the moisture has been removed from the meat.� The time will vary according to the relative humidity.� If the product must be dried for more than one day take care to protect it from dewfall.� When it is done it will be leathery and crack when bent or folded.� Fish fillets should be hung in the sun to dry.� Again the time will vary with relative humidity.� Fish should be dried completely.� It will resemble wood when done.� In less arid climes oven or smoke drying is the preferred method.� Heat the oven or smoker to 100�F to 120�F; place the meat into the oven or smoker on racks, and dry until done as above.� Make sure that the oven door is left slightly open or that there is good flow through the smoker to evacuate the moist air.� This should take between 12 and 24 hours, depending on whether the meat is sliced or cubed.

Pickling


Pickling is accomplished by soaking the meat in a strong vinegar, honey, or sugar solution.� Both acid and sugar have the property of inhibiting bacterial growth.� Red meat, fowl, and fish can be successfully pickled.� To pickle, the meat should be cut into smaller pieces or sliced, and immersed in the pickling solution.� The meat must remain in the solution until it is permeated with either sugars or acids, and should be kept at lower temperatures (35�F to 45�F) until pickling is complete to avoid bacterial contamination.� The time required depends on the size of the pieces or thickness of the slices.� It may be either raw or cooked, however most pickling receipts call for the meat to be cooked first.�� Normally, pickled meats are stored in the pickle until used.�

When pickling in vinegar, the vinegar should have at least 6% acid content.� This is stronger than standard white or cider vinegar.� Check the specialty vinegars, or vinegars sold at gourmet shops.� Sugar pickles should contain at least 50% sugar by weight.� Honey pickles should be 100% honey, with only seasoning agents added.� Sugar and honey pickles are not very popular for meats because the flavor of the end product can be somewhat alien to the modern palate.

Using the Preserved Product

Consume As Is


Eat the preserved product without further preparation.� This is usually done with dried red meats safe to consume raw, or kippered meat or fish.� Most preserved meats used in this manner are intended for such consumption.

Cook As Is


The salted, smoked, or pickled meat can be taken directly from storage into the cooking pot.� This will often result in a dish that tastes strongly of salt, smoke or vinegar.� Carefully selecting receipts for the use of these meats will help with this problem by providing ingredients that either compliment or hide the flavor left by the preserving process.� This also allows for the option of leaving out the ingredients supplied by the preserved meats.� (Use pickled meat in a receipt that calls for vinegar or verjuice, and leave out the vinegar.)

Freshen and Cook


This is probably the most common method of using the preserved meat.� This involves soaking the meat in fresh water to reconstitute it and to remove some of the salt, vinegar, or smoke resins.� The meat should be soaked for 24 to 36 hours, sometimes longer.� In some cases the soak is changed several times to keep the water as fresh as possible.� This is not for fear that the water would turn, but to attempt to remove as much of the preserving agent as possible.� The meat is then used as fresh meat, adjusting the spice as required due to the flavor of remaining preservative.� Many dried meats and fish treated in this manner are hard to distinguish from fresh.

What Can Go Wrong

Spoilage / No Guarantee


Remember, there is no guarantee!� Although these are proven methods, there is no guarantee that any preserved food product will not spoil.� Learn to detect spoiled preserved food.� In many cases this is difficult due to the odors of the preserving agents.� Insufficient treatment and improper storage can both lead to food spoilage.� Learn to detect rancid or sour storage brines.� Often the meat can still be salvaged.� Rinse the meat in fresh water and if it smells good after that, repack it in brine.� Boil the brine to kill the infection, and replenish if necessary.� Many types of raw meat also carry disease.� If the meat was not cooked during the preserving process it is still raw!� If cooking is required it should be cooked.

Mold


Many molds will grow on hanging meats.� Most are harmless.� Mold is usually a result of improper storage, which often cannot be avoided.� If hanging salted or smoked meat is found to have molded, the mold can be scrubbed off using a stiff brush and a strong vinegar solution.� The meat can then be safely used.� I have found this solution to molded, cured meat in both period and modern references.� Oiling and larding can retard or prevent mold growth.

Health Risks


In addition to the other problems there can be other risks involved in using preserved meat and fish, depending on the method of preservation.� The most obvious risk is the high salt content of salt cure meat.� This can be a considerable risk to those with heart disease, arteriosclerosis, or high blood pressure.� There is often a high salt content in smoked and dried meat and fish.� Many cures include saltpeter or sodium nitrate.� This substance is suspect as a carcinogen.� Many of the preserving agents in wood smoke, the aldehydes, are suspected as carcinogens also.� One of these preserving agents is formaldehyde.� Today we can weigh these risks and decide; our ancestors had no choice.

Insects


There are a few insects that will infest or attack preserved meats.� Most are deterred by the salt or smoke.� Among those that will attack cured meats are the cheese skipper, mites, ham beetle, and larder beetle.� The skipper larva bores into meat and cheese leaving slime and rot in the infested area.� These are a yellowish color, and are about 1/3� long when fully grown.� The two-winged adult fly is about 1/8� long.� Mites feed on the surface, giving it a powdery appearance.� Since these do not fly, they are usually carried by other insects.� Both the adult ham beetle and its larvae bore through cured meat causing rot.� The larva is a purple color and about 1/3� long.� The adult beetle is a bright green-blue color with red legs and is about �� long.� Larder beetle larvae are a fuzzy brown color, and are about 1/3� long when full grown.� They feed on the surface or just below, and do not cause the meat to rot.� The adult beetle is about 1/3� long and is dark brown with a yellowish band across its back.�
Eastman, Wilbur, Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game (North Adams, MA; Storey, 2002)�

Erlandson, Kieth, Home Smoking and Curing (London; Ebury, 1997)�

Flower, B. & Rosenbaum, E., The Roman Cookery Book (London; Harrap, 1958)

(Apicius, Re de Coquinaria, circa 300)�

Friedman, David, Cariadoc�s Miscellany (http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/miscellany.html)�

Holm, Don, Food Drying, Pickling and Smoke Curing (Caldwell, ID; Caxton, 1992)�

Sheppard, Sue, Pickled, Potted, and Canned (New York; Simon & Schuster, 2000)�

Anonymous, Curye on Inglysch, (circa. 1390)(London; Early English Text Society, 1985)�

Welserin, Sabina, Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin, (1553) (Heidelberg, C. Winter, 1980)

Urban Escape and Evasion Kit Contents

By Budda

The below items Ive gradually purchased and have attempted to test most, or still in the process of doing so. Still aquiring several of the blades which can add up in price. However, so far Ive come to several conclusions/observations. The first is its not worth having all your eggs in one basket. Its better to have items doubled up or spread out over several ways to avoid detection. Everything hidden, in say a belt can be found and lost at one time. Having items spread over several pieces of clothing or in layers of equipment have more chance of the possibilty if one or two items are discovered then the others may skip through a search. Depending on how professional the search has been completed. For example, having several sets of keys not just one pair. Hide them in several pieces of clothing. Belt, vest, shoes etc. This also helps if your bound into a position where you cant reach your main stash of gear.

This goes the same when dealing with handcuffs. The training standard of the detainer and not the victim will determine the technique used to escape. Everyone I spoke to with a decent amount of extended use of or advanced training will double lock handcuffs when an offender has been subdued, without exception. Leaving out the use of shims that only work if the cuffs are not double locked. Someone grabbing a person off the street without any training will not tend to spend the extra time double locking especially if a victim is struggling erratically or using quality model cuffs. A shim comes in handy in that circumstance to escape quicker by slipping between the teeth of the cuffs than to try and pick a lock for example and better kept near a surface point in the seam of clothing rather than stashed in a more hidden way designed for prolonged concealment for easy reach.

If dealing with better trained personnel such as either Federal agencies or Corrections services. They will not only use more extensive search procedures but will also use two sets of two different brands of cuffs, requiring two completely different sets of keys for prisoner transfers.

The Tatonka brand belt is the only model I found with a large 300mm/12inch pouch. The others only had rather small storage areas. This belt is also designed for every day use and not as a duty belt. Coming from a security background and not a military one. Ive always used belt keepers to hold my heavier duty belt to my lighter weight under belt. This way my pants stay up. From this perspective if captured a duty belt would be the first piece of clothing/equipment removed from my person. An under belt holding up my pants has less chance of being removed.

Ceramic blades have advantages and disadvantages. They will pass through metal detectors, however most styles out there are brittle. The smaller ones offered are 1/4 the size of a standard razor blade. I have small hands and found them difficult to use. They seem designed for professionals only, that require a last chance blade that can be concealed within a seam of clothing to avade an electronic scan. Very difficult to use as a weapon. The larger stanley blades are thin and will avoid a pat down but too brittle to keep concealed for long periods of time without expecting them to shatter if any pressure is applied to where they are stored. Such as a belt which will always be bending with movement and weight applied.

The smaller wire saws are once again designed for profesional use, where they are sown into seams of clothing. Id rather buy a larger version of the commando saws and cut one down to a 12 inch length to conceal within a belt or keep a full length version and sow into the lower seam of a vest. Much easier to cut with from a civillians standpoint. Just use layers of shrink wrap as a gripping surface once the handles are removed.

Mini pry bars are more likely to be found in a search but invaluable prying open anything unless wanting to loose fingernails.The smaller model the better for concealment purposes. Three different sizes are now made. The 2″ pico for belt concealment. The 3″ micro for key ring use and the 4″ pocket for inclusion within a vest. Once again using a layering system of tools.

The ability to start a fire is invaluable, wether to provide shelter or as a diversion tactic. A compass for direction, if being dumped in an unkown location and a small light if confined within dark spaces are self explainatory.

If not using handcuffs, then the next most likely choice for a restraint are flexi cuffs. The standard sort sold in hardware stores can easily be opened with a stiff piece of wire such as a paperclip inserted between the teeth. The better made brands designed for security personel by such companies as Manadnock have a covering over the locking mechanism and require cutting off. Ive found two tools that are capable of cutting either flexi cuffs or thin rope. The first was a rescue seat belt cutter made by the Colonial knife Company. This was the smallest model I could find. However without modifing, will not fit into a belt but can be concealed within a vest or hung from around the neck. The second was an accessory tool for a SOG multi tool which can fit into a smaller area. These need to have a piece of paracord large enough to wrap around a foot tied to the eyelet to be effective. Theres no way you can cut through a flexicuff using hands only, when restrained. Removing the inner core will flatten the cordage further.

