Category Archives: Home Defense

Kalashnikov…Made in the USA!


That news has the gunosphere going nuts. For the range of comment, you can look at this thread on Reddit — sane and sensible commentary scattered like gold nuggets in a poor vein of, well, the more usual kind of comments. But to the delight of gunnies, the main thrust of the article is that “real Kalashnikovs” will now be made in the USA. That sets the Redditors, particularly, off on jags and spasms of hope and longing for SVDs, SVD-M, Groza, Val and on and on and on…


About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

How To: Homemade Glowstick Perimeter Alarm

From Riverside |

“Every Ranger needs to know how to defend his territory and keep the camp safe.  To protect the perimeter one can go with the traditional cans on a trip wire but what if you don’t want to make a whole lot of noise and you are keeping guard for the night?  What if you want to get a look at an animal approaching or you are in the middle of an intense game of nighttime capture the flag, paintball or ghost in the grave yard? Here is the perfect solution…”


MATERIALS: Rat traps, Glow sticks, Spray paint, Twine

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

James Wesley Rawles: Homesteading, Relocation & Resilience

From | On September 28th, 2013

Full description and comments at:

James Wesley Rawles is a former US Army intelligence officer who now runs the popular prepping site In today’s podcast, Chris and Jim discuss the more practical aspects of prepping, including the frequently-asked topic of relocation (“Where should I live?”)…

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

A Few Tips on Buying Personal Body Armor

When you consider buying body armor, it’s not a luxury you are looking for, but rather a necessity. Think of the ancient times, when warriors that had to protect themselves from swords, spears, and arrows – they plainly found out that wearing some armor on them makes a huge difference. Buying body armor is quite a serious investment and you have to make your decision carefully, choosing the best body armor for your particular needs and situation. When thinking about purchasing body armor online you need to be aware of some key factors before purchase, has a range of detailed information on body armor to better expand your knowledge before buying.

In case you still do not own a body armor set, there are a few things you should consider and reflect on, before you make up your mind.


Carriers are normally made of either cloth of nylon. The materials of production vary in the way they absorb water from sweat, comfort levels, price, and the type of maintenance they demand. Also, it is a must to consider what you are going to be wearing under your body armor and for how long the armor is going to stay on you, because there are vests that may cause skin irritation and abrasion because of rubbing.

Stop Plates

Stop plates can be either soft or hard panels, which slide into the carrier’s front in order to provide the wearer with some additional protection. Make certain that the panels holding the plates are sealed with heat. This way, the panels and ballistic material – normally, Kevlar – are protected from moisture and sunlight.

Shoulder Straps

Most of the contemporary bullet proof vests have two sleeves that are either closed or connected.


As it was mentioned above, the purchase of body armor is a very serious investment and you might want to make the most out of your expense. Make certain that you always keep up with the regular schedule to clean your bullet proof vest. You may also ask the consultant about the care and cleaning requirements and guidelines.

You may also refer to the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ), where you can get any help you need. You may simply visit their website and learn more information concerning body armor, when you decide to buy a set.

Don’t Forget about Protection Levels

Speaking of the NIJ, this entity is the one that provides official ratings for bullet proof armor. People are often purchasing something without knowing the exact details about the product and other information that is meant to help making a good buy. The same is with body armor. Many people don’t know what type of body armor they should look for. They don’t even know that there are various types of body armor and other necessary information that can keep them from a useless purchase. Some of it is actually quite important.

Making your mind on the type of body armor you are going to buy is as significant as any buy you will make. Thus, some brief information will be quite helpful for you.

All bulletproof vests are classified under six protection levels. Level I is the very first level, offering the lowest amount of protection. Then the list goes up to Level IV, which is the highest protection level. You must know protection levels, because it’s the most essential factor in a body armor purchase. You don’t require a Level IV tactical bullet proof vest, if you’re simply protecting yourself from possible knife attacks, while walking through a dangerous neighborhood. Such vest would be appropriate, if you are a military person or your job demands proper protection, because of the involved risks.

One should wear body armor that has a ballistic protection level that stops at least the caliber of your service pistol. Nevertheless, there are supplementary advices associated to this. Ballistic protection levels have particular factors, including shape, composition, mass, caliber, and angle of collision along with velocity.

NIJ is the institute that researches, appraises, and develops body armor gear. Thus, make sure you learn all you need about protection levels to find the armor that will meet your everyday or special needs.

About The Author: Safeguard Armor offers a full range of body armor, from bullet proof vests to ballistic helmets. Visit us at to see what we have to offer.

10 Reasons Why Building A Community Is Key When The SHTF

By Survivor Mike | From | On July 24th, 2012

Editor’s Note: The following article from Survivor Mike at The Home for Survival details strategies for community building before and after an SHTF event. While many preppers hesitate to bring any newcomers, especially neighbors they may not know, into their preparedness circle or even preparedness conversation, as Mike suggests, making friends and plans now may be our saving grace when things go sour. Operational Security is, of course, a key consideration, but so too is how you’ll handle a post-SHTF world, especially if it’s just you and your immediate family. While we’ve found it difficult to get neighbors or even family on board with preparedness planning, opening a dialogue and getting to know your neighbors is in our best interest. As we’ve learned from several post-collapse books and resources, communities and groups that band together often have a better chance of surviving than do road warriors or those who want to stand their ground alone when looters or gangs make a move on their homes and supplies. The alternatives to not building a community could and will likely be deadly, as rather than having friends and colleagues to lean on, they instead turn on you to gain access to your supplies. This is an important conversation to have, and Survivor Mike brings to light some key talking points.

