5.56 Timeline

My Survival Gear Part 1

Since we have opened up a new section of the website for survival and prepping, I decided it would be  a good time to talk about my “get home” bag, or “bug out” bag.

My pack goes with me whenever I travel and stays in my jeep or whatever vehicle I am in. Depending on the time of year or how far I am going, I will change some items or go to a larger backpack.

If you click on the image, you will see a larger picture of most of what goes into my pack during the spring/summer/fall seasons. Something will change depending, but most of this is standard.  The back Pack is the USMC issued ILBE assault 3 day pack.  It has a main storage area, and outside storage and a pocket in the rear for a water bladder like the Camelbak.  I use the USMCSource WXP for water since the pack was made with this system in mind.

The main gear consists of the following items.

Two USMC  ground tarps. They snap together and are water proof. Can be used as a shelter half each or a water proof bed roll.

Two USMC poncho liners for sleeping or shade etc.

Two seal line water proof storage compression bags.

Two pair of cushioned Smarwool socks with silver lined sock liners.

One Nalgene bottle with titanium spork and nalgene canteen cup for cooking or mixing.

One water proof plastic container for cell phones or electronics.

Parachute flare

Folding knife

One fleece watch cap.

Two surefire battery holders with batteries and extra bulbs.

100 ft  550 cord

surefire  6p ( two)

streamlight pen light

Five chemical lights

Kbar knife

Flint and steel

Then I have a few 1 gallon ziplock bags with handy items. Heavy rubber bands, zipties, more batteries ( lithium) lighters ( 3) candles ( 2 ) Swiss army knife and Leatherman multitool. It also contains some medicine and some small 1st aid items.

Also I have a few kits given to railroad workers that are sealed up and contain grbage bags, handiwipes, toillete paper and hand cleaner.

Above are a few items I have found a lot of use from. An old Swiss army knife I bought with the first paycheck in my life many years ago with my name engraved on it by an old friend of mine (now since deceased) and two titanium pry-bars.

Above is my individual first-aid kit (IFAK). This is listed alone because I attach it to the outside of the pack to get to faster without digging. It is a pretty standard military kit with a few extras thrown in. I changed it by taking out anything i did not know how to use since it would just increase the risk of me harming myself.  I am not going to break it down or recommend what you put in yours because I am not a doctor and it is best you learn about this kind of thing from pros.

One thing that I add to the pack if I travel very far is a blow up thermarest pad for sleeping, It rolls up nice and has elastic rope to hold it together. The ILBE assault pack has two buckled straps that will hold it to either side nice and snug.

I did not show the food I add to the pack because it changes pretty often to make sure it stays fresh. Usually it is a combination of MREs, mountain house entrees and a few smaller cans of stuff added in.  In all, it’s about 3 days of food for the warm months.

Here is is all stuffed into the pack without the therma rest. I keep two carabiners on the pack just in case I need to lash something to it.

The pack does not contain any fighting items because it is not a fighting load carrier. It is for getting home cross-country.  Anything i need to defend myself with goes on my person.

This is what would be on my person if I needed to leave my vehicle and go cross country towards home. Some stays in the car until I need it, but the gun, mags, watch, knife and light are always with me. The signal panel,chem lights, lighter and extra AR mag would be added if I was forced to leave my vehicle.  This changes slightly from time of year or time of day/night.  The Gov model is my deep cover CCW pistol, but since buying the excellent Darkstar gear Kydex holster, I have taken to carrying my 1911 colt railgun with surefire x300 as my main CCW pistol.

For me, I feel these are the most important things to have and should not leave my person. I think I could reasonably escape most situations with just thins bit of gear as long as I could get back to my main pack or at least some water somewhere.  If not, then its unlikely I could have made it anyway.  The AR15 mag is added to the belt if things are bad enough to need it and the trunk AR15 is taken along.  I keep the AR15 in a ADIDAS sporting bag that I have shown before.

Next I will show the upgrade in clothing for winter months and longer travel.

The importance of a 3 month food supply and getting started

Cassie Larsen submitted this article.

The importance of a 3 month food supply and getting started

When most people think of preparedness they think about their emergency/ bug out bags and 72 hour kits. When I think of preparedness I think about my 3 month food supply and long term food supply too. Your 3 month food supply is easier and quicker to get then the long term food supply or ultimate goal of a year of  food. I suggest you start with your 3 month supply then move up to the long term food storage foods.

What is a 3 month food supply? It is a supply of foods you eat on a daily basis, foods that are part of your normal diet. It is not the long term foods like wheat, oats and beans in number 10 cans. It’s can goods, pasta, cereal, and grains. You should try to convert some of the fresh items you use into canned or frozen items, so they will store longer.

There are many reasons to have a 3 month supply of food. If you or your significant other lose your job, an unexpected expense, unexpected guests, a shorter than expected pay check, bad weather, sickness or just a busy week. Now with any of those situations it is nice to have extra food in the cupboard and freezer.

