Practical Prepping Blog

Preparations for a very uncertain future. . .

Opinion: Demonization of Patriots Intensifies – But Why?

OK, so I can’t admit to being completely free of paranoia.  After all, any real prepper worth their salt has an abiding faith in the fact that he or she is being lied to on a regular and continual basis.  Right?  Whether it be by the .gov, or Wall Street Bubblemedia, or politicians – you name them, we don’t trust them.  We generally trust in our families, the Constitution, and God – and not necessarily in that order.

So excuse me if I cast  jaundiced and wary eye at the recent spate of ‘anti-patriot’ hate-speech and blatant demonization of same.  No, I’m not thin-skinned.  Hey, I’m a public school teacher with a life-sized, white silhouette of an AR-15 in the back window of his truck which I regularly park in a conspicuous place in the faculty parking lot amid the weathering and frayed ‘Hope and Change’ bumper stickers, just for giggles.  No, criticism does not bother me.

Unless it comes from members of the Federal government, the leadership of the Congress and former Presidents all at the same time.  Whether it’s Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security that prepared a draft of a report that called Ron Paul supporters, Constitutionalists, discharged Iraq and Afghanistan vets and Tea Party goers ‘extremists’ and potential domestic terrorists, or Nancy Pelosi warning that rhetoric like that which she hers from the right reminds her of the climate in San Francisco in the late 70s when two politicians were assassinated, or Slick (Wag-the-Dog) Willy stoking the fires last week by saying the political climate which has spawned the Tea Party movement is reminiscent of the same climate that existed before the Oklahoma City Federal Building was bombed in 1995.


The Tea Party demonstrations have been the most peaceful assemblies of people I have ever witnessed.  No hate, no stone throwing, no trashing of cars or property, so why all the fear?  Why the concerted effort to demonize peaceful protesters by linking them to terrorism, or political assassination?

Call me crazy, (I’ve been called worse), but I can’t help but believe that the economy is going to tank in the near future (perhaps late this summer or fall as the web-bots predict) and President Soetoro is going to need a distraction of sorts from the death of the dollar.  Is he, or certain members of his regime, capable of pulling a false-flag domestic terrorist attack and blaming it on ‘right-wing fanatics’?  I don’t know.  Would it shock me?  No.  Would it shock you?  Are the fires of demonization and vilification of Constitution loving, God fearing, gun owning patriots being stoked by all the usual suspects from CNN to the Southern Poverty Lie Center?  Hell yes.  Why?

Why, indeed.

Be safe.  Be Prepared.  I think we’re in for a long, hot summer.

Some appropriate ‘extremist’ music follows:  Lyrics below the video.

The paranoia is in bloom, the PR
The transmissions will resume
They'll try to push drugs
Keep us all dumbed down and hope that
We will never see the truth around
(So come on!)

Another promise, another scene, another
A package not to keep us trapped in greed
With all the green belts wrapped around our minds
And endless red tape to keep the truth confined
(So come on!)

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious

Interchanging mind control
Come let the revolution take its toll if you could
Flick the switch and open your third eye, you'd see that
We should never be afraid to die
(So come on!)

Rise up and take the power back, it's time that
The fat cats had a heart attack, you know that
Their time is coming to an end
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious

Hey .. hey ... hey .. hey!

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious

April 28, 2010 Posted by | My Opinion | , , | 2 Comments

Kel-Tec SU-16 CA – Range Report and Video

Arrived at my favorite target range this morning at 7:20 and got a few hours alone with my new Kel-Tec SU-16 CA and 250 rounds of .223.  I’ll have a written report this week, but for now, enjoy a video report of my range experience with the nifty, black carbine.

I brought with me 2 AR-15 30-rnd magazines with 25 rounds each and two 100-rnd. boxes of Federal.223 from Wal-Mart.  Affixed to the rail of the SU-16 CA was a Vortex Strike Fire red dot sight.  When I finally got set up, I slipped in a 30-round mag and let the bolt go to chamber a round.  I aimed dead center on the circular target at 50 yds and observed that the round struck the paper about a foot low and 2-3 inches to the right.  Hmmm… a foot low at 50 yds is pretty far off.  I suspected that I mounted the sight incorrectly but did not have the time to remove it, check the alignment, and re-mount the sight as the skies were rapidly darkening – bearing out the forecast’s 60% chance of rain.  So, three shots at a time, I ‘walked’ the point of impact up the target until I ran out of adjustment when the point of impact was centered left to right, but still about 2 inches low.