You’re living in your suburban home. CNN has just said that the stock market is dropping for the ninth day in a row and people are now racing to their banks to empty their accounts. Couple this with an unstable euro, an unstable Middle East, and a worldwide economic recession and you get the start of the shit hitting the fan. How does your neighborhood react to this? Who in your neighborhood do you trust?

Now take that a step further and imagine a state of civil unrest. Homes nearby are being looted and undesirables are now common in your neighborhood. You have a weapon, but the occupants of your home include you, your wife, and your two small children. You have a front door, a backdoor, and the garage door. How do you cover all three much less the first floor windows?

What I’ve described above is the situation you will be faced with when the SHTF. So, do you need to build a community of liked-minded folks when the shit hits the fan? I believe there are 10 reasons why building a community is key when it all goes down.

1) Strength in Numbers

Being in a suburban area, I tend to worry about what will happen if looters run amok. I imagine when the SHTF, criminals will likely run in gangs. Those gangs will target individual homes for looting and potentially seek to oust the folks living there. They would target homes with a small number of occupants to make their raids that much easier.

So, to avoid being in their crosshairs, it would be optimal to be viewed as a large group. These criminals will have quite a few homes to choose from when things get tough and there is no sense in being an easy target. Remember, giving the perception of a large force is enough to deter those with bad intentions.

2) More Hands, More Work Done

Continuing with the theme of a group, the more folks in that group, the more workers you have. Those additional sets of hands will be able to help garden, cook, pack supplies, gather water, and hunt for food. While you will have to feed and care for those extra bodies, the work you get from them should more than make up for it.

I would much rather have 5 people foraging for food and supplies versus one, as time will be of the essence.

3) Pre-planning

Knowing you’ll have a community of preppers allows you to be proactive with planning now. You can request your neighbors start preparing by gathering supplies, preparing their homes and getting their financials in order. You can even go as far as planning the homes you will use for what purpose. By having those families focus on particular areas of prepping, you can be sure you will be best prepared when the trigger event happens.

At the very least, having your neighbors prepared will prevent them from being a liability when things go south. The last thing you need is a needy “friend” eating into your family’s supplies.

4) Multiple Locations

Having multiple homes in a community provides several advantages. Besides the tactical advantage of defending yourself, you acquire additional space for supplies, including areas to prep them.

Additionally, you provide the sense of normalcy for the folks in the community. Utilizing one house as a mess hall could be a possibility. Having a house serve as a medical facility is another. You would almost be able to build a town within the community. You cannot underestimate the importance of this helping with the psychology of the group trying to survive.

5) Additional Resource Network

Your neighbors will have different supplies, different tools, and especially different skills. That alone is a huge asset when attempting to survive in uncertain times. However, the resources we don’t think about are the various contacts they may have.  They may have an uncle who owns 10 shotguns. A cousin that has an RV for sale. A friend with access to critical medical supplies.

Each neighbor will have their own network of contacts that may come in handy. Those contacts become even more valuable when things get very tough. You may even choose to join a larger group that your neighbors will have paved the way for by providing that connection.  We can be sure that we will need to be creative during difficult times.

6) More Supplies

You can never have enough supplies when chaos ensues.  Your neighbor may have several bundles of firewood he’s been collecting. Another may have a portable generator and a water filtration system. Another may have access to items very useful for bartering. Each one may have specialized tools to do things you do not.

With each person you bring into to the group, you add to your potential assets. While they will come with their own liabilities (need for food, shelter, etc), the assets and skills they bring should tip the scales in your favor.

7) Never Stop Working

When you are part of a group, you’re able to work in shifts. You are also able to continue working if one of the group gets ill. This is key when you are pressed for time in preparing supplies.

As mentioned earlier, you’ll also have people that excel in certain areas. This will allow you to accomplish things efficiently and effectively.  For example, my neighbor happens to be very good with electrical issues. If we needed to fashion something electrical, I would be very hard-pressed to come up with something effective. The time I spend working on that electrical solution would be time away from building defense capabilities, which are my strengths.  Not to mention, it would take me significantly longer.

8 ) Companionship

When the SHTF, people will have a hard time adjusting. We will be going from a life where we have access to almost everything, to a life where getting the basic needs will be a challenge. While having our families will be a crutch that we rely on, having others to share the hardship with will certainly be a comfort.

As a man I know that hanging out with my male buddies is something I look forward to. Being able to vent to the other dads in the community and husbands will be a huge release (and take a bit of the burden off my wife). Don’t ignore the importance of human companionship when facing tough times.

9) Never a Bad Thing… More Guards

Obviously, the additional folks will help defend the community. Again, the different skill sets will come into play here. Some neighbors may have experience in the military which will come in handy when defending your position.