Ive discovered that I have to be the worse lock picker on the planet. Still learning that skill. The Bagota Picks require only two picks to be used, however there are small credit card types that make a great secondary hidaway within a wallet. Along with larger credit card blades made by Microtech. This once again layers your tools.

Cordage, the hardest item to come across in the wilderness, let alone tied up in the boot of a vehicle. Many uses for having a supply of line. From a fishing line to trip wires, booby traps, snares, early warning system to twisting into a heavier line to form a garrotte. 20 foot spools of twisted Kevlar can be purchased.The difference between kevlar and dacron in archery terms, are that dacron line is a 1/3 of the price for a spool and used for bow strings on long bows and recurves. Kevlar is used exclusily on compounds having a higher breaking strain. Both are thinner than paracord with the similar strength properties.

Jigglers, bump keys and door knives are the lazy mans way of getting into locks without learning the skill of picking. These are items well worth looking into. They add another layer of tools and require less effort of use with faster results.

Selecting blades for an E&E kit has several legalities and intents. Is a cutting edge only required or a weapon. Are a materials that pass through metal detectors needed. A pen that just happens to be made from solid aluminium is a legal carry although it can still be used as a kubaton. A titanium/timber chopstick is still a legal carry although it can be used as a spike. Intent would need to be proved. Small blades concealed within a belt along with other items used for E&E would need to have intent proved that they were intended for anything other purpose, even though they have the potential of severing a Jugular vein or carotid artery. A jugular carrying deozygenated blood away from the head. A Carotid carrying oxygenated to the head.

I decided against the main cutting tool made from a non-metalic material. They are primarily designed for stabbing. I do own many and carry several as a layering system, but wanted a primary blade as a cutter for removing bindings. I also found that many of the other items carried within the belt are also metal based. Carrying a non-metalic blade seemed of little use when carrying in approximation to other metallic items. These would be better suited to other hideaway locations.

Small edges such as a standard Safety Razor Blade, Atwood Micro Card, TOPS Alert 01, Titanium Dog-Tag knives are easy to conceal within a belt, around your neck or within pockets and fall into this catagory. Blades that are good for the next level up from there are the necker/boot style designs with skeletal grips to fall flatter against clothing. Such as an Emerson La Griffe, Benchmade Tether, or Mission knives titanium MPU/MBK. These are small and light enough for concealment purposes but very effective as fighters.

Tatonka TEC Belt – 42mm width with a 300mm/12inch inside storage pouch.

http://www.jpt-australia.com/utility_tac_belts.htm

Products being Tested

Nylon Universal Handcuff Key

for Smith and Peerless Cuffs (will not fit ADI Saf-Loks)

ADI Saf-Lok Handcuff key

Handcuff Shim

1�� Spring Steel Shim works most universal handcuffs. The shim slides between the ratchet and the teeth to quickly release the cuff. Works only when cuffs are single- locked.

Ceramic Razor blade

Zirconia ceramic razor blades are extremely hard, sharp, and wear resistant and can last up to 100 times longer than conventional steel blades. Black single edge razor 25 x 8 mm

Diamond Wire blade

70mm diamond wire cutting is the process of using wire impregnated with diamond dust of various sizes to cut through materials. Because of the hardness of diamonds, this cutting technique can cut through almost any material that is softer than the diamond abrasive. Cuts stainless steel, iron bars and chain.

http://serekit.com/sere_004.htm

http://serepick.com/?page_id=69

Wire Saw

http://www.kitbag.com.au/prod738.htm

Solkoa Grip-S

http://www.fast-fire.com/index.php?p=products&prod=4

Widgy Pocket Pry Bar

http://www.endtimesreport.com/survival_shop.html#Micro

Mini match Ferrocium Rod and Spark-lite

Fire Starting

The Spark-lite has less metal material in its construction and can be used one handed.

http://www.bepreparedtosurvive.com/FirestarterProducts.htm

Colonial Knife Company Rescue Hook

http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_detail.html?s=CLTCBLK

SOG V Cutter

http://sogknives.com/store/500-105.html

These are used as a substitute flexi cuff cutter. A small loop of paracord can be placed under/around a boot and used for leverage, while both hands cannot be utilized.

Bogota Pick/Rake Set

http://serepick.com/?page_id=69

Bogota Rakes

Very few of the common pick shapes around today can be traced back to an original designer, but this cannot be said of the Bogota Rakes. These picks were developed by Ray Conners based in Minneapolis, MN. These rakes have been found to be so exceptionally effective that they deserve special mention when discussing rakes. Ray has published detailed instructions on their construction so the home toolmaker can make them also. These plans can be found on a popular online lock picking discussion forum at www.lockpicking101.com.

Aside from being effective, the economy of design is quite remarkable. A set of two picks includes a Bogota Rake and Bogota Pick (modeled much like a half diamond). The handle end of each tool doubles as a tension wrench, allowing the user to be prepared to open many locks with just these two tools alone.

The Bogota Rake is best used, as Ray describes, with a �jittery motion�, as though the user had consumed too much coffee. As odd as this might sound, the rakes have been found to be strikingly effective on many common pin tumbler locks by a large number of both hobbyists and professionals alike. The rakes are particularly effective against locks with a high/low bitting � something many types of rakes cannot claim.

http://lockpickernetwork.wikidot.com/understanding-raking

Cash/Phone Card

$50 Small denominations.

Garrotte

Made from several layers of Bow string Dacron. Can be used as a garotte by adding makeshift grips twisted through the loops or as a defensive tool against a blade in the same way as a sarong for locks, throws and takedowns. Approx 18-20 inch center with 4 inch end loops. The serving or wrap can be removed to leave several metres of heavy duty dacron cordage that can be used for fishing line, trip wires, early warning system, improvised restraints, etc.

Photon Micro Light LED

Button Compass

http://www.bepreparedtosurvive.com/NavigationProducts.htm

Cordage

Kevlar spooled 20 feet

http://serepick.com/?page_id=69

Blades being tested

Micro tech Credit Card Knife

3.4″x2.1″ Titanium

To be kept in wallet.

http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_detail.html?s=MTASSCII

Atwood Micro Card Knives

�1.5″x1″x1/8th (3.5mm) S30V steel

http://www.atwoodknives.com/home/19351627.php

BK Johnson knives Medium sized Credit Card blade

�2″x1.5″x3/32″ (2mm) 01 steel

Custom Order $40 USD

http://www.bkjohnsonknives.com/

TOPS Alert#01 1095 steel

http://www.topsknives.com/product_info.php?cPath=1&products_id=1

Cold Steel FGX Nightshade Series Knives

Polymer re-enforced fibreglass, no metal present.

http://www.coldsteel.com/nightshadeseries.html

Custom Order version of a Extrema Ratio Shrapnel/CRKT Sting

Made from 10mm G10 Micarta Knife Handle Material from local knife maker

Ceramic Stanley Razor Blades

http://www.ceramicknife.org/index.html

Tops NUK

http://www.topsknives.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=nuk&search_in_description=1

Benchmade Tether

http://www.benchmade.com/products/13212

Emerson La Griffe

http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_store.html?ttl=Emerson%20La%20Griffe&srch=eqCATE%20CODEdatarq%3Dem%26eqKEYWORDdatarq%3Dlagriffe

Mission Knives MBK/MPU 4″ titanium

http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_detail.html?s=MK701

Dog-Tag Knives

http://originaldogtagknife.com/

Alternate Carry Items

Titanium Chopstix

http://www.tistix.com/cart/

Mil-Tac Pens

http://store.mil-tac.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=38

Foster Brother Saps and Jacks

http://www.mercop.com/docs/bag6.htm

Kubatons

http://www.alphainnovationsselfdefense.com/

Nok Peregrine

http://noktrainingknives.webs.com/nokperegrine.htm

Downloads

How to Escape from Smith/Peerles Handcuffs

http://www.wikihow.com/Escape-from-Handcuffs

Lock Picking Youtube

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/788366/lock_picking_for_beginners/

PDF Downloads

http://www.freewebs.com/lockwhiz/tutorialsdownloads.htm

Lock Picking 101 Forum

http://www.lockpicking101.com/

Make Your Own Lock Picks

http://www.h-i-r.net/2008/07/make-your-own-lock-picks-part-1.html

Bomb Shock Downloads

http://www.bombshock.com/lock_picking/

Links

Bump keys

http://www.bumpkey.us/

Jiggler Keys

http://www.lockpicks.com/browseproducts/Generic-Jiggler-Key-Set-(Stainless).html

Credit Card Pick Set

http://www.defensedevices.com/lock-pick-credit-card-set.html

Door Knife

http://www.defensedevices.com/quik-pik-shove-knife-door.html

Padlock Shims

http://www.defensedevices.com/padlock-shims.html

Auto Jiggler

http://www.defensedevices.com/auto-jiggler-key.html

Unique Titanium

http://www.uniquetitanium.com/

Key Screw Drivers

http://www.endtimesreport.com/survival_shop.html

Solkoa� Products

http://www.fast-fire.com/index.php?p=products&prod=4

Survival Straps Belt

http://www.survivalstraps.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=SS-BELT

Wallet Size Picks

http://www.catsdomain.com/locksmith/ls06.htm

Training

Roth Tactics and Solutions (NZ)

http://roth.yolasite.com/

ISR Matrix (Australia)

http://www.isrmatrixaustralia.com/

ISR Matrix (International)

http://www.isrmatrix.org/

Urban Survival Training (US)

http://www.readyforanything.org/

On point Tactical – Urban SERE Courses and Forum (US)

http://www.onpointtactical.com/

Jim Wagner Reality Based (US)

http://www.jimwagnertraining.com/servicesoffered.html

Edged Weapons Solutions AMOK (International)

http://www.edgedweaponsolutions.com/

Urban Operations

Urban Operations. UO are operations planned and conducted in an area of operations (AO) that includes one or more urban areas. An urban area consists of a topographical complex where man-made construction or high population density is the dominant feature. UO usually occur when�

  • ��������������������� The assigned objective lays within an urban area and cannot be bypassed.
  • ��������������������� The urban area is key (or decisive) in setting and or shaping the conditions for current or future operations.
  • ��������������������� An urban area is between two natural obstacles and cannot be bypassed.
  • ��������������������� The urban area is in the path of a general advance and cannot be surrounded or bypassed.
  • ��������������������� Political or humanitarian concerns require the control of an urban area or necessitate operations within it.
  • ��������������������� Defending from urban areas supports a more effective overall defense or cannot be avoided.
  • ��������������������� Occupation, seizure, and control of the urban area will deny the threat control of the urban area and the ability to impose its influence on both friendly military forces and the local civilian population. Therefore, friendly forces can retain the initiative and dictate the conditions for future operations.

