Training Program: Update 7/15/20

Early last month I posted (link) that two of my sons in law, my son and I were all about to kickoff a training program to improve our self-defense and operational skills and I wanted to provide an update.

First off, we lost two of our number. For various reasons my son and one of my sons in law changed their minds and have decided they are not able to participate. One was not a surprise (actually, expected) but I was very disappointed my son backed out. The remaining member of our little band is the one I would count on the most in a dangerous situation so that is a good thing.

Before my son dropped out we met and agreed on the training plan and approach. We also discussed the gear selection and basic load outs we want to work towards:

Gear Selection/Load Out:

    • Glock 17 or 19 with three magazines. We will use Glock 17 magazines for interoperability. and we will both carry them outside the waistband on the strong side.
    • AR-15 in 5.56/.223 with three magazines.
    • Slings, optics, mag carriers and other basics will be up to the individual.

We decided on all this when we were still a band of three.

Training Session 1:

Our first training session went slightly differently than expected.

The batteries were dead in the rangefinder and I did not bring a tape measure as a backup so we were estimating on distances. I planned on using the shot time app on my phone but found that it did not work very well (hardware issue with the microphone on the device). I verified that the holster I was planning to use with the Glock 19 would work with the red dot. I did not verify that it would work with the suppressor height sights I installed to co-witness with the red dot so I worked the drills with the SIG P365 instead of the Glock 19. I also forgot to pack targets for sighting in our rifles. That didn’t turn out to be that big a deal as we spent a lot more time working with pistols instead of the rifles.

I worked with my son in law (Moose) on his grip. He has never taken any pistol training so this was all new to him. Once we had the grip down and ran through some drills to reinforce this skill we move on to the draw stroke. Again this was all new to him and we spent a lot of time practicing this as well. In fact this is what we spent most of our time on.

We did go over reloads and failure drills, but only briefly as it was getting late in the day and the heat was starting to get the better of us.

We did not have any time for any serious work with the rifles. We did review the manual of arms (basic operation) of both the AR and the AK. We will be training with and using the AR platform but I thought it would be useful to review both. You never know when you might need to use something that is not your primary platform. We also spent enough time working with the rifles that Moose realized some of the choices he mad with his rifle may have been sub-optimal. For example, a long, heavy barrel sounds good until you are lugging it around all day. He may well either reconfigure his existing upper or buy/build a shorter, lighter upper for this role. He purchased some ammo from a “friend” and discovered that his rifle did not run it well. There was some sort of corrosion on the (nickel-plated steel) cases that could have been the issue. It seemed to run fine with both the brass and steel cased ammo I brought along.

This is a perfect example of not betting your life on untested equipment and ammo. This would have been a very bad thing to find out in a life or death situation.

Overview:

All in all I am pleased with the progress we have made so far. We both learned a few things, sharpened our skill sets and had a lot of fun. Now that he knows some of the proper techniques Moose will, hopefully, continue to practice at home (with an empty firearm) and his times and accuracy will improve.

I am a little disappointed that my son did not make this a priority because I think he would have learned a lot and improved on some critical skills.

Next time out we will practice these skills some more and measure ourselves against the standards we decided on. Hopefully, we will be able to add in some additional skills such as shooting while moving and start working seriously with the rifles.

Take care and God bless

Defending “Big Sam”

An Internet rumor started making the rounds last week that Antifa was planning on protesting and defacing or destroying a Statue of Sam Houston located between Houston and Huntsville (Texas, not Alabama). The is a huge monument to one of the founding fathers of the nation and later the state that is Texas.

“Big Sam” (not my photo)

Sam Houston was a polarizing figure during his lifetime. He was the commander of the Texian army during the war of Independence against the dictator, Santa Anna and was heavily criticized in his leadership right up until the Battle Of San Jacinto where the dictator was captured and his army defeated. He was the first president of the new nation of Texas but also championed the idea of Texas joining the United States. Once that happened he was elected as the governor or Texas until he was tossed out of office mid-term for opposing Texas’ succession and joining the Confederate States in rebellion against the US. Old Sam was a supporter of Andrew Jackson but fought against the Indian Removal Act. In fact when the Cherokee tribe he had been made a member of was relocated to Oklahoma he went with them. He is once again a source of polarization as the rumors on the Interwebz illustrated.

There was definitely a gathering at the “Big Sam” statue this weekend but it wasn’t against the statue. In fact, a lot of folks showed up with the express purpose of defending the statue.