I hear many preppers say they have so many weapons in their home that would be difficult for any looters or criminals to penetrate. However, at most you will be able to fire two guns (as you have two hands). I don’t know many people that could hit a target with two guns in your left and right hand.

Having and training additional marksmen would put you at a huge advantage. Think about it, as a criminal would you want to face an armed group or dad trying to defend his wife and two kids?

10) Scouts / Reconnaissance

Having the ability to leave your compound without fear of losing it, is a distinct advantage. There will be times when you need to go out and either hunt for food, do some reconnaissance, or simply search for supplies.  Having able-bodied men guarding your community allows you (and others) to venture out to find information and plan further.

Remember, there will be no turning on CNN to find out what’s going on down the street.  You will need to be able to gather intelligence military style.


Clearly, having more mouths to feed and more variables in the equation will be a challenge.  However, a unified front when the desperate folks come calling is clearly the best long term approach.

This article was originally posted at:

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

10 Multipurpose Landscaping Elements That Boost Security

By JJ Harrison | From | On Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Spring’s coming! While you prepare for another round of gardening and landscaping to feed your family and be more self-reliant, here’s a few insights to consider that will help you boost your security at the same time.

Hopefully, you’re going to plant edibles and homeopathic remedies rather than just fostering a pretty lawn for football. While you do so, though, here’s some multipurpose landscaping tips that will boost your security at the same time.

Please note that for this post, I’ve purposely omitted some of the more clearly-advantageous setups like standard fences and tripwires for trespasser detection since they may not serve any landscaping purpose other than security. That doesn’t mean they’re not essential, of course. These multipurpose landscaping tips are meant to assist the effectiveness of your home security plan, not to be your whole home security plan by any stretch of the imagination.

10 landscaping elements you might not’ve been using strategically:

1. Open Space

If nobody can approach your home unseen or hide in its nearby shadows, then your home is less attractive to thieves and it’s absolutely easier to defend your home and avoid being surprised. A good 30 to 50 feet of clearance is desirable, and that’ll help you defend your home against fire as well.

2. Concrete Planters

Strategically place these monolithic, decorative pots and you’ll be sure to stop or at least slow most vehicles. Alternatively, you could create foot-high concrete-based flower beds that will also stop vehicles while offering even less concealment value to intruders.

3. Trenches

Deep ditches with steep walls can also stop vehicles, but properly used serve to route excess water around your property. You could also put one directly around your home, which would make the climb into a window more difficult for possible intruders and give you firefight coverage. Just make sure you don’t create a solution where someone could be hiding out right by your front door as you approach it.

Whether done around the perimeter of your property or just right around your home, a steep trench can also give you the medieval joy of filling a moat around your house if a wildfire springs up in your area. Just remember than the fighting lads in the World Wars took cover in trenches for a reason, so don’t prefabricate an excellent defensive position for your potential enemies.

4. Hedge Rows

Hedges are an ancient, proven, and aesthetic barrier that definitely slows and perhaps even harms those who attempt to go through them. These could be done around the perimeter of the property and also along vital access routes so that all those who enter don’t have an easy way to approach from an unexpected angle. For example, instead of having easy approach to your house from all four directions, you could use hedges to block off two of them (you’d never want to block off all but one, obviously).

Shrubs immediately around your house may prevent attempts at your windows, but will also hinder your escape attempts if you need to flee through a window – so if you go that way, plan for the situation. Generally, defensive shrubs immediately around the structure itself shouldn’t be more than a few feet high because you don’t want people to be able to use them for concealment close to the main building. Something to consider, also, is that vegetation immediately around your house will encourage spider and snake populations around it.

Relatedly, trees shouldn’t be immediately around the house in such a way that they can be used to readily gain access to the upper stories.

A lot of folks don’t recommend having a thorny hedge around the perimeter of your property because it provides concealment for intruders, but that also depends on your position. For example, if the hedge is at lower elevation than your home it provides less concealment; if higher it provides more. If the edge of your property is significantly distant from your house, then this argument also carries little weight.

If you’re currently separating zones of productivity, like your animals from your garden, using regular fences, you should really read this article to see the many advantages of using a “living fence” instead:
Living Fences: How-To, Advantages and Tips

Possible candidates for defensive hedges include:
  1. Raspberry bushes, which bear edible fruit. Remember that if you plant anything that produces edible fruit, more wildlife will be attracted onto your property.
  2. Blackberry bushes, which also bear edible fruit. Both these and raspberry bushes can grow to about 10 feet in height.
  3. Hawthorn bushes, which also bear edible fruit and additionally have medicinal use. Actually, these grow to trees about 25 feet tall with a fragrant odor.
  4. Blackthorn bushes, which bear semi-edible fruit suitable for preserves and in the making of some kinds of wine and port.
  5. Japanese Rose isn’t all that multi-use, but is extremely resilient to salt, is attractive, and can grow 4 feet in height in just a year (up to about 7 feet tall). A quick solution, this plant is considered a noxious weed in the U.S., per Wikipedia. It attracts nesting birds.
  6. Trifoliate Orange bears fruit that is widely used in Oriental medicine for allergic inflammation. It is hardy in colder climates and so might be a good alternative if you’ve been pretty damn cold recently.
  7. Berberis is another thorny shrub that bears edible fruit.
  8. Oregon Grape, the state flower of Oregon, has spiny leaves and produces edible fruit. This plant also attracts birds, which some might find pleasant. It grows to about 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
  9. Firethorn produces fruit that’s edible when cooked and is specifically known for creating dense, impenetrable structures. It can reach a height of 15 feet.
  10. Osage Orange is arguably the king of protective hedges. It was widely so used before barbed wire and its wood is excellent for the making of bows and tools. This plant can also be used to make die, burns well when dried, can be used to prevent soil erosion, and produces inedible fruit that repels spiders.