My optics woes notwithstanding, the Kel-Tec performed flawlessly,  It ate all 250 rnds. of Federal and Remington .223 without a single issue.  By the end of the session, the SU-16 was shooting fairly tight groups at 75 yards, despite the optics difficulties.  Although I did initially miss the pistol grip found on AR models, I got used to the ‘rifle’ feel of the Kel-Tec in short order.  It is extremely light, at under 5 lbs, and very ergonomic.  The checkering on the handguard and stock provides a nice surface for a solid grip on the carbine while shooting.   I cannot report on the ‘iron’ sights of the Ket-Tec SU-16 CA as I had to remove the rear sight to affix the Vortex sight.

A few words about the ‘controls’.  The safety is located just behind the trigger where the trigger guard meets the stock and takes some getting used to before it can be activated and deactivated without looking.  The magazine release is in the conventional spot just forward of the trigger.  Some folks have complained about the placement of the release button between two screws just above and below it, but I did not find the location confusing or annoying in any way.  The SU-16 does not have an AR-style bolt release lever.  Instead, the open bolt is made to slide forward by pulling the bolt lever back slightly and releasing it.  It too, took some getting used to, but I actually have come to like this arrangement better than the AR bolt release – just personal preference, though.  The trigger pull was smooth and did not require too much effort.  It broke smoothly at what I would guess to be about 6-7 lbs. – somewhat less than my AR-15 before the trigger job.

All in all, I found the Kel-Tec SU-16 to be a joy to shoot.  It feels great tucked into your shoulder, is reasonably accurate (this will improve, no doubt, when I get the sight mount adjusted), and fired all 250 rounds without a hiccup?  And all this for under $600 including the transfer fee, what’s not to like.

Be Safe.  Be Prepared.

April 18, 2010 Posted by | Firearms | , , | 2 Comments

A Meat Freezer As An Emergency Prep

I was scanning one of my favorite blogs today, Shenandoah penned by a very insightful blogger in all things economic, John Galt, when I spotted this article on the coming rise in meat prices:  Sticker Shock at the Supermarket Meat Case.  Seeing as to how this eerily coincided with my trip yesterday to BJ’s warehouse to replenish our meat freezer after discovering late Saturday night how woefully low our supply had become, I decided to post about my meat storage methods and philosophy – that is, to the degree that one can actually have a ‘philosophy’ about meat storage.

Multi-Packs ready for Re-Packing

In an emergency situation, one where grocery stores are experiencing irregular, sporadic, or non-existent resupply, you will be forced to dip into your stored supply of foods.  When you do so, pat yourself on the back first for being forward thinking and conscientious enough to store an emergency food supply.  You are ahead of about 95% of the sheep out there who believed that grocery store shelves are magic things that re-supply themselves.  Having stored food is great.  But without a little protein to go along with the pasta, rice and potatoes, your diet is bound to become a tad monotonous, if not downright unhealthy.  I mean, how many cans of Dintey Moore Beef stew can you stomach until you stat fantasizing about freshly broiled meat – even something as mundane as a freshly grilled burger?

Practical Prepper’s Solution for Boring SHTF Meals:  The Meat Freezer!

All kidding aside for a moment, the decision to keep and fully stock a meat freezer for emergency food storage is not one to be taken lightly or done before your other food preps unless you are wealthy and can afford to buy everything at once.  I offer these 2 caveats because:

1.  As you will see, having a meat freezer and the means to keep it running can be expensive.

2.  Meats should supplement or augment your existing supplies of the other essentials like grains, veggies, starches, fruit, and of course, water.

Uh, what’s so expensive about a meat freezer?  I’ve seen them at the warehouse stores for around $300.

