Friday, January 27, 2017

Per the Militia Act of 1792, essential gear to defend home and community

So, assuming you haven't run off to report me to the NSA after my last article in which I fleshed out the Militia Act of 1792, and you buy into the idea that each of us is intended to act as a component of the armed citizenry to defend our properties and communities....what exactly do you need?

Prices vary wildly, I'll try to give some realistic numbers along the way and point everyone in the direction of some vendors.  A lot of the gear I use is available on Amazon (just about everything is these days) and I will be posting links as I go. 

A.  Rifle - A rifle, in my mind, is an absolute starting point for preparedness.  Some may think that an odd choice that I didn't default to a handgun, but a rifle presents much greater combat/defensive capability than a handgun.  Greater power, more magazine capacity, greater range, etc.  My preference is for a magazine fed, semi automatic rifle of fairly common design in the interest of attaining parts and ammunition.  What exactly you choose beyond that is a personal decision.  Personally, I prefer AK designs, while much of the community prefers AR's.  In either case, I recommend a minimum of 5 magazines, preferably 10 (they are wear items, and require occasional replacement), 1000 rounds of ammunition (more is better, but not so much that you can not effectively transport or carry it), and a minimum of spare parts you may require for normal operation.  One could also opt for either a lever action, or even a bolt action rifle if preferred, though I would recommend you plan for a cartridge that makes sense for your situation.  Longer ranges/flatter country may favor a bolt action in a full power cartridge like 308 Win, while swamp or brush may favor a lever action chambered in a heavier caliber less likely to be disrupted by brush and foliage.  Whatever your chosen weapon, plan on having at a minimum a good cleaning kit, cleaning rods, and lubrication.  A decent rifle can survive and operate with minimal cleaning (get the carbon and grit out, the barrel shouldn't require constant cleaning) but will not tolerate a lack of lube for very long.  Price: Realistically, expect to spend $700+ just for the rifle, perhaps slightly less used (but prices have been very robust), factor another $300-$500 for magazines and ammunition.

B.  Sidearm/secondary weapon - Why have a handgun if you have a rifle?  The military has said time and again that the handgun exists to fight your way to your rifle.  It is not unheard of, much less uncommon, that you may have to temporarily drop or sling your rifle, and in that instance an immediate attack can be responded to with a handgun until your primary weapon system is available again.  Also, I have seen tests done that demonstrated conclusively it is certainly more timely to drop your rifle and transition to your sidearm rather than reload if under fire and cover does not present itself.  Also, if in a situation where carrying a rifle would draw unnecessary attention to one's self, a concealed handgun is a definite option. Price:  $350 is about the lowest I can recommend you budget, as that is where the reliability and price lines tend to intersect.  $500 budget for a good sidearm would be better, factor another $200-$300 for magazines and ammo.

C.  Personal gear - I lump everything but the above into this broad topic.  Anything you need to support yourself, or your weapon system, is personal gear.  I hesitate to call it anything else because, depending on your unique situation or environment, it is drastically subject to change.

  1. Plate carrier w/ armor plates - If survivability is high on your list, mobility is lower, and stealth is non-existent, a plate carrier with armor plates should be on your list.  A minimum of Level 3 plates (level 4 offers protection from armor piercing rounds, something uncommon in most situations, and it is heavier) would be my recommendation to provide protection from all common handgun rounds and rifle rounds up to 308 Winchester. CATI Armor Sentry Package
  2. Tactical Vest/Chest Rig - Sacrificing the armor plates allows you to drop down to a smaller, lighter, more flexible chest rig or tactical vest.  You gain mobility, especially useful if you are on a long range patrol or bugout, at the expense of extra protection.  Let the situation and environment dictate this choice, and do not discount the fact that you can shed almost half the weight of a typical armor system by taking the steel plates out. Amazon: Chinese milsurp chest rig
  3. Magazine pouches - Whether you keep just your primary ammo on your vest, or secondary as well, having extra magazines is a given.  More retention will mitigate the possibility of a magazine becoming dislodged and lost, but slow down reloads. Amazon: Condor Mag Pouches
  4. First Aid - My Medical 101 podcast went through a lot of the items I recommended for a "blowout kit" or individual aid pouch.  Tourniquets, chest seals, abdominal pads, etc. should all be considered. Amazon: R.A.T.S. Tourniquet
  5. Hydration - Either a hydration bladder, or a couple of military surplus canteens on a pistol belt, would be a consideration again if you are planning to be on patrol.  Even an hour wearing full armor and carrying a rifle is going to encourage perspiration, especially in a hot climate.
  6. Amazon: Condor Tidepool Hydration Carrier Olive Drab
  7. Belt/War Belt/Pistol Belt - Personally, I prefer for my sidearm and secondary ammo to be on my belt, while my hydration bladder is on the back of my plate carrier.  In the future, I may move my med kit to my belt as well.  The idea is to put the essential equipment you CAN NOT live without on your belt that is not coming off ever, and to have your armor vest be something you can shed quickly with your primary weapon if you are out of ammo OR speed becomes your primary consideration.  Think about a hot extraction or evacuation where you are abandoning a fight and speed and mobility is your only consideration.  You want to keep the bare minimum on your person, and ditch all the weight you can.  A belt allows you to set up a two tiered layer of equipment that is much more difficult if EVERYTHING is on your plate carrier.  Also, your lower back will thank you if you are able to shift weight from your shoulders to your hips.
  8. Amazon: Elite CO Shooters Belt with Cobra Buckle, 1.5", Black, Medium
  9. Knapsack/Pack - An old military surplus ruck sack, your leftover Jansport from high school, or any rugged and reliable pack with padded shoulder straps would be a welcome addition if you are on an extended patrol.  Food, water bottles, extra ammo, maps, admin, communication gear, any and everything not immediately necessary to render individual aid or fight should be in here.  Extra points if the pack has some sort of quick release straps so that you can immediately drop the pack on engagement to shed weight.  Note, I do not recommend you put ALL of your water or ammo in this pack.  People can live for days without food, you are going to be in severe trouble very quickly without water and ammo.
  10. Amazon: Condor Compact Assault Pack (Black, 1362-Cubic Inch)

