Winter (and Hurricane Matthew) Are Coming.

“When you’re you’re prepared for the zombie apocalypse, a hurricane is just another storm”

Yeah, so this might be headed our way.


Not that worried. We have hurricane shutters if we need them, and we also have a month’s worth of freeze-dried food, bottled water (and a WaterBob as well), flashlights galore and all kinds of other gear.

Unless our home is ripped from its foundation and lifted up into the aether, we should be ok.

Tactical Hipster.

Speaking of trauma kits, the one I’ve been carrying around is a little bit on the bulky side. Yes, I can conceal it under a t-shirt, and although it looks like the iPhone case it really is, it prints like a son of a gun. While no one as pointed and laughed at me yet, I’d like to have other options for carrying around the stuff that might keep might keep me alive.

In addition to this, I’ve started using an iPad Air with keyboard as a surrogate laptop, and I need a way to carry it around with me on my daily travails.

And so here is my new man-purse European carry-all tactical hipster messenger bag.

Tactical Messenger Bag

I was going for “Indiana Jones“, but at my age, I’ll settle for “old guy trying to look cool but failing.” Look for a complete rundown in a few days as I assemble all the various bits and pieces that will go in it.

Quick, Simple, Cheap.

REALLY like this fast and easy way to make an improvised tourniquet in the field, courtesy of the late, great Paul E. Gomez.

We’ve gotten so used to having disposable tissues on-hand everywhere we go that we forget just how useful a handkerchief really is. I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying one in my back pocket no matter where I am, and with two young sons, it’s come in handy a number of times already. No, a handkerchief in a pocket is not sterile, but they’ll die of blood loss LONG before they die of an infection from an unsterile tourniquet. I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying around a tourniquet, but I’m backing that up with a handkerchief as well.

Taking Terrorism Seriously.

I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile, and I’m glad to see it making it to the air. This is a “Must Watch” for anyone who (legally) carries a gun and is worried about the very real increased threat of home-grown “lone wolf” terrorism.

Michael Bane has said that his experience on the “After Armageddon” show on BBC/History is what shaped the special, and if it’s anything like that (which was very well-made), this will be one for the ages.

The Mass Casualty event will show on Outdoor Channel on September 28th at 8:30, with an encore presentation on November 1st. Better still, the longer, more in-depth “Director’s Cut” will be up on My Outdoor TV in the next few weeks or so.

Product Review: Sunjack 14w Charger +1400maH battery

Sunjack 8w + 1400mah battery charger

I was recent sent a Sunjack 14w solar charger with an 8000maH battery for review*. I was looking forward to getting this kit and doing this review because I believe that the modern smartphone is an essential part of starting safe, and a smartphone (and some way to charge it) is an essential part of your “bug out” gear, and I’m pleased to report the charger and battery did not disappoint.

The Sunjack 14w Charger +1400maH battery is a great option for creating power to keep your smartphone up and running without connecting it to the power grid. About the same size as an iPad and weighing about as much as a large paperback book, it differs from cheaper solar chargers in that it charges a battery which then charges your phone.

Charger and battery outdoors

When the SunJack charger first arrived, the battery was half-charged, so I drained completely by recharging my iPhone with it and then plugged it into the charger and left it outdoors for 8 hours. I should note that I live in Florida and it’s the middle of hurricane season, but despite the partly cloudy skies, eight hours was enough to fully charge the battery. The fully-charged battery took two hours to recharge my iPhone 6+ from 10% charge to fully charged. The battery can also be charged up via a wall socket and a (not included) wall charger, and I found it that to be a faster way of recharging it than sticking it out in the sun (albeit one that only works if you have a working wall socket nearby).

chargingIf you’re like me (and I know I am), you rely on a smartphone for so much more than making phone calls. I’ve loaded up mine with useful things like an emergency radio scanner, a ballistics app and an e-book reader, so my phone is pretty much always by my side. I found the SunJack 8w+1400maH battery/charger to work just as expected, and it’s now a “must have” accessory for me if I leave the urban wilderness for something even more untamed. If there’s one thing I’d change about it, I’d ask them to toss in an iPhone Lightning-compatible cable with it along with the micro-USB cable it comes with, because, well, because iPhone, that’s why.

You can pick up the SunJack battery and charger at Amazon or on their website:

* Dear FTC, NSA, FDA and TVA: I’m putting in this sentence here because you want me to, but seriously, I say that this was sent to me “for review” right in the first paragraph. Do I have to rub your nose in it, like a puppy that needs to be potty-trained?

Pocket Protection.

There’s some really interesting ideas in this post from 2007 by noted terrorism expert John Robb.

“Cities have long maintained centralized police forces, but gangs can often overwhelm them. Many governments are responding with militarized police: China is building a million-man paramilitary force, for example; and even in the United States, the use of SWAT teams has increased from 3,000 deployments a year in the 1980s to 50,000 a year in 2006. But militarized police may too easily become an army of occupation, and, if corrupt, as they are in Brazil, they may become enemies of the state along with the gangs.

A better solution involves local security forces, either locally recruited or bought on the marketplace (such as Blackwater), which can be powerful bulwarks against small-group terrorism. Such forces may become a vital component in our defense against bioterrorism, too, since they can enforce local containment—and since large centralized services, like the ones we have today, might actually accelerate the propagation of bioweapons. Still, if improperly established, local forces can also become rogue criminal entities, like the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia and the militias in Rio de Janeiro. Governments need to regulate them carefully.”