Getting started with your supply:

Option number 1: You can buy an extra couple of items each week at the store. Say you need a can of chicken noodle soup instead of buying one can you buy two cans. Once you have used that one can you add it to the grocery list to buy another two cans. As time goes on you will slowly add up to a 3 month supply of food.

Option number 2: You can shop the ads and coupons and stock up when items go on sale. If cereal is on sale you buy 4+ boxes instead of one, or buy as much as your budget allows. This option helps you to get your food supply quickly while still staying on a budget. An important thing to keep in mind while doing this option is to not buy extra items that are not on sale. Once you watch the ads you will realize everything goes on sale in a rotation. Say this week its pasta, next week it will be cereal and in another four weeks it will start again.

Option number 3: Keep a list of meals you eat for two weeks and all the ingredients needed for those meals. Then add extra items from your meal list to your grocery list each week so you always have the ingredients needed to make those meals.

I like to do all 3 options, that way I have complete meals plus extra filler foods too.

Date and Rotate Supply:

One thing that is really important to remember when having a 3 month supply of food is to rotate thru your food. You wouldn’t want all your money to be thrown away because the food expired. To rotate thru your foods, I suggest you write the month and year of when you bought the item on the top of the item. I write the date on top of all non perishable items; including my freezer, cleaning and toiletry items. When you write the month and year on top of the package you are able to see quickly what package to take out and use next. If you have eight cans of cream of chicken soup, you want to use the can you bought in May 2012 (5-12) not the can you bought in October 2012 (10-12). This method alleviates the need to worry about the expiration date. It also helps you to quickly see that you don’t need to buy any more of a particular item.  For example: Since the two packages of rice you bought in January 2012 (1-12) still haven’t been opened there is no reason to buy rice.

Use your freezer:

The freezer is a great way to add storage room for your 3 month food supply. You can freeze milk, cheese, bread, pizza dough, tortillas, yogurt, butter, some cut up vegetables and fruits, as well as your normal frozen foods and meat. The freezer in your fridge, chest freezers and stand up freezers all work the same just work with what you have room for. If you don’t have the option of an extra freezer there are many can meat varieties that you can substitute in most meals.

Don’t forget extra supplies:

Toiletry items are another thing that you want to have a 3 month supply of. It’s the same process for getting your body items, cleaning items, food and drink items. Don’t forget Ammo! The quickest way to add to your toiletry items on a budget is to use coupons and watch the sales. If you are not brand specific you have even more opportunities to add to your supply. Most toiletry and cleaning products do not expire, but I recommend that you rotate thru your toiletry items.

Part of my 3 month food supply. If I had a bigger pantry I would have more:

At the top of the pantry you can see the dates on some of the cereal boxes.


Get creative with where you store your food if you don’t have a big pantry. I have extra toiletry items and drinks in my laundry room closet. I have long term food storage in boxes under the bed. This isn’t anything new for me. Growing up I couldn’t put anything under my bed because there was so much long term food under my bed.

Get excited about food storage and get buying extra food! It’s always better to be prepared so when an emergency comes you will be able to take care of yourself and help others. I love knowing that I have extra food in my house. It brings peace, security and self reliance when you are prepared to take care of yourself and your family.

Even if you don’t think you need a bug out bag, 72 hour kit, or need to prepare for an emergency situation, you will always need food and water. A 3 month food supply is a good in home, easy and inexpensive option for your preparedness.


Review: Shooter app for Android Phones

The “Shooter” app is available in the Google App store for $9.99 and is also available for the iOS.  I’ve been using this app for a good many months on my Android phone and have found it very handy.  Shooter lets you plug in the details of your firearms and make multiple ammunition profiles for various loads.  Once this data is entered you can quickly get the adjustment needed for a specified load and wind.

The downside to this is that Shooter does have a learning curve, and that you must input a good bit of information before you get any useful results.  If you need to be able to quickly get rough ballistic information for a firearm and want to quickly change the inputted data, Shooter isn’t ideal for that.  However once you have all the information imputed into this app, you can quickly find the adjustment needed for wind and distance, and you can maintain profiles for a multitude of loads with their own zeros for each individual firearm.  If what you need is the ability to quickly plug in loads data then find a hold over using a reticle, you may be better off with the Strelok app.

Shooter also has many handy optional features such as:

  • A calculator for ranging a target in mils or MOA.
  • The ability to connect to a Kestrel via Bluetooth.
  • Automatic weather input from GPS location.

And many more.


I really like the Shooter app, and have found it very handy.  More information about the Android and iOS versions of Shooter can be found here.

Cleaning and the AR15

If you are new to the AR15 family of weapons, or the M16FOW,you have probably heard from a lot of self identified experts how much cleaning it needs. You cannot swing a dead cat without hitting some one telling you the stoner system needs constant cleaning to keep it from breaking and getting you killed.