Some defenders of “Big Sam” (not my photo)

Some came with signs, some with flags and some with firearms. One even came with a crane to make sure that the flags (US and the Texas Independence flag) were flying above the reach of any protesters.

This is not the first time Texans turned out to defend a monument from their past. During the riots protests in May a group of Texans showed up to defend The Alamo from being vandalized or desecrated (many of those who fell defending the walls of The Alamo are buried within the sanctuary). There were too few to defend the entire complex but they made their stand in front of the sanctuary and held the line for several hours before the police arrived to take over.

I don’t know how the media is spinning this or if they are just trying to ignore it but I have to say that I am proud of the men and women who showed up to defend “Big Sam.” I will also say that I am glad Antifa did not show up. The results could have been…

…messy.

God bless and take care.

New Patches!

While I am a fairly strong proponent of being a “gray” and “under the radar” as I can I still like my patches. I don’t generally put them on anything that goes out into public with me but I do like them anyway.

The only one that makes the rounds with me is one that says “In God We trust.” You can just make it out on this EDC bag I used to carry:

Well, I couldn’t help myself and added a couple more to my collection.

DoubleStar released a limited edition COVID-19 patch featuring their dragon and some vital supplies for the pandemic:

Vital Supplies: TP, A mask and an AR

I was reviewing some scriptures I had jotted down at various times and came across Psalm 144:1. A quick search of the Interwebz showed that several different companies made patches with that Psalm on them so I picked one up:

That one may actually make it on a piece of gear; specifically, a plate carrier I plan on using in our training sessions.

Take care and God bless!

The Day Of The Lord

God loves us.

He loves us so much that he sent His only son to suffer and die on our behalf; to be a living sacrifice to atone for our sins. He suffered and died that we would know eternal life in the presence of the Father.

God is patient.

He sent generations of prophets to warn the people of Israel to turn away from their sins and repent before sending them into Babylonian exile. He is patient enough to wait entire lifetimes for us to turn to Him.

God is just.

Because He is a just God His patience is not eternal. At some point, He is just enough and loves us enough that His patience comes to an end and judgement is passed on the arrogant, the sinful and the wicked. On that day, those who have refused to accept His gift of Grace and His sacrifice on the cross will receive the judgement they have brought upon themselves.

The prophet Malachi warns of the coming day of reckoning this way:

For indeed, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and everyone who commits wickedness will become stubble. The coming day will consume them,” says the Lord of Hosts, “not leaving them root or branches. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall. You will trample the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day I am preparing,” says the Lord of Hosts.

Malachi 4:1-3

Some say the day of judgement, the second coming of Christ, is at hand. Some folks have always said that. I don’t know if we are close to that day or not. Only the Lord truly knows the hour and the day we will be called to account for our sins but the reality of the matter is the number of days (individually as well as collectively) is limited. We each have an earthly expiration date attached to us. The one thing each and every one of us needs to face is that one day we will pass on. We will die.

Are you prepared for that?

Once, in my arrogance, I thought I was. I was pretty sure the scales would balance in my favor.

I was wrong.

I was also fortunate. Because God granted me the most amazing gift. The gift of seeing my life through an impartial set of eyes and to measure it against the scales of fair and impartial justice. On that day, I truly realized how broken I was. On that day my arrogance was stripped away and I knew that I was a sinner and nothing in my power could balance the scales of justice my way. On that day I confessed my sin and need of salvation and truly accepted Him as my savior. On that day I turned away from my old ways and to a new life in Him.

Now, I believe that I am truly prepared for the day of judgment. Not because I am a great person but because I am not. However, I could admit my failings and accept His gift and sacrifice.

He is still at work in me perfecting me and reshaping me into His image. I am still a sinner. I am still imperfect but I am, now, forgiven.

If you recognize your sin and want forgiveness it is pretty simple, just acccept the gift with a sincere prayer like this:

Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God, that you died on the cross to rescue me from sin and death and to restore me to the Father. I choose now to turn from my sins, my self-centeredness, and every part of my life that does not please you. I choose you. I give myself to you. I receive your forgiveness and ask you to take your rightful place in my life as my Savior and Lord. Come reign in my heart, fill me with your love and your life, and help me to become a person who is truly loving. Restore me, Jesus. Live in me. Love through me. Thank you, God. In Jesus’ name I pray.

Amen.

That is an example only. The exact words are not important only the sincere desire to accept His sacrifice and gift and turn to Him as your Lord.

I pray that this post reaches the person, or persons, who needs it. I don’t know who you are or where you are but it was put on my heart to write this and share it so I am pretty sure there is someone who does need it.