Axe, Buck Saw and Knife within a BOB

The relationship between an Axe, Buck Saw and knife within a BOB.

By Budda

What do you carry in a BOB? An axe, a collapsible bucksaw or a large knife and how do they relate to one another in their use. I’ll first state, that I don�t claim to be an expert in cutting trees with an axe. I have cut trees for 15 years with a chainsaw and am still not an expert. (Ex-sperts after all, are drips under pressure). I have developed a talent for using a chainsaw though and have learnt a thing or two over the years.

You may not need all three items depending on the environment that you�re in. Very little use for either three, in the middle of a sandy desert and machetes are the main item of choice, for use with in a jungle. I may also find that it�s not worth dropping large branches when camping. The more work you do, the more calories are used. When on a limited calorie intake, its possible to starve by simply using more calories than you replace.

They�re usually easier ways of breaking branches than with a tool. For example; using leverage between two trees or letting the fire burn a branch in two pieces, or simply snapping a dry branch over a rock, rather than spend time trying to cut it. These can also be safer methods as well, to avoid flying pieces of timber to the face.

To cut a tree down is usually performed in order to supply large amounts of firewood in colder climates. This wont be a detailed how to cut a tree article, just how an axe a saw work in conjunction with one another. Firstly you cut the front wedge in the direction of where you want the trunk to fall, with the axe. The tree usually decides this, not you. As many may think. The way it grows, the wind direction, how many branches place weight on one side, the lean, what�s in the way of it falling, etc, etc.

The back cut can be the tricky bit. If done with an axe, there is less control of the cut and the rate of fall. By using a saw, more control is established. You�re not cutting a large wedge, just a small line to split the trunk. A saw also cuts in smaller increments. When the split is about to appear, it�s simply a matter of a slight shove and letting the weight of the tree do the rest, while you are well out of the way.

Most books also show cutting the back cut as a level cut. I always use a slight angle. I was once cutting a large tree off a double laned road that had dropped during a storm. The only part left was a trunk, 8 feet tall and between 3.5 to 4 foot diameter. I did everything to the letter, but sensed something was wrong and stepped away to grab some wedges in order to support the back cut, just to be on the safe side. As I stepped away the stump twisted 180 degrees and landed where I was standing. Not due to the cuts but the way the tree had grown and the pressure from the twist in the trunk from 500 years of growth. Something that big can fall in any direction from a mistake in the cut but not twist an entire 180 degrees on its axis. You simply have to be a few inches off with either the front wedge or back cut for anything unexpected to happen. You can�t always fix a cut half way through a job to avoid the consequences.

By doing the back cut at a slight angle, there is less chance of the tree twisting. As it needs to push against itself due to the cut. I wont go into how to adjust that angle with a bow saw. I usually alter the grip on a chainsaw slightly to achieve the correct method. I’d have to show someone in person and wouldn�t attempt to explain how to do it in an article.

After a tree has been dropped, the axe is once again used to limb the tree. To remove any branches that may get in the way. The saw is then used to cut the trunk into sections. An axe can do this as well but your cutting 4-inch sections out of a limb to make a cut. Where as with a saw you�re making a 1/8th or less slice through the branch. Less effort, less wastage of material and a safer practice. Safety is always paramount, especially in a bug out situation or wilderness environment where help can be hours or days away, let alone in the middle of a city if an artery has been severed or a major crush injury occurs.

Once the tree has been sectioned, an axe is used to split the lengths into usable pieces of firewood. This is also easier when the end cuts of the sections are level from using a saw. The inner core is dryer and you don�t need a piece of timber to burn for 4 hours when a split limb will burn down faster to make a cooking fire etc.

Where does a large knife come into play? Once again by having control of the task in hand. By using an axe to cut smaller branches for shelter building or making tools etc the head is end heavy. You have less control of the swing. By using a knife that is designed for chopping. By this I don�t mean a Rambo knife made from 440 stainless that is brittle but a blade differentially tempered from some variety of tool steel. You can gain further control of the task and tool being used. By using the tip of the blade you have more leverage, but using the start of the blade edge near the handle, called the Ricasso, you have more control of lighter cuts. The sweet spot of a blade is where the power comes from. You find this by simply using it and seeing where the blade cuts best. Approximately 2/3rds of the way along the blade.

A large knife comes into its own when chopping down smaller diameter trees for a ridge pole and supports for a lean-to and then collecting leafy branches to clad the exterior. Making tools such as spears, bows or even furniture can be made easier by using a large knife blade over a head heavy axe. Having said all that, most BOBs are designed for 72 hours and all that is needed are smaller chopping tools, enough to bring in timber for a cooking fire. The longer you plan on being self supporting, the easier and more comfortable it becomes if the tools are on hand to help do this.

Mini Survival Belt Kit

Mini Survival Belt kit

Ive had enough gear left over from various projects to attempt to make up a mini survival kit, but no matter how I tried there was no way I could compete with price in purchasing one of Doug Ritters AMK Kits when trying to purchase bits and pieces from multiple stores and then including shipping. The only items I couldnt find much use in were the safety pins and the scapel blade, but left them in anyway, as you never know. The scapel blade is atleast sanitary incase of needing to remove splinters etc from skin. It took me a while to figure out what the black nylon cord was, almost 6 months actually. Dacron bow string line. Figured it out while making up some new strings for my bow and thought Id recognised it some where before. Having strings pre-made, they look different in multiple strands as compared to a singular strand base material.

Added to the kit which is stored in a Maxpedition 4’x6″ Pouch is a McNett Frontier Filter Straw for water purification. A small Sea to Summit Pak Tap water bladder, a Photon Micro light-attached to the zipper pull and a TOPS Bagdad Boxcutter knife. I did start off with a TOPS Ferret but found I could use the boxcutter to baton with being 1/4 inch thick and assigned the ferret to my Micro Fishing Kit. A mini TOPS harpoon could be substituted for a hunting tool, but then you loose the batoning advantage.

I do have a small chisel ground D2 Adze which Im thinking of combining with the spear head to have a chopping tool seperate from a hunting tool in case of actually catching something and having it decide to run off with an impaled spear head, loosing a cutting tool at the same time. The Mcnett Filter straw removes pathogens down to 2 microns and works on a charcoal filter system. Chemical types of purification tablets have short use by dates after opening and I find leave a foul taste after using. If happening to get a hole in the bladder, chemical sytems are no longer of any use without a container to use them in. The original plastic tube included with the straw has been replaced with a piece of surgical rubber tubing. This could double as a mechanism for a snare but makes it easier to pack into a small space, being foldable.

I prefer to have a bum bag kit with a first aid module included for most hikes but atleast having something attached to a belt, it will always be on you and not left in camp. It only takes a few moments to have an accident occur and not be able to reach equipment. Im also trying to figure out how to squeeze in a refective blanket. It may fit by removing the bladder from its protective pouch, but then I loose the carrying ability of the shoulder strap.�

Spark-Lite Firestarter – current U.S. military issue, waterproof, useable one-handed, over 1000 sparkings in tests

4 Spark-Lite Tinder-Quik – current U.S. military issue, waterproof, wax impregnated cotton tinder in zip-top plastic bag, each burns 2-3 minutes

Fox-40 Rescue Howler Survival Whistle – designed exclusively for this kit, triple frequency, exceeds U.S. Coast Guard and SOLAS specifications, bright yellow with dual mode lanyard hole

Rescue Flash Signal Mirror, 2 x 3 inches (5 x 7.6 cm) Lexan polycarbonate with mil-spec style retro-reflective aiming aid for one-handed use, instructions on back, protective cover to prevent scratches while stored in the kit, lanyard hole.

20mm Survival Compass – liquid damped with groove to accept an improvised lanyard ring

Duct Tape – 26 inches x 2 inches (66 x 5 cm), rolled around plastic mandrel, repairs, first aid, the ultimate repair and improvisation component, uses limited only by your imagination

Stainless Steel Utility Wire – 6 ft. of .020 inch (1.83 m x 0.5 mm) mil-spec grade, stronger than brass, won’t get brittle in frigid cold, multiple uses

Braided Nylon Cord – 10 ft. (3 m) 150+ lb. (68+ kg) test, won’t unravel, shelter building, repairs and much more

#69 Black Nylon Thread – 50 ft. (15.2 m), 10.5 lb. (4.8 kg) test, repairs, fishing line, light duty lashing and much more

Fishing Kit – 4 x medium Fish Hooks, 2 x Split Shot and 1 x Snap Swivel, in a clear plastic vial with cap.

Heavy Duty Sewing Needle – will penetrate heavy materials, easy to grip, large eye for easy threading

4 Safety Pins – repairs, secure items to prevent loss and much more

Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil – 3 sq. ft. (0.9 sq. m), make container to boil water, reflect fire heat and much more

#2 Pencil and Waterproof Notepaper – 2 pieces 2.125 x 3.667 inches (5.4 x 9.3 cm), leave notes, memory aid, keep log

#22 Scalpel Blade – stainless steel, in sealed foil packaging, more functional than a single-edged razor blade

Kit Specific Illustrated Survival Instructions – authored by Doug Ritter, 33 illustrations, on waterproof paper, detailed, easy to understand, practical information

Contents List – viewable through pouch back so anyone can see what’s inside even if kit’s owner can no longer assist, annotated, complements Survival Instructions, can be used as tinder

Fresnel Lens Magnifier – 2 x 3 inches (5 x 7.6 cm), in protective sleeve, read small type in survival instructions if glasses lost, start fire using sun

Pocketsize Clear Vinyl Pouch – 4 x 5 inches (10.2 x 12.7 cm), 4 x 3.25 inches (10.2 x 8.3 cm) with top folded over, waterproof zip-top closure, lanyard hole, it really does fit in your pocket.

