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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Urban Survival Planning - Additional Survival Threats

Not necessarily an additional survival threat, but a newly tuned and dire threat none the less, is Congress' recent failure to pass a budget, meaning the vote down of the Paul Ryan budget and the Democrats refusal to propose a budget, is the last chance this calendar or fiscal year to forestall the collapse.

And what sent a chill into me was the recent Democrat victory in a Republican district for an open Congressional seat. Results showed that the Democrat won because of the voter's perception that they would lose entitlements with voting for the Republican. Some political analysts warn not to read too much into one race, but what I got out of it is the America has become too complacent and too entitled to bring herself out of his giant financial tsunami and therefore a collapse is unavoidable.

The burgeoning debt limit fight, increasing dollar deflation, increasing commodities prices and never ending rising fuel costs are all conspiring to put us in great jeopardy. Now it seems like even the moderate, cream puff television commentators and financial analysts are telling people to buy Gold, Silver and stock food. Let me add, what we all know, also consider your security and protection as well as a safe place and routes to it (Bug Out Plan).

One of the effects of the pending economic collapse is insolvent states like California who will be forced to implement measures that all places us all at risk. One of those is the release of tens of thousands of prisoners from State prisons.....

From Sacramento News: Just days after California prisons were ordered to release tens of thousands of inmates over the next two years due to overcrowding, it was revealed that computer errors led to the mistaken release of hundreds of high-risk, violent inmates.

An estimated 450 inmates with a "high risk for violence" as well as 1,000-plus more with various offenses were let out as unsupervised parolees in a program meant to ease overcrowding.

The prisoners were placed on "non-revocable parole," meaning they were not required to report to parole officers and would be sent back to prison only if they were caught committing a crime. The program began in January 2010 for low-risk inmates in order to allow parole agents to focus on supervising higher-risk parolees.

The inspector general, who reviewed a sample of case files, says the computer system used in the program does not access an inmate's disciplinary record and is lacking conviction information for nearly half of the state's 16.4 million arrest records.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that California 's prisons are dangerously overcrowded and must be reduced by about 33,000 over the next two years.

But, Lieu told the Times, if the state can't properly identify which inmates qualify for an unsupervised parole program, "how can the public have confidence they can release 33,000 felons safely?"

Inspector general spokeswoman Renee Hansen said no attempt was made to return any of the mistakenly-released offenders or have them placed on supervised parole.

Just what we need tens of thousands of prisoners being introduced to a collapsing economy. What would happen if during a collapse, where law enforcement and security forces already had their hands full, if even one of these prisons containing tens of thousands of felons were to fall?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Survival Preparation - More Notes on Survival Gardening received the following questions on e-mail, concerning the Urban-Suburban Survival Garden: "For your garden, where do you get your dirt? Isn't it true that you can't reuse the same dirt year in and year out for growing vegetables? Don't you have to have fertilizers? We live between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona and with enough digging and removing rocks all we get is sand. The only time I can grow flowers is when I use the potting mix and other bags of recommended filler from the Nursery. My husband and I are both beginning our sixties, and want to start growing vegetables in our back yard as opposed to flowers, to cut down on grocery store costs, as we are on a fixed income, and just in case this country goes haywire maybe we'll have a start on growing food. My husband served in Vietnam and loves your site. Glenda and Bill."

UrbanMan replies: As the kid's would say, "Coolios", getting an e-mail from you two. You and your husband were/are the main target of this site - getting people exposed to the preparation concept and to prepare better. Imagine if all of us prepare well, this country would not only be better off, but just may come out a giant collapse sooner. Okay, okay that's a pipe dream, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I have not bought topsoil for two years. I knew I had to be able to grow some sort of food supply without commercial products that would probably not be available after a collapse. I too only get a sand mix where I am at. Although within 20 miles there are farms and such growing vegetables and other crops.

I have a guy I know bring me horse manure in buckets....sometimes in thick garbage bags. He gives me the buckets too, which once cleaned out become great storage containers for my vacuum packed foods supplies. I used one of the buckets to pack some vacuumed packed food and gave to some friends of mine as a gift, saying "Hey, put this away in case we have a natural disaster or something." - just another way to drip preparation to friends.

Anyway, back to the dirt,.....I dig a small hole and mix the horse manure with loose dirt (mostly sand) from my yard. I water it a couple times a week, chop it up with a shovel blade or garden hoe and turn in over (mix it up). When we have organic waste like fruit or vegetable skins I add that as well, making a compost heap. I actually have several of them going at once. In about four weeks of watering and chopping and turning over, the dirt starts to turn dark. I add more sand-local dirt then form my rows or mounds and plant.

It takes about four weeks minimum to break down the horse manure, which does not stink by the way probably because the horses eat organic stuff. As the manure breaks down, it releases nitrogen. The compost pile will actually become hot, maybe as hot as 150 degrees, then cool off. Use it after 4 weeks and after it has cooled.

One a side not, my friend says he'll give manure to anyone who asks. Sometimes he has loaded a truck bed with his tractor. If you can find some farms or ranches close by, who knows a mutually supporting friendship may involve, maybe for barter, maybe for other necessities such as security.

Last year I grew some really big Black Magic Squash and other things as well using this method. You may also like this site:
You can also sign up for a e-mail organic gardening newsletter from this site.

I know the Phoenix - Tucson area well. Lots of criminal activity - gangs, drug cartels, illegal alien smugglers and bandits who prey on about anybody. You please be careful out there. I hope you are preparing in other ways as well.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Survival Financial Planning - Reader Question on Buying Silver at High Prices

Fluctuating Gold and Silver prices and my advice to buy Silver even at the high prices must have prompted this question: I don't agree with your advice to buy Silver when the prices were high. Granted a person needs to keep on top of the prices and buy when the prices are as low as expected. Most of us out here are trying to prepare on a fixed budget and prepare for all manner of disasters.