Well, as usual, the freezer itself is only the first item of many you will need.  You will also need to stock it with your favorite meats.  You will need a generator or large solar power array to keep it running if the lights go out, and finally, you should have a good vacuum sealer.  All of these items are added to the initial cost of the freezer itself.  Here is a discussion of some of the items I think you’ll be needing:

1.    The Freezer.

It should be as large as you need, depending on your family size.  A husband and wife will naturally need something smaller than a family of 5.  I always recommend buying a good name-brand unit over a cheaper ‘off-brand’ as the quality and warranty are usually better..  Shop around.  Go online and look for reviews of the unit you might like to buy.  Ask a neighbor or family member.

The Shelves of my Upright Freezer

Then there’s the decision about whether to buy an upright or a chest-type unit.  Although the chest freezers tend to retain  their cold air when opened, unlike an upright which spills nearly all of it’s cold air when the door is opened, I prefer an upright freezer for 2 important reasons.  First, they usually make more efficient use of space.  You see, there is a limit to how deep a chest freezer can be before you can no longer reach what is inside it without jumping in.  They cannot be made taller that about waist-high, so all the space above the freezer is basically wasted – remember, you have to leave the space above the freezer clear so you can open it and access the contents. Upright freezers can be 6-7 feet tall or taller, depending on the height of your ceiling.   Second, upright freezers, by their design, allow relatively easy access to nearly all stored items, while items stored at the bottom of a chest freezer necessitate the removal of all items above them before they can be accessed.  that said, space limitations or other considerations might steer your choice in one direction or another. That’s fine.  Don’t obsess over the choice – just get it!

Final word on freezers.  Get one with a ‘high-temperature’ warning/alarm.  It will save you lots of money should the freezer stop working for whatever reason.  The buzzer will alert you in enough time to get your frozen meat on ice while you either have the unit repaired or replaced.

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April 15, 2010 Posted by | Food, Water, etc | Leave a comment

You Say ‘Tomatoes’, I Say ‘Holy Crap’!! – UPDATE 4/11/10

It dawned on me as I was snapping the photos you see to the left and right of this text: Holy Crap, I got a bumper crop of tomatoes coming in in a few weeks and I haven’t planned for it at all.

Just Purchased Ball Mason Jars. I'm committed now!

UPDATE:  4/11/10 I just purchased 2 cases of Ball Mason Jars for canning the tomatoes.  Pic Above.

I mean, I meant to. When I planted the seeds some months ago (don’t hate me just because I can plant tomato seeds in January here in So. Fla. ), I had fully intended to purchase all the canning supplies and how-to books, and spend a few months reading about the fine art of canning tomatoes.  Ok, so I got sidetracked, so what?  One of the distractions was starting this blog, then there were the firearms I recently purchased – a Kel-Tec SU-16 CA carbine and a Taurus PT 709 Slim, then I started painting the house, and well, you know; I kinda lost focus.  The photos kind of re-focused me.

In the few weeks remaining ’till they ripen, I’ll be cramming on canning techniques and acquiring the needed supplies.  You see, I have lots of skills, but cnning isn’t one of them.  In fact, I’m a total noob at it.  But if you are too, and would like to learn from my inevitable mistakes, then this blog will be the place to be for the next few weeks.

Look for the next post in this series:  Canning Tomatoes: Part 1, in two weeks.  In the meantime:

Be safe.  Be Prepared

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Food, Water, etc | , , | Leave a comment

Practical Prepping Podcast #1 – Things To Come

Have a quick listen to my introductory Podcast – the first of a weekly series of podcasts on topics of interest to the prepping community.

April 7, 2010 Posted by | Podcasts | | Leave a comment

Communications During Emergency Situations (Like WTSHTF)

Can you or any of your family members imagine a world without instant communications?  Without cell phones, text messages, satellite or cable news?  Without the internet?  Well, my assumption is that if you’re reading this blog, you’re at least curious about what you should be doing to prepare for a WTSHTF (When The S%*t Hits The Fan, for the uninitiated) event, and having a plan which takes into account the two important types of emergency communications is an important part of those preparations.