I omitted the buckthorn from the above because I’m not aware of any dual usage for it.

5. More Plants

If you’re in a drought-prone region, cacti such as prickly pear (which produces edible fruit) are an excellent choice that can be made into barrier walls.

Additional candidates include:
  1. Bougainvillea vines, which are drought-resistant and could add excellent fortification to an otherwise lackluster barrier. It’ll crawl up about 35 feet!
  2. Honey Locust trees tolerate poor growing conditions. Their legumes contain edible pulp also usable for the making of beer, and the legumes themselves are high-protein cattle fodder.
  3. Mojave Yucca is a very valuable, spiky desert plant. Fibers can be used for rope and cloth, flowers and fruit can be eaten, and more.
  4. Holly gets an honorable mention since it can grow to be quite dense and difficult to penetrate along with some varieties being good for caffeinated teas. Remember just how poisonous this can be to children and pets, though.
  5. Bed of Nails has thorns that become worse after the plant dies, and produces edible fruit.
  6. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac aren’t thorny and won’t prevent trespassers unless they know what it is and care. However, since it has a slight deterrent effect and I personally find the thought of inflicting thorns combined with rashes on interlopers to be humorous, it’s dual purpose. At least for me.

I omitted acanthus and pampas grass from the above because I’m not aware of any dual usage for them.

6. Exterior Lighting

Most attempts to secretively approach a property make use of unlit or ill-lit places. You can use this to your advantage; it doesn’t necessarily mean flooding the whole property with light. Instead, make heaviest usage of your most threatening thorny bushes and cacti in spots you specifically light less than other spots, to encourage possible trespassers to attempt to access the property that way. So, well-light the ill-defended areas and leave the flesh-shredding vegetation poorly lit for people who would choose to walk through them at night without a flashlight.

The angle of your lighting is also important. If you position your lights to beam outward from your home, you’ll effectively see intruders who will themselves be blinded by the lights. If you use the standard porch-light, though, you’ll be illuminating yourself and shrouding everything else around you in darkness.

You should also remember to keep as many of your exterior lights on separate circuits as possible. Tricking them out with motion sensors and timers are cheap ways to make them even more effective. Also, you probably want to use yellow halogen or sodium vapor bulbs to minimize bug swarming around your house.

7. Gravel

Gravel is an excellent way to force people and animals to make noise as they approach. Paving all the access points may make it easier on your tires, but gravel is fairly affordable, can be attractive, and sure does crunch. If you’re not going to put something painful under your windows, gravel at least makes approach noisier.

8. Kennels

On warm nights, let the dogs sleep outside. Right by an entryway, where someone would have to pass the sniff test.

9. Beehives

Obviously, beehives provide both security and food. Vigorous bee activity may by itself scare off some possible intruders, and you could always rig the hives to be collapsible from a distance in case you wanted a swarm on call. Talk about a nice Swiss Family Robinson style surprise.

10. Pond or Swimming Pool

Bodies of water, if deep enough, are an obvious benefit in delaying or stopping both vehicular and foot traffic. Another possible pleasant benefit of a standing pond or pool is your insurance company may lower your fire coverage if the firemen have a readily available source of water near your home. Between the two, a pond is obviously preferable for a prepper since it can support a fish population.

Unfortunately, though, standing water is also a great way to breed mosquitos and other unpleasant insect populations. People sometimes say the fish will eat the bugs – and that’s true, but they won’t get all of them.

Pure Security Considerations

Home security is a very large topic, but here’s a few ideas for things exclusively in that area that you can do fairly cheaply:

  1. Tightly space the concrete-filled posts you use for chain-link fences if you want them to offer some vehicle resistance.
  2. Consider your space in terms of ways for people to easily and quickly get in and out without being seen. This is what thieves are looking for.
  3. Remember that it’s been recommended by police that you don’t block off view or sound of your home from your neighbors, since that isolation can encourage people of ill intent to attempt to access the property and prowling thieves sometimes specifically look for high fencing. Likewise, although we all like our privacy, you need to keep an eye out for your neighbors. If you decide to go against this one, you most definitely need to consider tripwires or other early warning systems specifically for security.
  4. Don’t overlook the simple sign as an elegant deterrent. The danger of a dog bite and advisement that the premises is monitored by security cameras are complications intruders before the SHTF probably don’t feel like dealing with.
  5. Plan to replace sliding glass doors and large expanses of windows, if you have them. For the smaller windows, you can apply a hardening film to prevent them from shattering and/or you could consider adding storm shutters.
  6. Consider getting a hardened, exterior door for usage in the part of the house your family will retreat into if necessary. Most doors inside homes are flimsy and hollow-core, useless for anything more than a second’s delay to anyone who doesn’t care about breaking them. Both internal and external doors should open outward rather inward and have hinges on the inside, to make forced entry more difficult.