In the near future, please keep an eye on the YouTube channel for upcoming content where I discuss and provide a visual for a lot of these items and concepts.  Also, I'll be having an audio podcast with a like-minded acquaintance of mine to discuss the merits of the militia, and it's application in today's age.  Please subscribe and consider supporting the channel to help me keep this content coming.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day thoughts, protests vs riots

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/matteroffacts/episodes/2016-10-07T17_12_28-07_00

Today, as I sit here and watch the news, I thought it important to reemphasize what I said in Episode 13 - Civil Unrest. I'm sitting here watch the presidential inauguration, watching a peaceful transition of power between political parties, something that is noteworthy because many other countries do not manage such a feat without bloodshed. Indeed, for our foibles and missteps, this country has celebrated over 200 years of peacefully held elections and cooperative transfer of power. 

I also see the riots, RIOTS, in Washington DC protesting our new president. These selfish, spoiled, immature people are breaking windows and RIOTTING because their chosen candidate was not elected. They cite their RIGHT to protest as justification, but like I said before; flipping cars, breaking windows, and burning down a neighborhood are not protests. 

Everyone please be safe and support our LEO community while they wrangle control of these bad apples, and let us insist on a peaceful and orderly inauguration. Let us also respect the rights of others to disagree with us so long as they do so peacefully and respectfully. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Why a citizen needs _____________.

Often, I am asked why I espouse the need for people to have firearms in their home.  I am asked why I own body armor.  I am asked why I make it a point to have gear that many people would associate more with a fighting person of our military than with a common citizen.  The Militia Act of 1792 states:

That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this Act. And it shall at all time hereafter be the duty of every such Captain or Commanding Officer of a company, to enroll every such citizen as aforesaid, and also those who shall, from time to time, arrive at the age of 18 years, or being at the age of 18 years, and under the age of 45 years (except as before excepted) shall come to reside within his bounds; and shall without delay notify such citizen of the said enrollment, by the proper non-commissioned Officer of the company, by whom such notice may be proved. That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack.

A few items to point out.
1.  EACH and EVERY able-bodied (redacted in an effort to modernize) citizen....who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five - Every able body citizen that one would reasonably expect to be of fighting age.  That's mandatory, not a suggestion.

2.  That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide HIMSELF with a good musket or firelock...... - The citizenry, that was legally compelled to join the militia, was expected to provide themselves with a musket.  Just so we're clear, this is drastically different than the modern National Guard in which you are issued a weapon which is maintained by the Guard, not kept in the home by the citizen.

3.  ....sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch...... - This would be the 18th century equivalent of having a plate carrier with armor, magazine pouches, spare parts for your firearm, etc.  You were expected to have the gear required to make your weapon effective and allow you to act as a combatant.

4.  ....twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle.... - You were expected to keep a minimum amount of ammo.

5.  ....and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service.... - When a situation would appear that required the militia, composed of average citizens carrying their personal arms and equipment, to muster itself each citizen was expected to show up with his or her gear and prepare to fight in the common defense.

Now, in this modern 21st century age of standing armies and police forces throughout our country, one could almost be forgiven for assuming this antiquated law is a throwback.  Except it isn't.  The reason for the Militia Act of 1792 was then as it is now; to legally codify the express expectation that the common man act in the defense of their community, and that they arm themselves as appropriate.  So, while some may debate the militia verbiage within the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, this law signed into effect not long after the Constitution's ratification makes fairly clear the expectation that the common citizen act in their own defense using firearms and equipment THEY THEMSELVES own and maintain custody over.

