I work in counter human traffic (CHT), running street operations in “the Q,” Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here, the season on traffickers is open all year long, and there is no bag limit. Just don’t step up to the line dry (1).
My current self-preservation posture is best described in my statement to my boss, words to the effect of, “Boss, I’m going to spend some money. I want to put as many things between my fists and my gat (2) as possible on the street.” I said that much to the delight of my boss and our task force founder, as shootouts could prove to be fatal to the longevity of his CHT task force.
My current carry loadout
- Dagger: personal protection, Benchmade. This is used for close-in fighting when fisticuffs just won’t answer the mail. It is sharp, sturdy, easy to conceal, and very easy to hold on to. Not effective against crank tweakers (3).
- A stun gun: 50,000 volts output, used to temporarily render an opponent incoherent and stupid, unless the opponent arrived already stupid, then he will simply remain stupid, the stun gun notwithstanding. Not effective against crank tweakers.
- A telescoping combat baton: Formerly termed the “NBC stick,” I prefer my own variant, the BBC (Better Be Cool) stick. It provides just a little more standoff than the dagger or stun gun; it issues out a proper ass-whipping. Not effective against crank tweakers.
- A whole can of whoop ass: The wicked ickiest pepper spray on the face of the planet. Aerosol spray, hatefully nasty. Provides ~15 feet of standoff. Not effective against crank tweakers.
- Glock 17, chambered in 9 x 19mm Parabellum, and ~50 rounds. Pretty effective against crank tweakers.
- Spikes Tactical ST-15 and ~120 rds of 5.56 x 45mm ammunition. Very effective
against crank tweakers.
- Truck: Ford F-150 pickup moving at high speed on calculated collision course. Very, very effective against crank tweakers.
- Screaming like a girl. Not really effective against anyone or anything. Mostly an
unintentional reactive irritant on my part. Most crank tweakers are already doing this when encountered.
- Patience. I am in no hurry to escalate an altercation, and transition begrudgingly from one defense medium to the next. Except for pepper spray, my favorite. I blow through a can of wicked nasty in less than a day sometimes. It’s just way too handy and convenient. I’m actually pretty much an out-of-control ass when I carry it.
Them: “Yo, yo, yo…bro, why you be hangin’ ‘round here? You a cop?”
Me: “Not a cop, but I am doing this. PSHHHHHHHHHHT! (Sound of pepper spray
firing.)” They get a nose full right away.
Them: “I’m sorry, sir, you can’t park here.”
Me: “Yes I can. PSHHHHHHHHHHT!”
But then there is the ass part I can be with ye ol’ can-o-pepp:
Them: “Good afternoon, sir.”
- Meaning don’t come to the firing line at a shooting range without any ammunition. Don’t get caught underprepared.
- Gat from Gatling gun: a pompous term of respect and admiration for a small arm
- Crank tweaker: an unfortunate addict of methamphetamine in the throes of the high.
Feature image courtesy of the U.S. Army
When last I checked, over 1.2 million people had made the extraordinary commitment to bum rush a government facility with a storied history of testing some of America’s most advanced military aircraft. The SR-71, U-2 Spy Plane, F-117 Nighthawk and many more can trace their lineage back to test flights over the dry bed that was once Groom Lake, but in the minds of many, that doesn’t serve as quite enough justification for a secretive airstrip in the middle of the Nevada Test and Training Range. As far as they’re concerned, the government is sure to have something more nefarious… even out of this world… locked away in Area 51’s expansive hangars.
Of course, if you’re among the few human beings out of that 1.2 million that clicked “going” on a Facebook page that actually intends to make the trek out to Area 51, there are a few things you should know first: 1) the U.S. Government is authorized to use lethal force in many places that don’t house alien spacecraft (like if there’s a chance a crowd of idiots are going to gain access to a dangerous weapon system like a fighter jet). 2) The U.S. military is exceedingly good at killing idiots that are stumbling through an open expanse of desert. Anybody would be. It’d be like an episode of The Walking Dead. 3) It’s worth reminding one another that the troops stationed on the Nevada Test Range that these “raiders” would be throwing themselves at are regular Americans like me and you — not nameless bad guys in an Area 51 video game.
Okay, now that we got that all out of the way, you might still be pumped to start packing your Area 51 Raiding Party Pack. So here’s what you need to make sure to bring:
Hydration: Carrying a water purification or filtration set up is always a good idea, but in the unforgiving deserts of Nevada, you’ll be hard pressed to find any water to filter or treat. That means you’re going to have to carry your hydration on your person, and depending on how long you expect to be out raiding, that means carrying a lot of water, so I recommend the CamelBak M.U.L.E. It’ll carry 3 liters of water, which means almost enough for one day’s walk in the desert. You might want to stow some extra water bottles in your pack too.
Tourniquets: In the event Area 51 security decides to deter your advance the good old fashioned way (with bullets), you’re going to want at least four tourniquets on hand. Why so many? Because that’s how many limbs you’ve got, and if you’re lucky you won’t take any round to the chest. I recommend the SWAT-T Tourniquet for proven reliability and performance. In fact, you might want to grab a few spares for your buddies that come under-equipped.