Weight: 3.9 oz (111 g) – you will barely know it is there until you need it to save your life�

Spark-Lite & Tinder-Quik: I wanted a reliable and compact firestarter. Fire is just too critical to have anything but the best that would fit our packaging limitations. Ideally, it should be able to be operated with one hand and reliability concerns precluded matches and lighters. It had to be waterproof and we needed waterproof tinder to complement the firestarter.

The Spark-Lite is the current U.S. military issue firestarter. For the military it is packed in a small plastic matchbox size box with non-waterproof instructions and 8 pieces of tinder, available in OD or bright orange. We got rid of the box, included 4 pieces of tinder in a plastic zip-top bag and added the instructions to the waterproof POCKET SURVIVAL PAK’s Survival Instructions. We selected the orange version, so it is less likely to be lost if dropped.

This is an artificial (ferrocium) flint and steel firestarter, completely waterproof. If it gets wet, just shake off the water and it’s good to go. The wax-impregnated cotton tinder is also waterproof.

One of this firestarter’s big advantages is that it can be used one-handed, unlike most other flint and steel firestarters (the Ultimate Survival Blast Match being the exception, but it is far larger and heavier, almost as heavy as the entire POCKET SURVIVAL PAK, actually). Just rotate the sparking wheel of the Spark-Lite in the direction of the arrows and get a shower of sparks. It’s not unlike using a traditional lighter; the steel wheel and a flint rod under spring pressure do the job, but it generates a lot more sparks. It is rated for hundreds of sparkings and some random samples have been tested to over 1000.

The tinder is quick and easy to use, just pull it apart some to expose the finer cotton fibers and it’s ready to accept the spark. No need to waste time and effort shaving magnesium with your knife, nor do you then have to collect the small shavings, especially difficult if it’s windy. It has an unlimited storage life and doesn’t need to be kept in sealed airtight packaging, unlike Ultimate Survival’s WetFire brand tinder. Each piece of tinder will burn for two to three minutes.

Fox 40 Rescue Howler Whistle: When we started developing this kit, it was obvious that we needed a compact whistle; there wasn’t room for a full-sized one. Too many cheap kits include insubstantial novelty whistles that don’t perform well or stand up to any abuse, not something to which you’d want to trust your life. Metal whistles can present problems in cold weather; potentially freezing to a survivor’s lips, so they were also out of the question. The whistle had to be as loud as possible for the size, it had to be robust enough to stand up to abuse and it preferably would exceed U.S. Coast Guard and SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) specifications.

There were only two possible choices available that both fit the size requirements and met my minimum standards for performance and quality, the Acme 636 “Tornado” or the ACR “WW-3 Survival Whistle.” Both performed adequately, but neither had close to the performance of a Fox 40, the best performing conventional size whistles available. For years I’ve carried in my pocket a Mini-Fox 40 with the side plates cut down, resulting in a pocket-sized whistle. However, even so modified it was not small enough for our purposes. I spoke with Foxtron, manufacturer of the Fox 40 line and discovered that they had actually considered making a slim whistle, had even done some prototypes, but the project had languished on the back burner for some time.

Timing is everything and it was the right time to ask. My query, combined with the accompanying potential of a ready market for significant quantities of the whistle, was enough to move the project to the front burner. Now, all they had to do was develop a better performing whistle at a size that would fit in the kit and for a price we could afford.

The better part of a year later I was shipped a prototype. Its performance was very close to that of the full-sized Fox-40, they got that part right. Unfortunately, for our purposes at least, they got carried away with some design considerations for the mass market that resulted in a whistle a full 3/4-inch too long for our purposes. The basic whistle wasn’t too long, just the integrated carabiner style clip that they felt would give them a marketing edge. It sure did look sharp, I couldn’t argue that, but there was no way we could get it to fit. Would they make a special version just for us that was shorter with just a lanyard hole on the end? A sub-compact version of the compact whistle?

In a not inconsequential vote of confidence in the Pocket Survival Pak, they agreed to make us a special whistle. They even managed to add the feature of a dual-carriage lanyard hole so that the lanyard can be threaded side to side for comfortable flat carry around the neck, or it can be attached through a center slot for traditional or key chain carry. Either the heavy-duty nylon thread or the braided line in the PSP will work as a lanyard.

The Fox 40 Rescue Howler is a three-chamber, triple frequency whistle with the highest decibel level of any “slim” style whistle. The tested frequencies of the prototype are:

3934.61Hz�
4087.36 Hz�
4237.93 Hz

As for loudness, when measured in the same manner to the same weighted db scale (there is no industry standard), the Rescue Howler� achieved a db rating of 110. This compares to the Fox 40 Classic and Mini-Fox 40 at 115 db and the Acme Tornado at 107 db.

Bear in mind that decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale, so that each decibel of difference is significantly more than the db numbers suggest on their face.

This is all well and good, but the true test is in the blowing and in field tests I conducted the Fox 40 Rescue Howler� was substantially louder than the Acme and ACR whistles and could be readily heard from approximately 20% further away under a variety of circumstances. That’s an increase worth blowing your horn about, if you’ll pardon a bad pun.

The Fox 40 Rescue Howler is made of tough ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) polymer in bright Rescue Yellow so it will not be easily lost if dropped.

Like all the Fox 40 designs, it is pealess, so that it is utterly and completely reliable. It instantly blows free any water if immersed and has no chamber to collect water that could freeze.

Rescue Flash� Signal Mirror: No item of gear for this kit created more challenges than the signal mirror. I was determined that the kit have a “real” signal mirror, one with a modern, mil-spec style, retro-reflective aiming aid that allows easy one-handed aiming. None of the misrepresentation, from my point of view, of calling a mirror without an integral aimer a signal mirror. Yes, any mirror can be used for signaling, using the two-handed aiming method, but so can anything reflective; they are a signal mirror in name only.

Also, no lining up a dot on your face viewed in the reflective back side of the mirror with the aiming hole either; this style aimer is awkward at best and can be difficult to use. It’s an anachronism from before there was a better technological solution. It had to be a retro-reflective aimer where all you need to do is align the “hot spot” in the aimer with the target in order to flash it.

It also had to perform well, with a signaling range appropriate to the job. Glass, the best performing material for a signal mirror, was out of the question because of its weight and fragility. It would have to be plastic, and that posed its own share of challenges.

Commercially available plastic mirrored material is, at its best, less reflective than glass, and much of it is a good deal less reflective. While the best hand-made plastic mirrors by Rescue Reflectors approach the performance of glass, even they do not equal it and each is hand tweaked for optimal performance. Each also costs more than the entire Pocket Survival Pak.

Mass-produced molded plastic mirrors, such as the Ultimate Survival Star Flash, a consumer market version of a current mil-spec mirror, are significantly less effective than glass, but their reduced performance is still adequate and it is an acceptable exchange for the benefits that come from plastic–lighter weight and virtually unbreakable. Unfortunately, the cost for this mirror was still prohibitive and, besides, they were too thick to easily fit in the kit.

Other plastic signal mirrors we examined were all deficient in one way or another. We eventually came to the conclusion that if we wanted a decent performing signal mirror that would fit in our kit at a price we could afford, we’d have to develop and produce one ourselves, offshore.

Thus began another yearlong odyssey. Numerous prototypes arrived from a number of potential suppliers in Asia, many of which were so far from what was acceptable that at times we were very nearly ready to give up in frustration. We finally received a prototype that worked, a near duplicate of an old-fashioned mil-spec glass mirror done in polycarbonate.

The only problem was that it was too thick to fit inside the kit. The next iteration was half the thickness, with the expected somewhat lower level of performance, though still quite adequate, and better than almost any other plastic mirror available. The problem was that it was so flexible that simply gripping the mirror too tightly while signaling would cause distortion that would cut down on its performance. The third time, like they say, was the charm. Slightly thicker, it was much more rigid and the performance was better, virtually equal or better than the current mil-spec mirror in signaling performance, and in a thinner package.

In field tests under less than optimum conditions (December, signaling from an urban location with less than pristine atmospheric conditions, in other words a fair amount of smog) the 2 x 3 inch (5.1 x 7.6 cm) Rescue Flash� signal mirror was visible to an observer at approximately 3500 feet above ground level (AGL) in a light aircraft from a distance of 23 miles and was readily noticeable from 2000 ft. AGL at 15 miles. From a practical perspective, this means that if you can see a search aircraft, it will be able to see your mirror flash. It also means that you can signal the horizon or a distant ridge with a decent chance that some person or aircraft you cannot see may see your signal if they are there, out of sight.

The retro-reflective fiberglass mesh in the aimer provides a bright and distinct “hot spot” for aiming. The see-though mesh makes it far easier to aim than mirrors with more obscured retro-reflective aimers, such as the ACR Hot Shot, or a solid cut-out form, such as the StarFlash.

We also tested the mirror in an environmental testing cabinet from minus 40� to 176� F (-40� to 80� C).

The double layer design ensures that the mirrored surface and aimer are protected and cannot be damaged. The instructions on the reverse of the mirror are sandwiched between the layers of polycarbonate, providing protection from being scratched or obliterated.

These instructions were tested on numerous na�ve subjects. We tried a variety of pictographs in an attempt to avoid text instructions, but found that many na�ve subjects simply didn’t get it, while the written instructions were nearly universally understood. Space limitations on the small mirror prevented us from using both.

Obviously, non-English speaking survivors would be at a disadvantage, but that also holds true for the Survival Instructions themselves, so we decided this was an acceptable compromise. We will continue to investigate alternative means of providing instructions, but for now, this is it.

Even the best aimer has only a limited range of effectiveness, so I also included instructions for aiming using the two-handed method. This allows a survivor to hit targets at higher angles off the sun or for other group members without their own signal mirror to use any reflective item as an additional improvised signal mirror.

The polycarbonate mirror face is protected to prevent scratching in storage. It can be removed and replaced so that a purchaser can practice with the mirror.