In my earlier posts, I covered many of the ways the electrical grid and with it nearly all means of electronic communication and news dissemination can be shut down.  Local TV and radio stations can probably continue to run for a few days or even weeks with back-up power generation, but in a true disaster situation, additional fuel for their generators, which requires it to be trucked in will probably not arrive before they run out of their stored fuel and fall silent.  The government might be able to establish some sort of emergency radio broadcast system in the absence of local AM/FM stations, but you still need equipment to tune it in in the absence of electricity – and hence, the necessity of an Emergency Communication Plan or ECP.

Ok, fine.  I need an ECP.  But what were those two important types of emergency communications you mentioned earlier?”

Oh yeah, one of those would be Outside World Communications, like news (both local and world news) and weather or .gov announcements and the other would be Group Communications, like neighborhood watch communication or the ability to alert you neighbor or other family members of an important bit of news or approaching danger.  Let’s talk about Outside World Communications first.

1.  Outside World Communications

Having lived through two major hurricanes in So. Florida (Andrew -’92 and Wilma -’05), I know a thing or two about how isolated you can feel when the television stations have gone silent and the electrical grid is a tangled, sparking mess of downed power poles, smoldering transformers and arcing wires.  News was at a premium during both of those events.  Imagine now that instead of a hurricane (a predictable storm whose path is known days in advance) causing the grid-down situation, it was a pandemic influenza, or terrorist attack, or a cyber-terrorism event aimed at our vulnerable electrical power generating and distributing infrastructure. The suddenness with which electrical means of news and information distribution would simply disappear would be stunning.  All normal means of obtaining that desperately needed information will have ceased operation.

CCrane Pocket SW Radio

The best way to avoid total information blackout is to have a battery powered short wave radio and either enough batteries to run it for weeks and even months, or the ability to recharge a set of rechargeable batteries using solar power.  [For more info on Solar Power, see my previous blog post on Perimeter Security.]  A battery powered short wave receiver will allow you to tune into both domestic and world sources of news and information in the absence of local electrical power.

On the right, is a picture of one such radio, a C Crane and Co Pocket SW Radio.  It’s one I’ve used for years and love it.  There are other brands available, though like Sony, Grundig, and even Radio Shack.  As stated, a SW radio is great for filling in missing information about the ‘big picture’ like world or national news, or even local news via AM/FM bands, but there are other important sources of information your SW radio is probably not capable of receiving like Police, Fire and EMT transmissions.  Uniden Trunktracker IVOne can gain valuable information about the state of lawlessness or peace in your neighborhood by monitoring these frequencies – which, by the way, is perfectly legal to do.  If you believe, like I do, that monitoring Police, Fire, and EMT radio traffic could be a valuable source of information during emergencies, then you should look to purchase a Police Band scanner like the Uniden Trunktracker IV pictured on the left next to my Ham Band 2-Meter walkie-talkie (more on that later).  Unlike less expensive police scanners, a ‘trunking’ scanner allows you to follow communications on modern trunked frequencies.  Again, there are several brands of ‘trunking’ scanners; Bearcat, Radio Shack, and Uniden all make decent trunking models.

Rounding out the devices needed to keep you informed of what’s happening in the ‘outside world’, is a weather radio.  But not just any weather radio.  You should look for one with a feature called SAME, or Specific Area Message Encoding.  SAME weather radios can be programmed with your postal code and thereby be able to receive emergency information aimed at your local area like the location of local water or food distribution centers, etc, in addition to their normal function of keeping you informed of severe weather in your area.  A photo of the SAME Weather Radio in use at the PP house appears below in the next section.

Continue reading

April 4, 2010 Posted by | Communication | , | 8 Comments

Kel-Tec SU-16CA : Range Report and Video Review – Coming Soon

5.56mm, chrome-lined barrel, uses AR-15 magazines, Picatinny rail, folding stock, etc, etc...

Just got back from my local gun emporium with a carbine I’ve been waiting for for several months now.  I’ve been looking for another .223/5.56 carbine to back up my AR-15.  This Kel-Tec SU-16CA fits the bill as a versatile back-up carbine – and then some.  I’ll be dong a full review next week – after I’ve added an optic and put a few hundred rounds down range.

April 1, 2010 Posted by | Firearms | , , , | Leave a comment


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