Adult diapers: Now, I already hear what you’re saying: “I don’t wear diapers!” Well, you’ll want to start. If a raid on Area 51 actually did occur, the U.S. Air Force would likely engage the crowd with a wide variety of non-lethal weapon systems, and I don’t just mean rubber bullets (though they would be extremely effective). It seems likely that they would employ some sound-based weapons that were purpose built for riot control, like the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) Sound Cannon. Forget taking rounds to the chest — stand in the way of this thing for too long and you’ll probably end up shitting your pants.
A satellite phone: Chances are good that your service will be terrible out in the middle of nowhere, Nevada, but you’re going to need some way to communicate with your mom so she knows when to come pick you up. That’s where the satellite phone comes in. Use this baby when you realize the “raid” you signed up for is actually a mass gathering of dweebs with no real plan, resources, or even goals to accomplish. Once the people in the crowd realize that they didn’t all vote for the same candidate (in the last presidential election or the last season of American Idol), the in-fighting is bound to ensue. The only thing Americans hate more than the government telling them they can’t see their aliens is literally everything else about one another.
When the crowd turns on you over whatever the trending outrage of the day may be, you’ll want to dial your mom’s digits and coordinate an EXFIL as quickly as possible.
Feature image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
The U.S. Army has been playing an active role in the preparation, rescue, and recovery efforts following natural disasters like hurricanes for years. Now, with large storms seemingly battering our nation’s coasts more frequently than ever, they, as well as a number of other federal agencies, have begun releasing information aimed at helping ensure you’re as prepared as you can be for the next major storm.
This guidance, prepared by James Dean, the contingency planner with the Fort Stewart Directorate of Plans, Mobilization and Security at Fort Stewart, Georgia, has three simple tips that he believes will help ensure your safety, as well as the safety of your loved ones.
“Have a plan to evacuate; have a kit to support your family and pets for three days and stay informed,” Dean offered as advice before reminding all service members and civilians alike that September is National Preparedness Month and that it pays to be proactive, particularly for those living on the East coast.
“Most of the year, we’re in hurricane season — from May through November,” Dean said. “This is the height of the hurricane season. Most hurricanes happen in the Atlantic August and September.”
In the Army release, Daryl Lusk, safety specialist with the Fort Stewart Safety Office, also chimed in with his own advice, which he says he’s gained through a combination of real life experience and the training he’s received working for the Army. His recommendations were sourced from FEMA’s hurricane training:
- create an emergency supply kit
- ensure vehicles are fueled up and serviceable
- store loose items around the house such as hoses and grills
- follow local directions from the local authorities.
Military personnel are also reminded to maintain open lines of communication with their chain of command, in order to ensure overall force accountability. For civilians, that serves as good advice as well, but include family, rather than formal command structure, in your notifications.
Other advice offered by the Army’s specialists included unplugging appliances before evacuating your homes, bring a minimum of three days’ worth of any prescribed medications with you, and, of course, “Take your pets with you,” Lusk said.
If you find yourself evacuating with pets, be sure to bring a pet carrier or crate, as some shelters will not permit entrance to pets without one.
Ready.gov is a government-funded national public service campaign that offers advice on how best to prepare for different situations. Much of their advice parallels that of the Army’s release, but they offer a bit more detail into what you should maintain in your hurricane kit. Per their website, a basic disaster kit should always include the following:
- Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
You can get many of these items and much more delivered right to your door with a subscription to the Crate Club.
While you can consider that list to be the bare necessities, Ready.gov does go on to include another list of things you should be sure to have in your home as you prepare for the possibility of extended power outages, flooding, or having to remain in place as you wait for rescue:
- Prescription medications
- Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
- Glasses and contact lens solution
- Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler’s checks
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Be sure to keep your storm preparation kits in a readily accessible place in your home, and if you are preparing for the possibility that you may need to evacuate, assemble a three-day “go bag” using these lists as your guide – or one of these articles written by experts in doing exactly that.
Do you have everything you need to prepare for the worst? If not, check out CrateClub.us to shop for gear in the AirDrop store, or sign up for their crate service to get hand picked gear delivered to your door each month!
Image courtesy of the NOAA
From the earliest days of mankind, one of the few things that separated our particular breed of big-brained monkey from the rest of the competition in the wild was our ability to harness light, in the form of fire. Fire, of course, was paramount to our success as a species for a number of other reasons: it provided heat, safety, and a means by which to cook calorically dense meat, reducing our constant need for foraging… but light freed us from our fear of the dark. Our ability to illuminate the shadows removed the predatory advantages of the animals that stalked us after sundown. That ability to see threats coming where we otherwise couldn’t often meant the difference between life and death – for individuals, and for the species.
If you ask me, out here in the woods of Georgia, not much has changed.
I didn’t always carry a flashlight with me as a part of my EDC. In fact, I spoke to a number of guys when I first started with SOFREP who recommended it, including former Navy SEAL and our company founder, Brandon Webb, all who said a good flashlight was an important part of anyone’s loadout… and disregarded their suggestion. In my mind, a flashlight was the type of stuff gear-guys carry around because it’s a good idea, but not necessarily something so integral I shouldn’t leave home without it. If you’ve followed my writing for a while, you may have noticed that I have a bit of a thing for admitting when I’m wrong – it’s important that a man is willing to do so, in my opinion – and this is one of those times.