The brightly colored background on the mirror back makes it easier to find if dropped and the high contrast makes the instructions easy to read. There is also a lanyard hole for added security as the mirror is not inherently buoyant.

20mm Button Compass: As with much of the gear in the kit, we tested a number of companies’ products until we found an affordable compass that was reliable. With a 20 mm (0.79 in.) diameter, our button compass is large enough to be useful for basic wayfinding purposes. It is liquid damped for ease of use, but the magnetism is powerful enough that it reacts reasonably quickly. The groove around the midsection can accept an improvised lanyard ring made from the POCKET SURVIVAL PAK’s included wire or thread.

Test units survived numerous flights to above 10,000 ft and back down in a Cessna 182 until we were satisfied that they generally didn’t develop a bubble, one of the Achilles heels of liquid damped compasses.

The compass is stored away from the ferrous metal components of the kit (the stainless steel wire is non-magnetic). (Please note that in some early production kits the scalpel blade was incorrectly placed under the compass and the surgical stainless steel used in that blade for improved edge-holding will affect the compass to the extent that it will appear not to work when stored in the pouch

26 inches (66 cm) of 2-inch wide Duct Tape: It’s been said that if you can’t fix it with duct tape, it isn’t really broken. Duct tape is one of the most versatile items you can have on hand in many emergencies. It’s much more useful than the 3/4-inch (19 mm) electrical tape used to seal some other kits. And, unlike other pocket kits that include only 3.5 or 12 inches (9 – 30 cm) of duct tape, we include over two feet. That’s enough to be really useful, as opposed to just being able to patch a small hole or mend a small tear.

This is the same small-diameter roll included in Adventure Medical Kits’ GearAid “Go! Repair” kit and it has proven itself up to the task in the field for short-term repairs and resistant to degradation in storage from extremes of temperature (as much as any duct tape is, at any rate; we can’t work miracles). AMK assembles these rolls themselves from bulk packaged large rolls of tape. It is wound around a 1/4-inch diameter plastic tube. The grade of tape was selected as a compromise between a heavy industrial grade or mil-spec grade tape that is much thicker and would have allowed less than half as much in the same size roll and the very lightweight consumer grades that do not have as much tensile strength or as strong an adhesive.

6 ft. of .020 inch Stainless Steel Utility Wire: This is mil-spec grade safety lock wire (Type 302/304 MS20995 C 20) as commonly used on aircraft, spacecraft and race cars. It is stronger than brass wire, both in tensile strength and in resistance to fatigue, so it is less likely to break in use or in twisting. It is also less subject to embrittlement in very cold conditions. Being tougher, it can be more difficult to break if the survivor has no wire cutters (multi-purpose tool – Leatherman, etc.), so instructions for breaking it are included in the annotated Contents List.

10 ft. of Braided Nylon Cord: This braided nylon line is rated a minimum 150 lb. (68 kg) test. While some of the line we tested went as high as 205 lb. (93 kg) test, we chose to list the lower number to be on the conservative side in case suppliers change.

Poly line is cheaper, but not nearly as strong. Twisted line is cheaper, but unravels badly when cut and isn’t as strong.

50 ft. of #69 Black Nylon Thread / Fishing Line: This is heavy-duty nylon thread, not cheaper and weaker polyester. At a minimum of 10.5 lb. (4.8 kg) test, it is strong enough to double as fishing line. I’ve caught some nice sized fish using this line and the rest of the fishing gear in the kit.

Fishing Kit: The fishing kit is contained in a clear plastic vial with a press-fit cap. The fishing kit includes 4 medium Fish Hooks, 2 Removable Split Shot and 1 Snap Swivel. These are stored in a plastic zip-top bag to prevent rattles.

The decision to include the fishing gear was not easy. One could easily argue that it is relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things for a kit designed primarily to help support someone for a brief survival experience where sustenance, food, isn’t much of an issue.

In part, inclusion was a marketing decision based on the fact that most pocket kits include some fishing gear. It’s expected. And, there are plenty of hard-earned lessons in business that you ignore consumers’ expectations at your peril. When I researched what to include in my kit and how to set priorities for inclusion by surveying potential customers, a fishing kit was almost always on the list. Luckily, the cost of including fishing gear is relatively minuscule compared to almost everything else in the kit.

There is also another aspect to this. Having taken care of the basics such as medical issues, fire, shelter and signaling; a survivor is often faced with a potentially demoralizing psychological crisis–boredom. Fishing is one way to combat boredom, and again, it costs little to provide this therapeutic “escape.”

Some of this fishing gear can also be used for small game and bird snares.

Having decided to include some fishing gear, we decided to incorporate more than the one or two fish hooks commonly provided in many pocket survival kits. The assortment provides enough gear to get the job done, even if you lose a few pieces.

Fishhook size was selected to catch smaller fish within the weight range the tackle should be able to deal with. As the old saw goes, you can catch a big fish with a small hook, but you can’t catch a small fish with a big hook. But, too small is only asking to be frustrated. They are bait hooks because that’s the most likely way they will be used.

It was decided that a snap swivel should be included, despite the high cost relative to the rest of the fishing gear, as a result of advice from those more experienced than me who insist that a swivel makes for much more effective attraction of the fish when using improvised lures. It just makes sense to follow the advice of those with the expertise, so we did.

Heavy Duty Sewing Needle: Large enough to penetrate heavier materials and able to be used while wearing gloves, this needle also boasts a fairly large eye making it easier to thread. The needle is stored in the plastic vial, secured to the plastic bag of fishing gear to keep it from rattling and getting lost.

4 Safety Pins: A safety pin is often the most expedient way to repair clothing or gear. It is also useful in securing other gear so it doesn’t get lost. Instead of just a single safety pin that many kits include, and often a small one at that, we include 4 medium-large safety pins. These are also stored in the plastic vial.

(Again, I’d like to emphasize that we have taken extra precautions that the metal objects stored in the plastic vial do not rattle)

3 sq. ft. (0.91 m) Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil: Sturdier than standard lightweight foil, ours has enough substance that with care it can be used to form a container to boil water for purification purposes. It can also be used as a reflector behind a fire, to protect dry wood under a fire built on snow (if there’s no ready supply of green wood) as well as for many other purposes.

Miniature #2 Pencil and 2 pieces Waterproof Notepaper, 2.125 x 3.667 inches: Whether leaving a message for rescuers, writing yourself a note so you don’t forget something critical, or for keeping a log of your experience, it is a lot better if the paper doesn’t turn to mush if it gets wet.

#22 Scalpel Blade: First off, this is not a substitute for a real knife. The POCKET SURVIVAL PAK retail package “BONUS” Insert recommends a good knife always be carried in addition to this PSP. However, an ultra-sharp blade such as this can be very useful and it serves as a back-up for your primary blade. This stainless steel blade is packaged in sealed foil, preventing rust and corrosion. It won’t rust like the cheap single edge razor blades included in many pocket survival kits. Compared to the single edge razor blade often packed in lesser kits, this blade is more robust and has a real point and belly to the blade for more versatile functionality. The blade can be attached to a piece of branch using the wire in the POCKET SURVIVAL PAK to improvise a knife with a handle.

Fresnel Lens Magnifier – 2 x 3 inches: The primary purpose of this magnifier is to make it easier to read the relatively small print of the Survival Instructions, particularly if eye glasses or contacts are lost. It will also function as a back-up fire starter, if the sun is out.

Contents List: This list is visible through the back of the kit pouch, so anyone who picks it up will know what is included, even if the original “owner” is unable to assist. It is annotated with suggestions or instructions for use of some of the items and was written by me.

Pocketsize Clear Vinyl Pouch: At 4 x 5 inches (10 x 13 cm), this pouch is truly pocket-sized and features a waterproof zip-top closure. The top can be folded over to reduce the width to a mere 3.5 inches (8.9 cm). When sealed with the standard contents inside it will float. You can add up to 4 ounces (11 g) additional contents, double what’s there, and it will still float, even without purposely trapping additional air inside. The hole provided for pegboard display can be used to attach a lanyard for added security or alternative carry, such as around the neck. The hole will support 25 lbs. (11 kg) in tension with #15 twine before failing.

This is the same pouch Adventure Medical Kits has long used for its Pocket Medic and Blister Medic kits, among others, and is well proven in the field. The pouch is sturdy and will stand up to a good deal of abuse, but the entire kit is somewhat flexible (bearing in mind the rigid mirror that serves to anchor the kit), adding to the comfort quotient and ease of carriage in almost any pocket. It remains flexible even in frigid temperatures, we tested it to -40� F (-40� C).

The clear pouch is a compromise between the toughness of a metal or plastic hard container and the deficits they bring in comfort, bulk and cost. While it isn’t as durable as a metal or hard plastic container, the clear pouch allows the high quality contents to be seen in a retail display so there’s nothing hidden, and to also check on their condition to ensure they are all still there and in good condition. Since it can be opened and resealed (with one hand, I might add), a purchaser can practice with the firestarter and the signal mirror and there is plenty of room to add personal medications, some matches or a small lighter, or water purification tablets to name a few possibilities.

Contents list written by Doug Ritter

How to use a Star Flash Signal Mirror

http://www.dougritter.com/psp_rescueflash.htm

Where to Purchase Kits

http://www.bepreparedtosurvive.com/Survival%20Kits.htm

Belt Pouch Survival Kit

Mini Survival Belt kit

Ive had enough gear left over from various projects to attempt to make up a mini survival kit, but no matter how I tried there was no way I could compete with price in purchasing one of Doug Ritters AMK Kits when trying to purchase bits and pieces from multiple stores and then including shipping. The only items I couldnt find much use in were the safety pins and the scapel blade, but left them in anyway, as you never know. The scapel blade is atleast sanitary incase of needing to remove splinters etc from skin. It took me a while to figure out what the black nylon cord was, almost 6 months actually. Dacron bow string line. Figured it out while making up some new strings for my bow and thought Id recognised it some where before. Having strings pre-made, they look different in multiple strands as compared to a singular strand base material.