Take care and God bless.

Happy Independence Day!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

What Did You Prep This Month?

Walk With God

Finished two more rounds of praying for my 100 closest neighbors. Continued teaching Sunday School and attending church. Unfortunately, these are both still online, virtual versions. Fortunately, we have the technology to be able to continue to meet even in this time of quarantine. I am still slacking in my study of the book of Malachi. I should have finished it several times over by now. On the other hand I have started a video Bible study of Revelation, so…

Self Defense/Hunting

With some Amazon credits I purchased a target frame and a set of steel targets. The target stand collapses easily so I can take it with me on trips out to the country. This will help in practicing with both rifle and pistol and it didn’t cost me anything. Well, nothing out of pocket anyway.

I did spend some money though. On an air rifle.

Crosman Shockwave .22

Based on some of the posts on the PaulsPrepping blog I decided the ability to hunt small game with something a bit quieter than a firearm was a pretty good idea. I had also thought to use it within the backyard for varmint control, specifically certain racoon that has gotten a little too arrogant for his own good. After a quick trip to the range though I have decided that would not be such a good idea. Even after punching through a target, several layers of heavy cardboard and a fabric backstop a pellet from the air rifle was easily able to zip right through another 1×6 treated pine board backstop. Any misses would make Swiss cheese of the fence and potentially injure someone or damage property.

I reloaded fifty rounds of .32 Smith & Wesson Long for practice ammo. I also reloaded some 300 BLK. These are test rounds to check the performance of the loads. I was originally planning to load 150 grain projectiles to be consistent with the other .30 caliber rifle rounds I load (.308 and .30/30) but after reviewing the ballistic data for loads using bullets of this weight I was little unimpressed. I went ahead and loaded some up for testing but I am more interested in the 110 and 125 grain projectiles. The 125 bullet is a heavier construction and may be a very good choice for hog hunting while the 110 grain bullet packs the most energy of the three and could be a very good self-defense load.

Supplies/Gear

We have the newly expanded emergency pantry fully stocked at this point so I turned my attention to other items that we might need to stock up on in order to be better prepared. Since Hurricane Harvey I have been adding additional tools that might be needed in case of a disaster or that could help me reduce costs by doing more repairs and improvements myself and this was the focus for us this month. I made several purchases including a chain saw to replace one that disappeared, some small hand tools and a variety of ties and wraps to secure small items.

We bought some additional seeds. More bush beans for the garden!

I also added an inexpensive electronic brake controller to the new truck so I can tow larger trailers should the need arise. My son in law has just such a trailer should it be needed.

Security

I worked with Wonderful Wife to practice her role should we experience a home invasion or a break in. We also had discussions with our oldest daughter (who has been living with us since she lost her job) on sleeping arrangements and locations as well as what she and her two little ones should do in case of such an occurrence. She was letting her son sleep downstairs which would put him between me and any intruders. I explained that was a bad idea and why. He is now sleeping upstairs and they know which room should be considered a “safe room” should something like that happen.

Finances

We have continued to analyze our bills and debts looking for the best ways to prepare for the worsening economic situation. We worked out a budget and plan that should allow us to pay off the house in under two years with 18 months being the target. We started trying to execute on that plan but, to be honest, I am having some second thoughts. Maybe I should be dumping all that money into savings instead. If we have to abandon the house due to civil unrest or natural disaster te cash in the bank might be the better choice. I am praying (and asking you guys) for guidance on this. What do you think?

We also sat down and reviewed our current savings account balances and determined new goals for those balances.

Fitness/Health

Big goose egg on this one (as usual). This really, REALLY needs to be an area of focus but I have been too lazy to do anything about it.

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this month. How about you? What did you Prep this month?

Take care and God Bless

Racism, Faith, Hope and Love

Since I am Christian, white and male there are a lot of folks who believe that, by default and by nature, I am a racist. They are not shy about telling me so.

My oldest daughter shares a lot of my values (I did help raise her after all). She is not shy about sharing her thoughts on FarceBook and other social media sites. Because of that she has been called a racist, a white supremacist and a whole lot of far worse names. Which I find sort of interesting since she, along with her brother and one of her sisters, are only about 25% white with the rest being a combination of Native American and Mexican.