Any weapon needs to be cleaned and oiled. If not they will eventually have a problem. It may be something as simple as  just running sluggish or something more serious.  This constant clean mongering has led a lot of people into thinking that they have to have some kind of piston operated AR or other gun to have something they can shoot more then 100 rounds through and still trust it.  Truth is, even these will stop working after awhile as well. Even the  much hyped AK47/74.

Piston guns will get dirt and fouling the same as any other weapon–just in a different place.  Stories form former Spetnaz soldiers tell of how they took the AK apart and cleaned it on every break.  G.I.s in WW2 took the M1 apart to clean it every night. They knew the reality of taking care of your rifle. Thankfully they did not have the internet to tell them those two rifles never needed cleaning.

Even the new “improved” modern weapons aimed at SOF units claim to need less cleaning. The SCAR is an example. A lot of people think it would never need to be cleaned. A recent copy of the DOD  FM for the SCAR told of a special tool issued with it to keep carbon scraped off.   …so much for the piston not needing to be cleaned.

Of course I could find just as many pictures of any other rifle in the middle of letting some one down, but the point is to show that none are perfect.

Now, after saying all that, I want talk specifically about the AR15 and cleaning.  A whole lot of people spend a whole lot of time cleaning ARs and telling you that you better clean yours or you will regret it. The truth is, they AR15/M16  needs nowhere the amount of cleaning people think.  It does however need to be lubed.  All machines need lube. You do not run a car without oil, at least not for long.  A rifle needs it just as much.  Sure, some people will operate their AR15 dry, but like the car the AR won’t run “dry”  for long.  It will work fine for a 100 or 200 round trips to the range, but even then it will start to complain.  If you want to run one dry while playing at the range, go for it. But choosing to run a dry gun in a life-or-death situation is foolish with any weapon.

Back in 2009 I purchased a Colt 6940 and decided I would keep a detailed round count of it. I also decided to shoot it with no actual cleaning (just lube) and see how long it would go.  I recently stopped at over 8,000 known rounds fired with no cleaning and no malfunctions.  I decided to clean it last night, mainly so I could give it a good PM inspection and check for wear etc.

You can click on this picture and see carbon on the bolt tail.  I show it just to make the point that it makes no difference at all to the guns reliability. Do not bother to scrape it off.  It doesn’t hurt anything and is self-limiting. Any excess carbon will be blown out of the vent holes under normal operation. Unless you just have OCD, I wouldn’t even bother. Instead, spend the time thinking about chess problems or old love letters–something more worthwhile. I use a brush to coat the lugs with solvent, wipe it off, then add oil.  Unless you want it super clean to inspect for excess wear or cracks, do not bother.

While I soak the BCG in some type of solvent I just blow out the lower FCG with brake parts cleaners and re oil. I have never needed more than this to keep everything happy.  If it falls into a muddy river during some Sub-Saharan African conquest, you may need to do more.  …just use common sense.

I also don’t scrub and clean the bore like a match rifle either. Unless it has mud or dirt in it or took a submerging, maybe some foaming bore cleaner will do. But that would be a rare thing for me. One thing I do clean (when and If I clean) is the chamber.  If you are going to pay lip service to cleaning, then clean the chamber with the chamber brush. In harsh conditions, along with oiling the gun often, the chamber cleaning is the one thing I would make an effort to do.

The bore and chamber on a properly made milspec rifle is chromed,so it does not need a lot of attention compared to your match or hunting rifles. That is not to say it could not use a cleaning every now and then. But its pretty tough. Most of the OCD drill Sgt cleaners, think they are helping but are doing more damage to the bore from over cleaning with their cleaning rods then the fouling or shooting does. The only thing that spends more time in the bore than bullets is a cleaning rod. And they have the potential to cause a lot more problems when not use properly. When cleaning , use a bore guide meant for the gun any and every time you can. This will save your bore if you are a cleaning maniac.

After cleaning out 3 years worth of oil, powder, fouling grit and junk, I was able to do my inspection.  What to look for is another article in itself, so I will say that everything looked good to go. A quality made milspec bolt carrier group can take a lot of use and abuse when used the way they gun was meant.  Not all brands are the same. I do not care what you heard from your step brothers ex wives new boy friend, not all MFGs are the same when it comes to quality. DO your research and  will have something that will last a long time and give trouble free service.

Here it is cleaned and degreased.  It has only been cleaned once in over 8K rounds. Keeping the gun wet with oil ( in this case slip2000 exclusively) and having a quality milspec BCG from a known MFG will offer up long life and no nasty surprises.  Sure, lemons slip out on every company from time to time, but barring that, you can count on good service. And you do not have to spend more time cleaning then shooting to keep it working. Throw on some oil and get back to training.  You are not improving your shooting when you are in the garage scrubbing on it. Clean when is prudent or if an emergency demands it. Not just to make it inspection clean. Find out its limits on your own and you will gain confidence in it that the over cleaners will never have or  know.