Added to the kit which is stored in a Maxpedition 4’x6″ Pouch is a McNett Frontier Filter Straw for water purification. A small Sea to Summit Pak Tap water bladder, a Photon Micro light-attached to the zipper pull and a TOPS Bagdad Boxcutter knife. I did start off with a TOPS Ferret but found I could use the boxcutter to baton with being 1/4 inch thick and assigned the ferret to my Micro Fishing Kit. A mini TOPS harpoon could be substituted for a hunting tool, but then you loose the batoning advantage.

I do have a small chisel ground D2 Adze which Im thinking of combining with the spear head to have a chopping tool seperate from a hunting tool in case of actually catching something and having it decide to run off with an impaled spear head, loosing a cutting tool at the same time. The Mcnett Filter straw removes pathogens down to 2 microns and works on a charcoal filter system. Chemical types of purification tablets have short use by dates after opening and I find leave a foul taste after using. If happening to get a hole in the bladder, chemical sytems are no longer of any use without a container to use them in. The original plastic tube included with the straw has been replaced with a piece of surgical rubber tubing. This could double as a mechanism for a snare but makes it easier to pack into a small space, being foldable.

I prefer to have a bum bag kit with a first aid module included for most hikes but atleast having something attached to a belt, it will always be on you and not left in camp. It only takes a few moments to have an accident occur and not be able to reach equipment. Im also trying to figure out how to squeeze in a refective blanket. It may fit by removing the bladder from its protective pouch, but then I loose the carrying ability of the shoulder strap.�

Spark-Lite Firestarter – current U.S. military issue, waterproof, useable one-handed, over 1000 sparkings in tests

4 Spark-Lite Tinder-Quik – current U.S. military issue, waterproof, wax impregnated cotton tinder in zip-top plastic bag, each burns 2-3 minutes

Fox-40 Rescue Howler Survival Whistle – designed exclusively for this kit, triple frequency, exceeds U.S. Coast Guard and SOLAS specifications, bright yellow with dual mode lanyard hole

Rescue Flash Signal Mirror, 2 x 3 inches (5 x 7.6 cm) Lexan polycarbonate with mil-spec style retro-reflective aiming aid for one-handed use, instructions on back, protective cover to prevent scratches while stored in the kit, lanyard hole.

20mm Survival Compass – liquid damped with groove to accept an improvised lanyard ring

Duct Tape – 26 inches x 2 inches (66 x 5 cm), rolled around plastic mandrel, repairs, first aid, the ultimate repair and improvisation component, uses limited only by your imagination

Stainless Steel Utility Wire – 6 ft. of .020 inch (1.83 m x 0.5 mm) mil-spec grade, stronger than brass, won’t get brittle in frigid cold, multiple uses

Braided Nylon Cord – 10 ft. (3 m) 150+ lb. (68+ kg) test, won’t unravel, shelter building, repairs and much more

#69 Black Nylon Thread – 50 ft. (15.2 m), 10.5 lb. (4.8 kg) test, repairs, fishing line, light duty lashing and much more

Fishing Kit – 4 x medium Fish Hooks, 2 x Split Shot and 1 x Snap Swivel, in a clear plastic vial with cap.

Heavy Duty Sewing Needle – will penetrate heavy materials, easy to grip, large eye for easy threading

4 Safety Pins – repairs, secure items to prevent loss and much more

Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil – 3 sq. ft. (0.9 sq. m), make container to boil water, reflect fire heat and much more

#2 Pencil and Waterproof Notepaper – 2 pieces 2.125 x 3.667 inches (5.4 x 9.3 cm), leave notes, memory aid, keep log

#22 Scalpel Blade – stainless steel, in sealed foil packaging, more functional than a single-edged razor blade

Kit Specific Illustrated Survival Instructions – authored by Doug Ritter, 33 illustrations, on waterproof paper, detailed, easy to understand, practical information

Contents List – viewable through pouch back so anyone can see what’s inside even if kit’s owner can no longer assist, annotated, complements Survival Instructions, can be used as tinder

Fresnel Lens Magnifier – 2 x 3 inches (5 x 7.6 cm), in protective sleeve, read small type in survival instructions if glasses lost, start fire using sun

Pocketsize Clear Vinyl Pouch – 4 x 5 inches (10.2 x 12.7 cm), 4 x 3.25 inches (10.2 x 8.3 cm) with top folded over, waterproof zip-top closure, lanyard hole, it really does fit in your pocket.

Weight: 3.9 oz (111 g) – you will barely know it is there until you need it to save your life�

Spark-Lite & Tinder-Quik: I wanted a reliable and compact firestarter. Fire is just too critical to have anything but the best that would fit our packaging limitations. Ideally, it should be able to be operated with one hand and reliability concerns precluded matches and lighters. It had to be waterproof and we needed waterproof tinder to complement the firestarter.

The Spark-Lite is the current U.S. military issue firestarter. For the military it is packed in a small plastic matchbox size box with non-waterproof instructions and 8 pieces of tinder, available in OD or bright orange. We got rid of the box, included 4 pieces of tinder in a plastic zip-top bag and added the instructions to the waterproof POCKET SURVIVAL PAK’s Survival Instructions. We selected the orange version, so it is less likely to be lost if dropped.

This is an artificial (ferrocium) flint and steel firestarter, completely waterproof. If it gets wet, just shake off the water and it’s good to go. The wax-impregnated cotton tinder is also waterproof.

One of this firestarter’s big advantages is that it can be used one-handed, unlike most other flint and steel firestarters (the Ultimate Survival Blast Match being the exception, but it is far larger and heavier, almost as heavy as the entire POCKET SURVIVAL PAK, actually). Just rotate the sparking wheel of the Spark-Lite in the direction of the arrows and get a shower of sparks. It’s not unlike using a traditional lighter; the steel wheel and a flint rod under spring pressure do the job, but it generates a lot more sparks. It is rated for hundreds of sparkings and some random samples have been tested to over 1000.

The tinder is quick and easy to use, just pull it apart some to expose the finer cotton fibers and it’s ready to accept the spark. No need to waste time and effort shaving magnesium with your knife, nor do you then have to collect the small shavings, especially difficult if it’s windy. It has an unlimited storage life and doesn’t need to be kept in sealed airtight packaging, unlike Ultimate Survival’s WetFire brand tinder. Each piece of tinder will burn for two to three minutes.

Fox 40 Rescue Howler Whistle: When we started developing this kit, it was obvious that we needed a compact whistle; there wasn’t room for a full-sized one. Too many cheap kits include insubstantial novelty whistles that don’t perform well or stand up to any abuse, not something to which you’d want to trust your life. Metal whistles can present problems in cold weather; potentially freezing to a survivor’s lips, so they were also out of the question. The whistle had to be as loud as possible for the size, it had to be robust enough to stand up to abuse and it preferably would exceed U.S. Coast Guard and SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) specifications.

There were only two possible choices available that both fit the size requirements and met my minimum standards for performance and quality, the Acme 636 “Tornado” or the ACR “WW-3 Survival Whistle.” Both performed adequately, but neither had close to the performance of a Fox 40, the best performing conventional size whistles available. For years I’ve carried in my pocket a Mini-Fox 40 with the side plates cut down, resulting in a pocket-sized whistle. However, even so modified it was not small enough for our purposes. I spoke with Foxtron, manufacturer of the Fox 40 line and discovered that they had actually considered making a slim whistle, had even done some prototypes, but the project had languished on the back burner for some time.

Timing is everything and it was the right time to ask. My query, combined with the accompanying potential of a ready market for significant quantities of the whistle, was enough to move the project to the front burner. Now, all they had to do was develop a better performing whistle at a size that would fit in the kit and for a price we could afford.

The better part of a year later I was shipped a prototype. Its performance was very close to that of the full-sized Fox-40, they got that part right. Unfortunately, for our purposes at least, they got carried away with some design considerations for the mass market that resulted in a whistle a full 3/4-inch too long for our purposes. The basic whistle wasn’t too long, just the integrated carabiner style clip that they felt would give them a marketing edge. It sure did look sharp, I couldn’t argue that, but there was no way we could get it to fit. Would they make a special version just for us that was shorter with just a lanyard hole on the end? A sub-compact version of the compact whistle?

In a not inconsequential vote of confidence in the Pocket Survival Pak, they agreed to make us a special whistle. They even managed to add the feature of a dual-carriage lanyard hole so that the lanyard can be threaded side to side for comfortable flat carry around the neck, or it can be attached through a center slot for traditional or key chain carry. Either the heavy-duty nylon thread or the braided line in the PSP will work as a lanyard.

The Fox 40 Rescue Howler is a three-chamber, triple frequency whistle with the highest decibel level of any “slim” style whistle. The tested frequencies of the prototype are:

3934.61Hz�
4087.36 Hz�
4237.93 Hz

As for loudness, when measured in the same manner to the same weighted db scale (there is no industry standard), the Rescue Howler� achieved a db rating of 110. This compares to the Fox 40 Classic and Mini-Fox 40 at 115 db and the Acme Tornado at 107 db.

Bear in mind that decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale, so that each decibel of difference is significantly more than the db numbers suggest on their face.

This is all well and good, but the true test is in the blowing and in field tests I conducted the Fox 40 Rescue Howler� was substantially louder than the Acme and ACR whistles and could be readily heard from approximately 20% further away under a variety of circumstances. That’s an increase worth blowing your horn about, if you’ll pardon a bad pun.

The Fox 40 Rescue Howler is made of tough ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) polymer in bright Rescue Yellow so it will not be easily lost if dropped.

Like all the Fox 40 designs, it is pealess, so that it is utterly and completely reliable. It instantly blows free any water if immersed and has no chamber to collect water that could freeze.

Rescue Flash� Signal Mirror: No item of gear for this kit created more challenges than the signal mirror. I was determined that the kit have a “real” signal mirror, one with a modern, mil-spec style, retro-reflective aiming aid that allows easy one-handed aiming. None of the misrepresentation, from my point of view, of calling a mirror without an integral aimer a signal mirror. Yes, any mirror can be used for signaling, using the two-handed aiming method, but so can anything reflective; they are a signal mirror in name only.

Also, no lining up a dot on your face viewed in the reflective back side of the mirror with the aiming hole either; this style aimer is awkward at best and can be difficult to use. It’s an anachronism from before there was a better technological solution. It had to be a retro-reflective aimer where all you need to do is align the “hot spot” in the aimer with the target in order to flash it.