I turned the corner while touring Tytan Tactical’s new prison facility in Eatonton, Georgia last summer. The sprawling complex was still raw after years of sitting empty at the time, and I suppose I should have expected to need more light than my iPhone could provide. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only guy on that tour – and two gentlemen, one hailing from CAG (Combat Applications Group, also known as Delta Force) and another from some alphabet agency who were along for the trip too, swiftly produced small flashlight from their pockets that put my iPhone to shame. Where I had been struggling to stumble my way through the darkness, they illuminated entire hallways. Then and there, I told myself I’d incorporate a good quality flashlight into my journo-kit forever more.
What started as keeping a flashlight in my pocket when heading out on work trips quickly turned into never leaving the house without one, however, as I came to find that flashlights come in handy on a regular basis. My driveway is far enough from my front door that our porch lights don’t quite cut it. Any time there’s ice around, I leave the car first and make my way to the passenger side, where I can use my little light to keep the ground well-lit for my wife – something that’s even more important now that one of us is usually carrying a baby. When working on my car, I don’t have to go searching for a light in my disorganized and scattered collection of tools, I just pop my little flashlight out of my pocket.
Of course, these aren’t the reasons you carry a flashlight, really, these are the side benefits, the perks, if you will. I carry a flashlight for two very important reasons, and they’re both purely defensive.
First and foremost, a bright flashlight can serve as a powerful deterrent to opponents in a dark area. Like the predators stalking our ancestors, illuminating the darkness can often be enough to dissuade a potential opponent’s approach, as it’s clear they won’t get the drop on you and that you’re situationally aware enough to engage them. If knowing you see them isn’t enough to send them packing, however, blinding them with your light can provide you with a serious advantage. They can’t see what you’re doing behind that bright beam of light – whether it’s drawing a weapon or looking around you for any other encroaching threats. They know where you are, but not what you’re doing, as long as you keep the light trained directly at them.
However, where the light really comes in handy from a defensive standpoint (if you ask me) is when coupled with another part of my EDC: a concealed firearm. Depending on the situation, I’m usually either carrying my modified Glock 19, or a just about bone stock Ruger LCP. The Ruger isn’t my favorite gun in the world, but it’s got a small footprint, a decent caliber, and fits well within my budget. While I do have a tactical light for the rail of my Glock, that light tends to stay at home when I’m concealed carrying – again, for the sake of keeping the firearm inconspicuous when tucked inside my waistband.
If you spend enough time in the woods of Georgia, far enough away from civilization to wonder about the threat a wild animal may pose, but close enough to it that your primary concern is still ill intentioned human beings – having a powerful flashlight can help you identify a threat and put rounds on target in a way you simply can’t when guessing in the dark. The frightening profile of a person 15 meters out might mean you harm – or it might be the guy from down the street looking for his lost dog – the light helps you decide. If he turns out to be the bad guy you feared he was – the light continues to come in handy as you eliminate the threat.
It’s been about six months since I started carrying a flashlight with me every day – and in that time, I haven’t had to use it to defend myself once, but then, that is the best case scenario. My flashlight, my knife, my pistol, these are all dual purpose tools: their primary function is, of course, to wound or kill an opponent – but their secondary function is their role in the presence you cultivate by being a person with strong situational awareness and a means to defend yourself. You carry yourself differently, you see the world differently, and in turn, the world sees you differently too.
You are not an easy meal. You bring light to the darkness, and if need be, death to those waiting within it.
You’re the type of big brained monkey that survives.
Originally published on SOFREP and written by
Of course, we all know there’s no such thing as an “all in one” survival kit, especially when we’re talking about something compact enough to stash in the glove box of your car, but the folks over at the Crate Club know their gear, and they managed to jam this small survival kit with 12 handy tools that might be just what you need to get yourself out of a jam.
There are lots of great pieces of gear on the market today, but even the best gear can’t help if it’s sitting in a pile in your garage. Effective gear needs to strike a balance between capable and comfortable–because as much as we all hate to admit that we might be a bit soft from time to time, if a piece of our kit starts gnawing away at our love handles or weighing us down through the day, chances are it’s going to get stowed.
That’s where these handy 12 in 1 Survival Kits come in handy. You can stick one under the seat of your car, stash one in your go bag, or just about anywhere else that could fit two packs of cigarettes. This kit isn’t going to be your primary survival loadout. Instead, it’s all about getting you of a bad situation without cramping your style in the mean time.
Here’s a full list of what the kit includes:
- 1 x 5 in 1 Paracord bracelet
- 1 x Emergency thermal blanket
- 1 x Flintstone
- 1 x Multi-function scraper
- 1 x Tactical steel pen
- 1 x Tactical torch LED flashlight (AA battery not included)
- 1 x Compass
- 1 x Portable mini light
- 1 x Tactical Military Knife
- 1 x Swiss card
- 1 x Whistle
- 1 x Water-resistant and shockproof case