Please share this far and wide, and let us continue to remind ourselves and each other, in particular our more skeptical countrymen, that the private ownership of firearms is now as it always was a basic function of being a United States citizen.  Please feel free to comment or contact me if you would like to discuss this further. - Phil Rabalais

Prepping on the move? Leverage your strengths.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by an international listener that works as a "digital nomad."  Think of it as a lifestyle in which you travel the glove working from a laptop completely mobile.  Not having a stable place to store gear and provisions (as I often recommend) he presented me with a relatively unique set of challenges, though challenges that many other people encounter for periods of time.

In a previous career, I used to work on the road about six months out of the year.  Half of my months were spent living in a hotel, out of a suitcase, hundreds of miles from home in many cases.  Had I all the preps in the world, I was similarly to my listener cut off from them.  So the question was posed, how does one prep for a disaster (currency crash, natural disaster, civil unrest, etc.) without a permanent base of operations or if substantial distance from that base.  My answer was to carry enough hard currency, in this case precious metal in lieu of paper money, to bargain one's way out of the effected area and back to the relative safety of his family's homes in the US.  Having had more time to ponder the situation, I have considered how I would have reacted if a disaster had occurred while I was working out of state, and how I would have made my way home.

I feel that any time we are away from our homes, one should have a backup plan to return home with all available haste should the situation require it.  In many cases, this can be easily facilitated via several hundred dollars in a savings account to purchase a one way plane ticket home.  Alternatively, a rental car could be pursued.  If one has a vehicle, having expendable income to fund the fuel expense is viable.  In any case, the goal is to return to one's home residence while avoiding any area in which a disaster makes travel hazardous or more difficult.

In the unique situation of a currency collapse, in which the local governing body's paper money essentially devalues itself to zero, hard currency and precious metal will hold some value for a short period of time.  In the event of a more long term or wide spread disaster, precious metal would also devalue itself as food and basic provisions become more scarce.  If you find yourself away from home and a disaster strikes, your goal is to put distance between you and the disaster in the rough direction of your home with all available haste. 

The short answer to my listener's question is that there are no concrete examples to base a scenario on, and no universally good solutions.  A cautionary note about carrying food and water on your person will provide some short term relief, but in a long term disaster situation securing transportation away from the affected area has to be priority number one as the situation will worsen, and the ability to travel decrease, the more time passes.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Home defense; when is enough enough?

Is that necessary?  Why do you need?  Why don't you just call the police?  Scary black rifles?  I need my safe space.

These and plenty more are what I hear when I talk to some people about home defense.  I have said, and I will stand behind my statement, that the average person could make do with an affordably priced handgun, one spare magazine, and 200 rounds of ammunition.  If you google the statistics for home invasions and violent crime (in your particular area) I'm sure you would find on the average even this is more than necessary.  Indeed, the vast majority of us will never see violence in our lifetime short of what we expose ourselves to through the media and full contact sporting events.  But, what about those of us that do?

Below I will post links to two stories of home invasions by multiple aggressors that resulted in the deaths of all (or all but one) of the families that resided at the target locations.  In THOSE situations, the formerly overkill handgun with one spare magazine is woefully inadequate to deal with multiple, determined, armed assailants.  Now, I will be the first to admit these are rare situations, but this entire show is about preparing for rare situations.  The term to acquaint yourself with is "low likelihood, high consequence."  In other words, it probably will never happen, but if it does the outcome will be life threatening.  An attack by multiple intruders is, by definition, high consequence.  If they are attacking with multiple vehicles in the driveway, lights on, daylight or around dinner time they are doing so EXPECTING to find homeowners.  If they attack during work hours, when the home is largely abandoned, this is a much less worrisome situation because MY FAMILY is not in the line of fire.

So, having admitted this is an unlikely but very serious situation, I admit my home defense plan and preps appear over the top to the average person.  Body armor, a black rifle, and a trauma kit all seem like the hallmarks of paranoia, not a response to the reasonable concerns of a father and husband.  But, were my last name Petit or Freeman, I doubt anyone would be calling me paranoid.  Follow the links, and ask yourself if what you have prepared would be sufficient for those scenarios.  There will be videos on YouTube and an audio podcast in the coming week fleshing out this topic more.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheshire,_Connecticut,_home_invasion_murders

http://www.walb.com/story/28262217/new-arrest-in-sumter-co-double-murder

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Matter of Facts now on Blogger

With me continuing to become more active, I felt a blog would allow me to have a little more organized landing pad for the show than Facebook currently allows for.  Nothing is changing, just another avenue for people to find me.