It also had to perform well, with a signaling range appropriate to the job. Glass, the best performing material for a signal mirror, was out of the question because of its weight and fragility. It would have to be plastic, and that posed its own share of challenges.

Commercially available plastic mirrored material is, at its best, less reflective than glass, and much of it is a good deal less reflective. While the best hand-made plastic mirrors by Rescue Reflectors approach the performance of glass, even they do not equal it and each is hand tweaked for optimal performance. Each also costs more than the entire Pocket Survival Pak.

Mass-produced molded plastic mirrors, such as the Ultimate Survival Star Flash, a consumer market version of a current mil-spec mirror, are significantly less effective than glass, but their reduced performance is still adequate and it is an acceptable exchange for the benefits that come from plastic–lighter weight and virtually unbreakable. Unfortunately, the cost for this mirror was still prohibitive and, besides, they were too thick to easily fit in the kit.

Other plastic signal mirrors we examined were all deficient in one way or another. We eventually came to the conclusion that if we wanted a decent performing signal mirror that would fit in our kit at a price we could afford, we’d have to develop and produce one ourselves, offshore.

Thus began another yearlong odyssey. Numerous prototypes arrived from a number of potential suppliers in Asia, many of which were so far from what was acceptable that at times we were very nearly ready to give up in frustration. We finally received a prototype that worked, a near duplicate of an old-fashioned mil-spec glass mirror done in polycarbonate.

The only problem was that it was too thick to fit inside the kit. The next iteration was half the thickness, with the expected somewhat lower level of performance, though still quite adequate, and better than almost any other plastic mirror available. The problem was that it was so flexible that simply gripping the mirror too tightly while signaling would cause distortion that would cut down on its performance. The third time, like they say, was the charm. Slightly thicker, it was much more rigid and the performance was better, virtually equal or better than the current mil-spec mirror in signaling performance, and in a thinner package.

In field tests under less than optimum conditions (December, signaling from an urban location with less than pristine atmospheric conditions, in other words a fair amount of smog) the 2 x 3 inch (5.1 x 7.6 cm) Rescue Flash� signal mirror was visible to an observer at approximately 3500 feet above ground level (AGL) in a light aircraft from a distance of 23 miles and was readily noticeable from 2000 ft. AGL at 15 miles. From a practical perspective, this means that if you can see a search aircraft, it will be able to see your mirror flash. It also means that you can signal the horizon or a distant ridge with a decent chance that some person or aircraft you cannot see may see your signal if they are there, out of sight.

The retro-reflective fiberglass mesh in the aimer provides a bright and distinct “hot spot” for aiming. The see-though mesh makes it far easier to aim than mirrors with more obscured retro-reflective aimers, such as the ACR Hot Shot, or a solid cut-out form, such as the StarFlash.

We also tested the mirror in an environmental testing cabinet from minus 40� to 176� F (-40� to 80� C).

The double layer design ensures that the mirrored surface and aimer are protected and cannot be damaged. The instructions on the reverse of the mirror are sandwiched between the layers of polycarbonate, providing protection from being scratched or obliterated.

These instructions were tested on numerous na�ve subjects. We tried a variety of pictographs in an attempt to avoid text instructions, but found that many na�ve subjects simply didn’t get it, while the written instructions were nearly universally understood. Space limitations on the small mirror prevented us from using both.

Obviously, non-English speaking survivors would be at a disadvantage, but that also holds true for the Survival Instructions themselves, so we decided this was an acceptable compromise. We will continue to investigate alternative means of providing instructions, but for now, this is it.

Even the best aimer has only a limited range of effectiveness, so I also included instructions for aiming using the two-handed method. This allows a survivor to hit targets at higher angles off the sun or for other group members without their own signal mirror to use any reflective item as an additional improvised signal mirror.

The polycarbonate mirror face is protected to prevent scratching in storage. It can be removed and replaced so that a purchaser can practice with the mirror.

The brightly colored background on the mirror back makes it easier to find if dropped and the high contrast makes the instructions easy to read. There is also a lanyard hole for added security as the mirror is not inherently buoyant.

20mm Button Compass: As with much of the gear in the kit, we tested a number of companies’ products until we found an affordable compass that was reliable. With a 20 mm (0.79 in.) diameter, our button compass is large enough to be useful for basic wayfinding purposes. It is liquid damped for ease of use, but the magnetism is powerful enough that it reacts reasonably quickly. The groove around the midsection can accept an improvised lanyard ring made from the POCKET SURVIVAL PAK’s included wire or thread.

Test units survived numerous flights to above 10,000 ft and back down in a Cessna 182 until we were satisfied that they generally didn’t develop a bubble, one of the Achilles heels of liquid damped compasses.

The compass is stored away from the ferrous metal components of the kit (the stainless steel wire is non-magnetic). (Please note that in some early production kits the scalpel blade was incorrectly placed under the compass and the surgical stainless steel used in that blade for improved edge-holding will affect the compass to the extent that it will appear not to work when stored in the pouch

26 inches (66 cm) of 2-inch wide Duct Tape: It’s been said that if you can’t fix it with duct tape, it isn’t really broken. Duct tape is one of the most versatile items you can have on hand in many emergencies. It’s much more useful than the 3/4-inch (19 mm) electrical tape used to seal some other kits. And, unlike other pocket kits that include only 3.5 or 12 inches (9 – 30 cm) of duct tape, we include over two feet. That’s enough to be really useful, as opposed to just being able to patch a small hole or mend a small tear.

This is the same small-diameter roll included in Adventure Medical Kits’ GearAid “Go! Repair” kit and it has proven itself up to the task in the field for short-term repairs and resistant to degradation in storage from extremes of temperature (as much as any duct tape is, at any rate; we can’t work miracles). AMK assembles these rolls themselves from bulk packaged large rolls of tape. It is wound around a 1/4-inch diameter plastic tube. The grade of tape was selected as a compromise between a heavy industrial grade or mil-spec grade tape that is much thicker and would have allowed less than half as much in the same size roll and the very lightweight consumer grades that do not have as much tensile strength or as strong an adhesive.

6 ft. of .020 inch Stainless Steel Utility Wire: This is mil-spec grade safety lock wire (Type 302/304 MS20995 C 20) as commonly used on aircraft, spacecraft and race cars. It is stronger than brass wire, both in tensile strength and in resistance to fatigue, so it is less likely to break in use or in twisting. It is also less subject to embrittlement in very cold conditions. Being tougher, it can be more difficult to break if the survivor has no wire cutters (multi-purpose tool – Leatherman, etc.), so instructions for breaking it are included in the annotated Contents List.

10 ft. of Braided Nylon Cord: This braided nylon line is rated a minimum 150 lb. (68 kg) test. While some of the line we tested went as high as 205 lb. (93 kg) test, we chose to list the lower number to be on the conservative side in case suppliers change.

Poly line is cheaper, but not nearly as strong. Twisted line is cheaper, but unravels badly when cut and isn’t as strong.

50 ft. of #69 Black Nylon Thread / Fishing Line: This is heavy-duty nylon thread, not cheaper and weaker polyester. At a minimum of 10.5 lb. (4.8 kg) test, it is strong enough to double as fishing line. I’ve caught some nice sized fish using this line and the rest of the fishing gear in the kit.

Fishing Kit: The fishing kit is contained in a clear plastic vial with a press-fit cap. The fishing kit includes 4 medium Fish Hooks, 2 Removable Split Shot and 1 Snap Swivel. These are stored in a plastic zip-top bag to prevent rattles.

The decision to include the fishing gear was not easy. One could easily argue that it is relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things for a kit designed primarily to help support someone for a brief survival experience where sustenance, food, isn’t much of an issue.

In part, inclusion was a marketing decision based on the fact that most pocket kits include some fishing gear. It’s expected. And, there are plenty of hard-earned lessons in business that you ignore consumers’ expectations at your peril. When I researched what to include in my kit and how to set priorities for inclusion by surveying potential customers, a fishing kit was almost always on the list. Luckily, the cost of including fishing gear is relatively minuscule compared to almost everything else in the kit.

There is also another aspect to this. Having taken care of the basics such as medical issues, fire, shelter and signaling; a survivor is often faced with a potentially demoralizing psychological crisis–boredom. Fishing is one way to combat boredom, and again, it costs little to provide this therapeutic “escape.”

Some of this fishing gear can also be used for small game and bird snares.

Having decided to include some fishing gear, we decided to incorporate more than the one or two fish hooks commonly provided in many pocket survival kits. The assortment provides enough gear to get the job done, even if you lose a few pieces.

Fishhook size was selected to catch smaller fish within the weight range the tackle should be able to deal with. As the old saw goes, you can catch a big fish with a small hook, but you can’t catch a small fish with a big hook. But, too small is only asking to be frustrated. They are bait hooks because that’s the most likely way they will be used.

It was decided that a snap swivel should be included, despite the high cost relative to the rest of the fishing gear, as a result of advice from those more experienced than me who insist that a swivel makes for much more effective attraction of the fish when using improvised lures. It just makes sense to follow the advice of those with the expertise, so we did.

Heavy Duty Sewing Needle: Large enough to penetrate heavier materials and able to be used while wearing gloves, this needle also boasts a fairly large eye making it easier to thread. The needle is stored in the plastic vial, secured to the plastic bag of fishing gear to keep it from rattling and getting lost.

4 Safety Pins: A safety pin is often the most expedient way to repair clothing or gear. It is also useful in securing other gear so it doesn’t get lost. Instead of just a single safety pin that many kits include, and often a small one at that, we include 4 medium-large safety pins. These are also stored in the plastic vial.

(Again, I’d like to emphasize that we have taken extra precautions that the metal objects stored in the plastic vial do not rattle)

3 sq. ft. (0.91 m) Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil: Sturdier than standard lightweight foil, ours has enough substance that with care it can be used to form a container to boil water for purification purposes. It can also be used as a reflector behind a fire, to protect dry wood under a fire built on snow (if there’s no ready supply of green wood) as well as for many other purposes.