Wonderful Wife has also taken a beating on social media since she is also willing to share her opinion in the arena, so to speak. One of the terms that has been cast her way is “white privilege.” That one really ticks her off. First off, she white (Polish) but is also of Native American descent and not in the fraction of a percentage point way that Elizabeth Warren claims to be native American. The only difference is that she does not feel the need to wave her heritage in everyone’s face. Don’t get me wrong, she is extremely proud of that heritage, and her grandfather who was full blooded Cherokee. Second, she is probably one of the few people in this country who grew up “dirt poor,” literally. Yep, the home she initially grew up in was a one room shack made of corrugated tin. The floor was dirt and there was no running water or indoor plumbing. When she was older they were able to buy a house that did a better job of keeping out the elements and it even had actual floors instead of dirt. When she was a teenager, her daddy was finally able to add indoor plumbing to that house, no more critter infested outhouses during the warmer months or chamber pots (buckets) when it was cold. She moved to Houston when she was still a teenager and built a life for herself. She got her High School Equivalency Certificate (GED). She was able to do this because she worked hard, darned hard. She worked hard even when it would have been easier to let the government pay her way and take care of her. I could go on and on about the challenges she faced in her life but we will leave it at that for now. I am incredibly proud of here and I can honestly say I don’t know many people who have had to work as hard as she has to build a life for herself.

The backlash they have faced in the last few weeks is not isolated. Several high school friends have taken a load of flak and been called a racist and told that they is also benefiting from “white privilege.” Two are Lebanese and one is Turkish. A former co-worker was attacked on FarceBook for his racist views. Interestingly enough my former coworker is Asian but was berated for showing his “white privilege” while his attacker who appeared, as best I could tell from profile pictures, to be white…

I really don’t get how these non-white folks are racist and benefiting from white privilege, but, as I have been told many times already, I am just too old and racist to understand what those terms truly mean…

But this old, white, privileged, intolerant (I forgot about that one until just now) man has something to say. It may tick some folks off, but then again, the folks I tick off probably stopped listening (reading) some time ago.

We are all the creation of a wonderful God and although He gave us different features and skin tones we are all created in His image. He loves all of us and I do my very best to live up to His command to do the same. We are all, each and every one of us, incredibly important to Him. So much so that He sent His only begotten son to be born, live among us and then suffer torture and death to redeem us of our sins.

God not only wants us to love one another He has actually commanded it of His followers. In fact, Jesus lists it as the second most important command God has given us:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

-Matthew 22:36-40

One life does not mean more to me because of the color of a person’s skin. One life does not mean less to me because they wear (or have worn) a uniform and a badge.

I understand, because I have been told, that this makes me a racist…

Folks, there is only one way out of the mess we are in right now, God’s providence. If we place our faith in Him we have hope. If we love Him and one another as He commanded, we can emerge from the chaos.

If we continue to drive God out of our nation, we are lost. If we continue to allow the enemy to divide us and turn love into hatred, we are lost. If we allow the enemy to drive out our hope, we are lost.

Please pray. Pray for our nation. Pray for peace, for healing, for reconciliation. Pray for a revival in our land so that God’s love can drive out the darkness. Only the light of His blessing and love can drive away the darkness. Pray that we will learn to love and care for one another again…before it is too late.

Amen.

Is This A Civil War Or A Collapse?

In some parts of Wednesday’s post “Never Underestimate An Enemy” I looked at things from the perspective that the next American Civil war had already begun. I did that intentionally because I believed, at the time, that is had. It is a different sort of civil war than what most folks picture based on last the standard view of the American Civil War fought between 1861 and 1865 and a lot more like the civil wars seen in other places in more recent times. Instead of two armies drawn up across the battlefield wearing different uniforms and flying different flags the current civil war is one characterized by sporadic acts terrorism and violence. The fight is often used as an excuse for robbery and mayhem.

I recently came across a post that makes me wonder if my assumption is correct.

Reposted on the Loose Rounds blog “The Systemic Collapse of the US Society Has Begun” argues that this is not a civil war at all. The post argues that since there is no clear enemy for any of the groups currently engaged in the mayhem. The violence is not one group against another in a violent clash of ideology it is more of a general lashing out against a failed state. So, instead of it being a civil war or a revolution it is, instead, a symptom of a failed society spiraling into chaos. Although I don’t necessarily agree with many of the precepts of the article such as the shadowy, secret overlords that actually control the US, I have to say that a lot of it makes sense.

If this is indeed a collapse rather than a civil war does it make a difference?

For the most part, I don’t think so.

Having our finances in order, a decent stockpile of food and other needed goods, improving our home security, having weapons (and the skill to use them) on hand along with sufficient ammunition and the ability to hunt and forage for food are consistent with either interpretation of the situation.