This article was originally posted at

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

Wyoming Lawmakers Propose Bill To Nullify New Federal Gun Laws

By Charlie Spiering | From | On Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Wyoming lawmakers have proposed a new bill that, if passed, would nullify any federal restrictions on guns, threatening to jail federal agents attempting to confiscate guns, ammunition magazines or ammunition.

The bill – HB0104 – states that “any federal law which attempts to ban a semi-automatic firearm or to limit the size of a magazine of a firearm or other limitation on firearms in this state shall be unenforceable in Wyoming.”

The bill is sponsored by eight Wyoming state representatives ad two state senators. If passed, the bill would declare any federal gun regulation created on or after January 1, 2013 to be unenforceable within the state.

In addition, the bill states would charge federal officials attempting to enforce a federal gun law within the state with a felony – “subject to imprisonment for not more less than one (1) year and one (1) day or more than five (5) years, a fine of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or both.”

The bill also allows the Attorney General of Wyoming to defend a state citizen from any prosecution by the United States Government.

One of the bill’s co-sponsors, Wyoming State Senator Larry Hicks, told The Washington Examiner that this type of legislation sends a message to the federal government in Washington D.C.

“It says that your one size fits all solution doesn’t comport to what a vast majority of the state believes,” Hicks explained in an interview.

Citing the Tenth and the Second Amendments, Hicks asserted that the legislation was Constitutional, adding that he fully expected it to pass in the Wyoming state legislature. Hicks said that his Wyoming constituents were upset about the looming threat of gun control coming from Washington, particularly since Vice President Biden signaled yesterday that President Obama was willing to issue an executive order to tackle the gun issue.

“They are very, very upset that we’re going to see some level of federal takeover of our weapons and abuse of our rights given to us by the Second Amendment,” Hicks stated. “Also that the federal government will bypass our legislative officials and confiscate our weapons through executive order. This gives citizens of the Western United States a great deal of concern.”

Rep. Kendell Kroeker, the lawmaker that spearheaded the bill, explained that he hoped that the federal government would recognize their constitutional rights based on the Tenth and Second Amendments.

“I think that its necessary when the federal government violates our rights in the Constitution we have to act,” he explained.

The proposed legislation has recieved a overwhelmingly positive response from their constituents, according to the bill’s sponsors, even from citizens of other states.

Kroeker said that since he introduced the bill he has received up to 50 emails from constituents thanking him for standing up for their rights.

“Most of the feedback that I have received is very encouraging,” explained State Rep. Mark Baker, a fellow co-sponsor. “Many citizens from other states have contacted me stating that they are envious of our state’s initiative.”

Kroeker said that he currently owns several handguns, rifles, shotguns and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle – the model targeted by gun control proponents.

“People in Washington tend to overreact,” Kroeker said. “They try to place blame on gun owners punishing in the innocent to pay for the crimes of the guilty.”

Hicks explained that the model of the bill was taken from a bill passed in the State of Montana in 2009 adding that it wasn’t much different from what he’d seen other states do.

“I don’t think this is controversial in Wyoming at all,” he added. “I fully expect this bill to pass.”

This article was originally posted at

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

AL Department Of Homeland Security Releases “Run Hide Fight”

By Alabama Department of Homeland Security | From | On Saturday, December 29th, 2012

The department has these suggestions for how to act and what to do in an active shooter event:

DISCLAIMER: An individual must use his/her own discretion during an active shooter event as to whether he/she chooses to run to safety or remain in place. However, best practices for surviving an active shooter event are listed below.

REMEMBER: Law Enforcement’s first priority is to confront and disable the threat.


Awareness and Preparation: Take time to understand your surroundings and environment before an emergency occurs.

Ask yourself, “What if?” questions and develop a plan.


Make a decision, trusting your instincts, to take action to protect yourself to survive the situation. You generally will have three options:

Run: Can you safely escape?

Hide: Is there a good place to hide?

Fight: Will you take out the shooter?


If you can and you deem it safe, get out and get to a safe place.

You will have to rely partially on instinct.

Leave belongings behind, but take your cell phone if it is handy.


Find a hidden location.

Find protection behind furniture if possible.

Find a room that locks if you can.

If possible, close and lock the outside door to the room. Blockade the door with furniture or other heavy objects.

Close the blinds, turn off the lights, remain quiet, silence cell phones, spread out away from other individuals, and move behind available cover.

Stay on the floor, away from doors or windows, and do not peek out to see what may be happening.

Make a plan with others in the room about what you will do if the shooter enters. Make a total commitment to action and act as a team with others.

Do whatever is necessary to survive the situation.

If possible and safe to do so, report the location of the assailant.


Drop to the ground immediately, face down as flat as possible. If within 15-20 feet of a safe place or cover, duck and run to it.

Move or crawl away from gunfire, trying to utilize any obstructions between you and the gunfire. Remember that many objects of cover may conceal you from sight, but may not be bulletproof.