Miniature #2 Pencil and 2 pieces Waterproof Notepaper, 2.125 x 3.667 inches: Whether leaving a message for rescuers, writing yourself a note so you don’t forget something critical, or for keeping a log of your experience, it is a lot better if the paper doesn’t turn to mush if it gets wet.

#22 Scalpel Blade: First off, this is not a substitute for a real knife. The POCKET SURVIVAL PAK retail package “BONUS” Insert recommends a good knife always be carried in addition to this PSP. However, an ultra-sharp blade such as this can be very useful and it serves as a back-up for your primary blade. This stainless steel blade is packaged in sealed foil, preventing rust and corrosion. It won’t rust like the cheap single edge razor blades included in many pocket survival kits. Compared to the single edge razor blade often packed in lesser kits, this blade is more robust and has a real point and belly to the blade for more versatile functionality. The blade can be attached to a piece of branch using the wire in the POCKET SURVIVAL PAK to improvise a knife with a handle.

Fresnel Lens Magnifier – 2 x 3 inches: The primary purpose of this magnifier is to make it easier to read the relatively small print of the Survival Instructions, particularly if eye glasses or contacts are lost. It will also function as a back-up fire starter, if the sun is out.

Contents List: This list is visible through the back of the kit pouch, so anyone who picks it up will know what is included, even if the original “owner” is unable to assist. It is annotated with suggestions or instructions for use of some of the items and was written by me.

Pocketsize Clear Vinyl Pouch: At 4 x 5 inches (10 x 13 cm), this pouch is truly pocket-sized and features a waterproof zip-top closure. The top can be folded over to reduce the width to a mere 3.5 inches (8.9 cm). When sealed with the standard contents inside it will float. You can add up to 4 ounces (11 g) additional contents, double what’s there, and it will still float, even without purposely trapping additional air inside. The hole provided for pegboard display can be used to attach a lanyard for added security or alternative carry, such as around the neck. The hole will support 25 lbs. (11 kg) in tension with #15 twine before failing.

This is the same pouch Adventure Medical Kits has long used for its Pocket Medic and Blister Medic kits, among others, and is well proven in the field. The pouch is sturdy and will stand up to a good deal of abuse, but the entire kit is somewhat flexible (bearing in mind the rigid mirror that serves to anchor the kit), adding to the comfort quotient and ease of carriage in almost any pocket. It remains flexible even in frigid temperatures, we tested it to -40� F (-40� C).

The clear pouch is a compromise between the toughness of a metal or plastic hard container and the deficits they bring in comfort, bulk and cost. While it isn’t as durable as a metal or hard plastic container, the clear pouch allows the high quality contents to be seen in a retail display so there’s nothing hidden, and to also check on their condition to ensure they are all still there and in good condition. Since it can be opened and resealed (with one hand, I might add), a purchaser can practice with the firestarter and the signal mirror and there is plenty of room to add personal medications, some matches or a small lighter, or water purification tablets to name a few possibilities.

Contents list written by Doug Ritter

How to use a Star Flash Signal Mirror

http://www.dougritter.com/psp_rescueflash.htm

Where to Purchase Kits

http://www.bepreparedtosurvive.com/Survival%20Kits.htm

Longer Term Bug Out Shelters

Longer Term Bug Out Shelters�

It’s been a while since I’ve owned a tent preferring to sleep under the stars in either a swag when traveling by vehicle or bivi bag when going light weight. Using these in association with an 8’x10′ tarp or hootchie worked well for me at the time of year that I’d like to go camping. �

When I started to research bug out bags I decided, I may need to have the availability of a shelter that would provide four season protection and be large enough for long term use if neccessary . I’ve always been put off tents and all the poles and usually prefer canvas to keep down condensation. Canvas now not being an option, due to weight and bulk considerations when possibly traveling by foot or with reduced space within a vehicle.�

I have stayed in traditional Indian tipi’s/teepee and found them a great way to camp for long periods of time. You can lift the sides in summer to allow a breeze through or have a fire inside for warmth in winter. I essentially wanted to combine these elements with newer light weight materials that didn’t require as many poles. So the search began.�

It didn’t take me long on the net to find several different options. Tentipi a Swedish manufacturer, Kifaru and Golite being American and Frisport a Norwegian company, all the sites are� well worth checking out, particularly Kifaru for setting up procedures and hints. All brands make light weight tipis to suit between 4 to 16 people. �

The Golite brand was the only one that made a smaller 3 person version which was more suitable for camping by myself and actually available in Australia. Two weeks later I owned my first tipi/teepee.

The Golite Hex 3 is made from rip stop nylon that has been impregnated with silicon and only weighs 2lbs and stores in a bag smaller than a foot ball. It can be set up with or without the centre pole and comes with optional accessories of floor and interior bug net.(Length 9ft 6in x Width 8ft 2in x Height 5ft 6in). Colours available are sage/green or sun/yellow.�

I didn’t bother to order any of the accessories as I use my bivi bag in conjunction with the tipi, providing me with a bug free area for sleeping. Having no floor has many advantages. �

One of the things that have always annoyed me about tents is the amount of dirt that accumulates just from walking through the door. No problem without a floor. No cleaning up over spilt food or liquid, fire wood can be stored just inside the entrance to keep dry; a bivi bag can be pegged down without putting holes through a floor liner and less condensation. �

I generally carry a small tarp or hootchie to lay down as a staging area for my equipment. It’s generally a good idea to dig a rain gutter around the shelter when not using a floor for inclement weather. The tent pegs I have started to use for everything from hootchie’s, swags, bivi’s and now tipi’s are called twizzle pegs and essentially a T shape with a threaded end made from heavy duty light weight plastic.�

Due to the thread hold firmer in the ground and for easier removal just by reversing the procedure of screwing them in, no more hammers or difficulties pulling pegs.�

Essentially hitec tipis offer the same advantages of the originals being aerodynamic in strong winds and providing comfortable living space, but with the additional advantages of modern materials- reductions in weight, in both cover material and poles also ease of assembly.�

I’ve had to live in tents for several weeks on end as opposed to camping for short periods of time, in between housing leases. Having the ability to heat and cook under shelter in inclement weather and just to be able to stand up is a major moral booster.�

For one person in a bug out situation, I choose the Golite. This is the only brand that came in a small enough model. However for more permanent accommodation I would opt for one of the other brands, in a larger size.�

Kifaru offer 4, 6, 8, 12, and 16 person sizes in either white or coyote brown made from para-glider material.�

Tentipi offer 3 versions with slightly different features which are best to research on Song of the Paddle forums. Without being able to see them in person I can’t really comment on the differences. Essentially they come in 5, 7, and 9 person sizes. The Varrie is the top of the line model and is made in a choice of heavy duty coptol T4 in beige or lighter HT-62 ripstop in green. This is followed by the Arron made only in the beige T4 and the Vagge made in lightweight Fly 87 polymide ripstop material in green.�

The Frisport Lavvu’s come in three materials standard (polyester) and extreme (rip stop polyester) which is aluminum coated in a dark olive colour and rip stop cotton that can be set up semi permanently with an additional pole structure. There are choices of five different models depending on size.

Holleia (12-15)

Bamse (10-12)

Skogshorn (8-10)

Andersnatten (6-8)

Norefjell (4)�

In looking for a larger size that would suit more permanent accommodation and be able to house between 6- 8 people if necessary and be within my price range. The Kifaru in a 6 person coyote brown measures 14’10″x13’2″ with a height of 7’6″. In the Tentipi brand I could only afford one model in the colour I wanted. A Vagge7 measuring 14’9″ diameter x 8’10” height. The Frisport Lavvu in an Andersnatten (6-8) measures 8’5″ polygonal sides, 13′ diameter and 9’8″ height. The extreme version in rip stop is only an additional $35 EURO and 100 EURO for shipping.�

I found that Tentipi didn’t return my enquiries and of the three agents I approached in the UK were either; very expensive, weren’t interested in selling overseas or didn’t return my emails. Frisport returned my email within a day and supplied an agent (Friluftsshop) who returned all enquiries promptly. Their websites were also much easier to understand at the time.�

It came down to a personal choice between� Kifaru and� Lavvu. The Lavvu’s have more tie downs around the sides and the extreme versions are made of rip stop material, which was the clincher. After reading The Real Heroes of the Telemark by Ray Mears I figured if a tent could survive Norwegian conditions then it could survive anywhere. Since that time I am now considering a mid sized Kifaru version in coyote brown to better suit the terrain I now travel through.�


Links�

Golite

http://www.golite.com.au/

Kifaru

http://www.kifaru.net/

Tentipi

http://www.tentipi.com/

Twizzle Pegs

http://www.kitbag.com.au/

Frisport Lavvu

http://www.frisport.com/sites/produkter.asp?id=19&myActive=19&sitemod=gruppe

Friluftsshop/Lavvu

http://www.friluftsshop.dk/

Immediate Action Plan

IMMEDIATE ACTION PLAN. (IAP)

An immediate action plan is a 6 step system designed to help you stop fear from turning into panic and to give you a method of remaining in control during a confrontation situation.

MORE importantly the ‘IAP’ is a 6 step plan to keep you ALIVE in a violent street confrontation.

The IAP uses the word escape to anchor each point of the plan into your mind, remember the object of self defence is to escape intact, so use the ESCAPE Immediate Action Plan to escape and remain safe.

E EARLY DETECTION of a possible threat, if you have done our awareness development program you should to be able to do this.

S STEP BACK: if you don’t remember anything else, always remember to step back out of punching, kicking and most importantly, edged weapon (knife, screw driver, bottle etc) range.

C COMMUNICATE: Try and talk to the attacker, distract him/her, if they are talking they are not hitting, kicking or stabbing, whilst you talk continue running the rest of this plan.

A ACCESS: Continually access the situation, look for means of escape, look for help, look for weapons or barriers if you have to, keep observing the attacker, check for weapons, back up, continually access the situation.

P PREPARE: prepare yourself to either engage or escape, if you have martial art training you should be considering options of attack and defence, you should be in a stance that gives you the best chance of success.

E ENGAGE OR ESCAPE: the moment of truth time, whatever you do now, commit yourself.

To recap,

EARLY DETECTION�
STEP BACK�
COMMUNICATE�
ACCESS�
PREPARE�
ENGAGE OR ESCAPE