I agree. A decentralized threat like terrorism or other non-government violent actor demands a decentralized response. Not only does it cost less and allows for more freedom, we know it actually works. The modern smartphone is nothing if not a decentralized and networked communication device, and we have other options for staying safe in an unsafe world that don’t require an often painfully slow response from state-approved “first” responders.

More thoughts on this over at

Upon Further Reflection…

  1. Cars break down.
  2. Cars have a tendency to break down at night.
  3. In really weird places.
  4. Where there’s no shoulder.
  5. So why don’t you have road flares (or reflective triangles) and a reflective vest in your trunk?

You DO know how to change a tire, don’t you?

And while I don’t recommend you go out looking for a fight, if you do find yourself in some place when carrying around an AR-15 in the open makes a lot of sense, I’m thinking that a reflective vest sends a clear signal to the other good guys out there that you’re on their side.

Call it a “Don’t Shoot Me First Vest”, if you will.

Outsource Your Security.

The personal empowerment brought about by the internet is changing the way society works. As I said earlier this year,

The world’s largest bookstore, Amazon, has no stores, and the worlds largest armed force, the American gun owner, has no generals, ranks or chain of command.

WISO-Wireless-Emergency-Whistle-Safety-AlarmSo how can the American gun owner self-organize into something larger than just one or two people? What would happen in a Ferguson riot if a shop owner had something like this, with a half-dozen or so respectable, committed, responsible gun owners in their network?

This wireless whistle instantly notifies your friends and family in an emergency. WISO uses a combination of Bluetooth technology and GPS tracking.

The whistle sends out pre-selected SOS messages to your friends or relatives via SMS or email. It also includes your current location and can even contact up to seven people at once. The whistle weighs only 12 grams and has batteries that last two months. WISO is available now and costs $51.

Would that help someone survive the riot or a flash mob? I think so…

Are We Not Men?

My friend Rob talked on Facebook about being in a fast-food restaurant when the power went out.

Power flickered, then came back on, sorta, in a “emergency lighting in a sub” kind of way. The registers and computers all down and they couldn’t figure out how to fill all the many outstanding orders without power.

I finally yelled out what mine was and that it should have been next out and pulled out my pocket FourSevens light to give the guy putting the food together enough light to work by. I got my food and then they hustled everyone out and locked the doors. I don’t think anyone else got their food or even refunds.

Miguel talks about a dramatic water rescue facilitated by someone having a knife and states:

If your Every Day Carry kit does not have a knife (or two), it is time for you to get it.

I agree with both of these ideas 100%. As I sit at my desk in my office right now, scrupulously avoiding finishing a presentation I’m working on, I have a Photon II flashlight and a Leatherman PS on my keychain and a CRKT Pazoda II clipped to my pocket. All of these are innocuous, inoffensive and won’t raise any alarms, yet I’ve pulled each of these out of my pockets and put them to some use in the past week, something I (thankfully) can’t say about my defensive firearm.

Get a clue: Get a knife and a flashlight, and worry about what will happen before you worry about what might happen.

And yes, the title is yet another musical reference.

Open Carry Is Not Brandishing.

The good people of Milwaukee have decided to burn down a few buildings and smash up a few cop cars because one of their number was shot by the police last night. Unlike previous instances, though, the suspect had a gun and refused to stop when ordered by the police to do so.

Violence and protests erupted in Milwaukee overnight after a man was fatally shot by police during a foot chase.

Police said the victim, 23, was armed with a handgun and shot dead by an officer after fleeing a traffic stop on Milwaukee’s north side Saturday afternoon.

The suspect in question had a lengthy arrest record and was armed with a pistol stolen in a burglary earlier this year, but hey, let’s riot because “he was a good person“.

The man’s criminal record was extensive, and he was carrying 500 rounds of ammunition at the time as well as a gun which had been reported stolen in a burglary earlier this year, however, residents were outraged at the killing as it is an open carry state. Many argue that the suspect shot and killed deserved due process.

One protester spoke to the media the night before and revealed that the people were rallying for the 23-year-old suspect killed because he was a good person. It is estimated that about 200 persons came out to protest.

Cognitive dissonance: It’s not just for breakfast anymore!

Protestors seem upset, though, that because Wisconsin is an open-carry state, anyone with a gun in their hands is therefore not a threat.

Open carry outside.

My open carry rig for hiking. Note that I have a holster, and I use it to carry my gun.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Open carry refers to having a gun on your person that’s in plain view. Brandishing is also having a gun, but you have that gun in your hand, not in a holster. One is legal in a bunch of states, the other is not. If cop rolls up me, my wife, my second cousin twice removed, whoever, and we have a gun in our hands and refuse to set it down, we stand a better-than-average chance of getting shot.

That’s what probably happened in Milwaukee last night, and similar incidents have played out in other cities all over the world dozens of times in the past week. The difference is, in Milwaukee, it was used to touch off a a riot that has caused further pain and suffering to that city. It’s shameful, it’s abhorrent and it will continue as long such actions are rewarded by elements within our political leadership.

In the mean time, carry your guns and keep your head on a swivel.