When you reach a place of relative safety, stay down and do not move. Do not peek or raise your head in an effort to see what may be happening.

Wait and listen for directions from Public Safety and/law enforcement personnel.


An individual must use his/her own discretion about when he or she must engage a shooter for survival.

Make a plan as to how you will survive the situation.

Make a total commitment to action and act as a team with others if possible.

Do whatever is necessary to survive the situation.


Warn others.

Help others escape.

Keep others away from the danger area.

Help the injured.

Help others stay calm.


Call 9-1-1 to report the appropriate authorities. Do not assume that someone else has reported the incident. Be persistent; phones may be jammed.

Calmly identify yourself and your exact location. Remain calm and answer the dispatcher’s questions. The dispatcher is trained to obtain the necessary and required information for an appropriate emergency response.

If safe to do so, stop and take time to get a good description of the criminal. Note height, weight, sex, race, approximate age, clothing, method and direction of travel, and his/her name, if known.

If the suspect is entering a vehicle, note the license plate number, make and model, color, and outstanding characteristics. All of this takes only a few seconds and is of the utmost help to the responding officers.


When law enforcement reaches you, do not run at them or make sudden movements.

The priority of the first responders will be to identify the shooter. Law enforcement will need to ensure that you are not the shooter.

Do not scream, yell, point, or wave your arms.

Do not hold anything in your hands that could be mistaken for a weapon (including cell phones).

Be quiet and compliant.

Show the officers your empty hands and follow their instructions.

Give the number of shooters.

Give the location and physical description of the shooter.

Give the number and types of weapons.

When it is safe to do so, you will be given instructions as to how to safely exit your location.

For the most part I agree with the instructions given here but only for those active shooter events when there are no options for civilian firearm intervention (i.e. in a “gun free” zone).

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

AR15 / M4 / M16A2 & Mechanical Zero With The 25m Target

By SafeArmsReview| From

Because of the vertically arching travel of the 5.56mm NATO round, it is common to use the following procedure to zero your “carry-handle equipped” AR-15 using the following procedure established by the US military.

This video was originally posted at

Printable zeroing targets for download can be found at:

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

How to Use a Flashlight in a Tactical Situation

By Brett & Kate McKay | From | On November 7, 2012

It’s late Friday night and you’re walking to your car after a fun evening with your friends downtown. As you turn the corner down an unlit side street, you see a shadow dart across the wall and hear footsteps. The hairs on your neck stand straight up. You quicken your pace, but the other footsteps speed up as well. You look around trying to make out shapes in the dark, when out of nowhere a fist connects with your cheekbone. The sucker punch takes you to the ground and you can feel your wallet being taken from your back pocket.

Before you have time to react, your assailant has disappeared back into the cover of darkness.

You really could have used a flashlight.

If you’re like me, you typically think of flashlights as something you keep in your kitchen drawer in case the power goes out, or as what you bring along on an infrequent camping trip so you can find your way back to the tent after you take a middle-of-the-night leak. But according to Mike Seeklander, firearms and tactical trainer with Shooting Performance, a flashlight is something every man should have with him at all times. I met Mike over at the US Shooting Academy here in Tulsa to go over the ins and outs of using a flashlight in a tactical situation. Here’s what he told me.

What Is a Tactical Flashlight?

In today’s post we’re not talking about just any old flashlight. We’re talking about tactical flashlights. What makes a flashlight tactical? A tactical flashlight is simply a flashlight that’s been designed for tactical (i.e. military or police) use. Many tactical flashlights are designed to be mounted to a weapon for low-light shooting. They’re typically smaller than traditional flashlights, emit much more light, and are made of weapon-grade aluminum for maximum durability. While tactical flashlights are designed primarily for military and police units, as we’ll see below, they’re also a really handy everyday and personal defense tool for the average civilian.

Why Every Man Should Carry a Flashlight

Before we even get into the tactical and self-defense uses of a flashlight, let’s talk about why you should start carrying one even if you don’t plan on using it to thwart would-be attackers. Next to a pocket knife, a small, tactical flashlight is one of the most useful and versatile tools a man can have in his Every Day Carry kit.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in a situation where a flashlight would have been handy, but I was left stumbling in the dark. Take the other day for example. I was trying to fix a connection on our TV’s audio output, but I couldn’t see a thing behind the stand. So I had to go rummage around my house looking for a flashlight. I could have saved myself about 15 minutes if I simply had a small flashlight tucked in my pocket along with my knife.

And as the residents of the Eastern seaboard learned firsthand last week, electrical power can go out at any time and for long periods. Having a flashlight on you can save time and toe stubs as you navigate about your darkened apartment.

And, besides helping you fix wire connections or navigating your home after a power outage, a flashlight can also be used as an effective self-defense tool.

Flashlights: The Most Underestimated Tool for Personal Defense

If you use a handgun as a personal defense weapon, a flashlight is vital for low-light shooting. Not only does it help you to identify your target, but it also allows you to see your gun sights in the dark. Even if you don’t carry a gun for personal defense, a flashlight, when used correctly, can be very handy in tough situations. (We’ll talk more below about using a flashlight when armed or unarmed.) They can be taken into places like movie theaters or airplanes where guns are banned, and are great for men who live in countries with strict weapons laws, but who still want to carry something for personal defense.