So, what are your thoughts?

Collapse?

Civil War?

Does it really matter?

Take care and God bless.

Never Underestimate An Enemy

I see a lot of posts on conservative sites belittling Antifa and other groups from “the other side” and the threat they pose in a straight up fight. In the minds of many on the right, the forces they will be facings are “snowflakes” armed with cheap Mosin-Nagant or SKS rifles and no training other than playing Call of Duty.

Most of the time I do take the threat these folks pose as serious but sometimes, to be honest, I am guilty of this type of thinking as well. A former coworker who called for arming up and going to war against capitalists and “the establishment” if Bernie loses to Biden in the primaries. I thought to myself, yeah sure, your boys probably don’t know which end of the rifle is which and I train and practice regularly, etc. and blah, blah…

There are a number of reasons to take this threat more seriously than most folks seem to.

First, it is highly unlikely the two side of the current civil war will face each other in neat lines across empty fields each wearing uniforms a banners to identify which side they are fighting for. This will not be like the Civil War battles in the east. This will be a whole lot more like the battles in the west (what in now central) in places like Missouri, Kansas and Texas. No, neat battles against opposing forces. It will be a guerilla war where your local barista or waiter and their buddies rampage against their “enemy” in general lie we see with the riots and looting of the past few weeks. It will be firebombings and violence in the night against those targeted for holding different beliefs or police (as we are also seeing right now).

A member of a well regulated and trained right wing militia may be a formidable force when operating with his team but how will he fare when he awakens in the middle of the night as gunshots rip into his home while molotov cocktails rain down? By the time he can gear up and his team arrives he will either be dead or the threat will have moved on to another target. As we have seen not only during the Civil War and in the Middle East as well as other parts of the world this will most likely be a civil war of terrorist acts and mayhem.

Second, not all the armed leftists will be weak willed “snowflakes.” As we have seen in the recent unrest “gang bangers,” members of local and national gangs, are likely to join is as well. While few of them are trained soldiers, they have lifetimes of experience with violence. Most already know what it feels like to be shot at. Many know what it feels like to be shot. They have no compunction about committing heinous acts of violence. Rape, torture, murder and intimidation are a way of life for these folks. They are truly monsters in human form. A Civil War will see them run amok as the rule of law breaks down. They will join with any side that allows them to profit from or commit violence and spread chaos.

Additionally, there are obviously some of the the armed leftists that are pretty well equipped. Look at the photo below of some of the separatists who have taken over a portion of downtown Seattle, the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ).

CHAZ Separatists

These guys have what appear to be decent ARs as well as sidearms. They have the gear to carry their equipment properly. At least one of them has ear and eye protection ready to be used. Both are carrying coms, that appear to be the same Baofeng radios many “right wing militias” and preppers favor. Heck, one of them is even wearing a “boogaloo Hawaiian shirt.” Other than some of the brand and slogan choices such as the FTP (F the police) and these guys could be easily mistaken for members of “right wing militia”or “white supremacists.”

We have no way of know if these two guys know how to use this gear or not. The fact that the sights on the one guy’s AR appear to be flipped down indicates that may not but they very well could.

Not everyone with military training is on one particular side of the Civil War fence. The man who ambushed and murdered several police officers in California was an active duty member of the US Air Force, for example.

The current Civil War is very serious business. It will be bloody and brutal. It will not result in a quick and easy victory for either side and those who underestimate their enemy, or don’t understand what the battlefield will look like will pay an extremely high price.

The people who will pay the highest price, though, are the people who don’t actively support one side or the other. The highest price will be paid by people like Korboi Balla who lost his entire life savings when his business was burned to the ground by looters, like former police officer David Dorn in Minneapolis, murdered for trying to prevent his friend’s business from being looted, like Deputy Sheriff Damon Gutzwiller and Federal Officer Patrick Underwood who were ambushed and murdered just because they were police officers.

Monsters will be chummed to the surface from both sides and true racists with hate in their hearts will feel emboldened (or threatened) into taking equally horrible actions of their own. Would those monsters who killed innocent worshipers in the church in Charleston or the Synagogue in Pittsburgh have been emboldened to commit those atrocities in less divisive or violent times?

There will be no clean, neat end to this thing unless we can find a way to split the nation and separate ourselves by borders (remotely possible) or we can find a way to bridge our gaps and come together in peace (probably not possible without God’s intervention).

The best we can do is pray for just that, God’s healing hand.

Take care and God bless,