There are two important self-defense functions that a tactical flashlight serves, plus one bonus use.

Helps identify threats. Attackers often use the cover of darkness as an advantage. A bright flashlight can help identify threats in a low-light environment and eliminate the advantage of an attacker stalking in the shadows. Simply shining a light on a bad guy can be enough to get him to take off.

Momentarily disorients attackers. Have you ever had a bright light shined in your eyes when it was dark outside? You probably felt disoriented and even blinded for a bit. You can take advantage of that natural reaction to bright light to defend yourself against would-be attackers.

Whenever you encounter a possible threat, shine your flashlight directly in their eyes, or as Mike says, “dominate their face.” Your assailant will likely reach his hands up to his face and experience three to four seconds of disorientation and semi-blindness. That gives you enough time to either flee or attack.

Bonus use: Improvised weapon. Some tactical flashlights have a serrated or toothed bezel. Manufacturers advertise these specialty bezels as a tool that can be used to break car windows in an emergency. But according to Mike, breaking a window with a small, tactical light is easier said than done. “Me and a bunch of Military Special Operations personnel tried for hours to break a car window with the toothed bezel of a small tactical flashlight. We never broke it.”

While the bezel on a tactical flashlight isn’t going to break windows, it can be used as an improvised striking device during an attack. After you’ve shined the light in your attacker’s eyes and disoriented him, strike his face with the toothed bezel as hard as you can. The motion should be like stamping him with a giant rubber stamp. 

Mike says to be careful with the toothed bezeled flashlights when flying. He had one taken away by a TSA agent because it was deemed a “striking tool.” When in doubt, put your flashlight in your checked bag.

Which Flashlight Is the Best Flashlight in Tactical Situations?

So a tactical flashlight is a great self-defense tool. Which one should you get? There are literally nearly 100 different models on the market. The one you choose will typically come down to your budget and personal preference. But here are a few things you should look for when selecting a tactical flashlight for everyday carry:

  • Small. You want something small enough to carry in your pocket every day. Your flashlight should be no bigger than the size of your palm.
  • At least 120 lumens of light output. For a flashlight to be an effective self-defense tool, it needs to be bright enough to disorient attackers. Anything less than 120 lumens just won’t get the job done.
  • Simple. There are flashlights on the market that have strobe or SOS functions, or flashlights that allow you to change the brightness of your light output depending on how many times you push the on/off switch. While many tactical flashlight users swear by these features, Mike recommends keeping things simple. You don’t want a flashlight so complex that you have a hard time using the primary feature (bright light) when you really need it. A simple on/off switch should do the trick.
  • Waterproof. You want a flashlight that will work in ALL situations. Get a flashlight that’s waterproof so it will work even in the rain or other wet conditions.
  • Ruggedly constructed. Your flashlight will likely see a lot of action, so get something that will withstand the use. Look for one made from hard anodized aluminum. It’s a tough, yet light metal. Also, make sure the metal on the flashlight is machined so that it’s easy to grip. You don’t want to drop your flashlight when you need it most.
  • LED or incandescent? Mike prefers LEDs because in his experience incandescent bulbs break easily when dropped while LEDs can withstand a beating. Incandescent bulbs also aren’t very energy efficient. You’ll burn through bulbs and flashlight batteries faster than you will LED bulbs.

How to Safely Maneuver in a Dark Space With a Flashlight

When you hear something go bump in the night and you think that something might be armed and dangerous, there’s a particular way you want to maneuver in a dark space when using your flashlight to maximize your safety. Here’s how to do it.

Try the light switch first. If you’re in a low-light environment, your first step should be to simply turn on the main light source if it’s convenient and safe to do so. Don’t be like the forensics teams on CSI. The more light you have, the better.

Of course, there will be situations when turning on the main light source is impossible — you’re not near the switch, electricity is out, you’re outside, etc. In that case you’ll need to use your flashlight. But if you suspect there’s an attacker nearby with a weapon, you’ll need to use your flashlight in a certain way to keep yourself safe.

Light on, scan, light off, move. When you’re maneuvering in a low-light environment and believe there’s an armed attacker nearby, you don’t want to leave your flashlight on the entire time. That just makes you an easy target. Instead, follow this sequence:

  • Light on
  • Scan environment. Look for threats.
  • Light off
  • Move
  • Repeat
When maneuvering in a low-light environment, don’t leave your flashlight on the entire time. That just makes you an easy target. Instead follow this sequence: turn light on, scan, turn light off, move.

Your threat will likely shoot at or attack where they last saw the light from your flashlight. By turning off your light and then moving, you’ll increase the chances that you’re not standing where your threat is going to shoot or attack.

How to Use a Tactical Flashlight When You’re Unarmed

Even if you don’t carry a firearm, you can use a small flashlight to defend yourself from a would-be assailant. Whenever you encounter a threat, shine the light on his face, and dominate his eyes. The bright light will cause momentary blindness and disorientation, giving you enough time to flee or engage your attacker. If you don’t have any combatives training or if you don’t know whether or not your threat is armed, your best option is to flee. No need for the macho stuff; living is manlier than having your gut poked through with a knife.

If you must engage your attacker, a quick, hard hit to the face with the toothed bezel on your tactical flashlight should incapacitate him enough for you to get away. Low, hard kicks to the groin or knees are also effective in this situation as he won’t be able to see them coming with the light shined in his eyes.

How to Hold a Flashlight When Using a Gun

If you use a gun for personal defense, you’ll definitely want to learn how to manipulate and fire the weapon with a flashlight. According to FBI statistics, the likelihood of having to use your weapon in a low-light situation is much greater than that of using in broad daylight. While weapon-mounted lights and night sights both serve a purpose when using a gun in a dark environment, both have downsides as well. The big issue with weapon-mounted lights is that because the flashlight is mounted on your gun, you have to point your gun at the object you want to illuminate. Not very safe. The problem with night sights is that while you can see your sights so you can align them, if it’s too dark (and you don’t have a flashlight), you can’t see the target and whether he/she/it is actually a threat. Plus, night sights can be pretty dang expensive and might not be in your budget.

When used in a certain way, a small, tactical flashlight can allow you to safely assess your situation without pointing your gun at a non-threat (solving the issue with weapon-mounted lights) and you’ll be able to see your sights and your target without dropping a big chunk of change (solving the issues with night sights).

Below, we’ll first take a look at the techniques Mike doesn’t recommend using when carrying both a flashlight and a gun, and then explain the method he prefers.

The Disadvantages of Two-Handed Flashlight-Gun Techniques

The first two-handed technique for holding both gun and flashlight involves holding the flashlight in front of you with your non-dominant hand, while resting your gun-holding hand on top, as seen in the left-side image above. You’ll oftentimes see this technique being done on cop shows. The second two-handed approach is called the Rogers technique. The Rogers technique is a modification of the normal shooting grip with the flashlight trapped between the first and second or second and third finger of your non-dominant hand, as seen in the right-side image above.

While Mike thinks both grips have some merit, he also believes each has some downsides that compromise your safety and the safety of others when using a firearm in a low-light situation.

The big downside of both two-handed techniques is that if you want to shine a light on something, you also have to point your gun at that object or person. While you may be practicing good safety measures by keeping your finger off the trigger, you have to accept the risk that you’re pointing your muzzle at a potential non-threat, like your kiddo or your weird neighbor.

Moreover, two-handed techniques may leave you vulnerable to a head strike. With both hands holding the gun and flashlight, you have no way of protecting your head from a swing from a hidden attacker.

Another issue Mike has with two-handed techniques is that, with the exception of the Rogers technique, none of them really offer any decent recoil control over one-handed shooting.

Finally, if you’re not careful, it can be easy to activate your gun’s magazine release when using a two-handed technique.

Mike’s Recommendation: The Eye Index Technique

Instead of a two-handed shooting technique, Mike recommends and teaches a one-handed approach that he calls the “Eye Index Technique.” The Eye Index Technique is a modification of a gun/flashlight technique taught to Federal Air Marshals called the “Neck Index.”

To perform the Eye Index Technique follow these steps:

1. Hold your tactical flashlight in your non-dominant hand so that the light is by your eye. This serves two purposes. First, the placement of the flashlight here will illuminate not only your target, but also your gun sights. You need to see both in order to hit your target. Second, having your hand up by your head like this offers you protection from any head strikes that might come your way.

2. Extend your gun hand out. Because you’ll be firing with just one hand, you’ll need to modify the way you hold the gun for recoil control. Grip the gun tighter with your dominant hand than you would if you were firing with two hands, yet ensure that your trigger finger remains as relaxed as possible. Your thumb should be angled up slightly to ensure that there’s equal pressure on the rear back strap of the gun. Don’t extend your arm all the way out. Leave a slight bend in your elbow. This will help keep your arm behind the gun for recoil control.

3. Turn your flashlight on. If you’re holding the flashlight in the correct place, the light beam should illuminate your gun sights as well as any target you engage in. Scan and assess. Turn off the light and move. When you engage a threat, dominate his face and use the time that he’s disoriented to assess the threat level and make your choice on how to proceed.

4. If you want to shine a light at a person that isn’t a threat, bring the gun to your chest in a one-handed, high ready position. By having your gun close your body like this, you prevent it being taken away from you by an attacker you can’t see.

As with all firearms techniques, consistent training is key. It’s especially important if you’ve never done one-handed firing. If you have an outdoor gun range that’s open when it’s dark, take advantage of that. Even if you don’t have access to a low-light gun range, you can and should practice firing your gun one-handed while holding a flashlight with your non-dominant hand.


Big thanks to Mike Seeklander at Shooting Performance. If you have a chance, I highly recommend you take a class from Mike. Fantastic teacher who really knows his stuff. If you can’t make it to one of his classes, pick up his latest book Your Defensive Handgun Training Program. Mike lays out a detailed training program on how to use a handgun in defensive situations. I just got my copy and I can’t wait to get started with it.

Illustrations by Ted Slampyak

This article wqs originally posted at

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.