UrbanMan replies: Since you did not write your name on the e-mail, I can't attribute this question to you, but will not use your e-mail name (obviously a nickname) to identify you. But, to answer you're question, I first have to ask some questions....

Do you have a price ceiling per ounce for the purchasing of Gold or Silver that you are not willing to buy higher at?

How do you keep on top of the prices? Because at any given time the price you see on the Internet is NOT the price you are going to buy it for. The time it takes for a company to process our order on phone/internet orders, or, the time it takes you to drive to a precious metals dealer will all factor in.

Recently the price of Silver went to right around $50 an ounce and a few days ago it was under $34 an ounce. Did you predict this substantial drop?

Actually, several analysts have predicted this drop and a commonly held assessment is that it may go even substantially lower, maybe to $27 an ounce, before it begins a meteoric rise to never before seen levels. Who knows? I don't! Do you?

But what I do know is that my purpose for stocking precious metals, particularly Silver is for a lifeline and not an investment. But it could be an investment. I have several friends who are less focused on preparing for a major league collapse than they preparing for a big market turn south and the resulting giant depression. So they are safeguarding their investments through the procurement of PM's to be at the higher end of any shift of wealth created by a depression.

I have talked more than one of them into taking physical possession of their Gold and Silver as opposed to having "paper" Gold and Silver....just like the University of Texas did when they took possession of the physical Gold even with the enormous costs of storing such a weight.

I also have a couple people close to me who I'm helping on preps, and they insist on cost averaging Silver and are buying through the Silver Saver program, where a set amount of money is automatically deducted from your bank account every week, 2 weeks or month to buy whatever amount of Silver that deducted amount can purchase until you own enough to have it shipped to you. While I'm not a big fan of this, it is an automatic method to ensure you can buy what you can afford - dollar cost averaging.

The bottom line here is that many people hesitated to buy when Silver went over $20 an ounce. Then when Silver hit $30 an ounce they panicked and bought,...others still hesitated to buy until it hit $40 an ounce. My point is you need to have physical PM's in your inventory for a complete "Surviving the Collapse" plan. How much financial pain you are willing to accept to get there is up to you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Survival Preparation - Natural Disasters Increase Probability of Economic Collapse

Tornadoes in the Mid East; Record breaking Droughts in the plains, especially in Texas; Wildfires across West and Southwest; Massive Floods in the Mississippi basin. All this will result in a cost of tens of billions of dollars in economic losses and that cost will most certainly climb as the Floods and Wildfires continue. Just look at the map above.

Some Economists calculate that the cost will be a minimum of $15 billion dollars.....these are conservative estimates. One economist argues that the cost is already at $12 billion dollars to the economy.

Cattle and crop losses will be significant. Insurance premiums will most certainly go up. Food prices are going to skyrocket....and it is in addition to othe prices you have already seen increase. And this is all happening in a very dire time for this country. Between the diminished supplies, the devaluation of the dollar, housing foreclosures, and the rising fuel costs this country will experience a big down turn in the economic condition and certainly a full fledged economic collapse is very possible,....even probably.

Look at the map below of U.S. Counties where natural disasters have affected the crops.

These alone are reason enough to prepare. Stock food supplies; ensure safe routes to safe locations; plan for your security; include financial planning to include what happens when the banks close.

This is what I explain to a gent the other day when he overheard a conversation between me and another guy who on on-board with trying to prepare for all contingencies. This other gent, I'll call him Bob, starting making comments like "Oh Yeah, buy a bunch of guns and head for the hills."

I replied in a serious way, "Well, I guess you can buy guns and run for the hills if you want, but I choose a more deliberate approach where I use critical planning and decision making skills. Sure, guns are important, cause if you don't have one or more (and know how to use them), then your security is greatly compromised,.... ....however, survival preparation, or disaster preparation if you will, is much, much more than that.” Anyway I could see the wheels turning in this guy’s eyes. I told him I would send him some links to several internet sites to look at. It helps that I don’t have a reputation as some nut. I hope I get this guy turned and turned quick as I don’t need another straphanger showing up at my place.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reader Disapointed in Lack of 21 May TEOTWAWKI Coverage

Received an e-mail from Tecumseh: Hey Urban Man, I was disappointed not to see any coverage on the 21 May The End Of The World As We Know It prediction. I remember when you tried to scare everyone before Christmas I think.

UrbanMan replies: Tecumseh, first of all 21 May was not my prediction - it was some religious nut's call,.....and I never have had the intention of scaring anyone. It may seem some sort of noble cause to scare people in order for them to get their act together and start prepping, but the "accordian effect" comes into play where people get jerked with multiple threat streams, get tired of leaning forward, then get complacent enough to ignore important events or indicators, then are caught with their pants down.

It's kind of like athletics, can't always be in tip top shape. You ebb and flow in regards to upcoming competition or events. I think that's the way I approach survival preparation.

I have baseline preps across the major needs of food, water, shelter and security (protection). I try to keep track of many indicators. When those indicators start to lean to a possible event that may plunge us into chaos or a collapse,...or maybe not plunge us but certainly make us pick up speed towards TSHTF, then I will do a couple things: ensure all my vehicles and (some or all) of my spare fuel cans are filled up; maybe buy some extra cases of bottled water as you can never have enough water.

I have a habit of carrying a small notebook and pen with me everywhere. You never know when a solution to some thought or problem that has been incubating in your mind pops up. So I am always jotting notes of things I realize I may need but may not be available either due to supplies or the threat environment. I use the lead in time to procure some things like this. In fact, just the other day I realized that I have broke my round file to sharpen chain saw blades, a round file goes on my list,....then last week when this 21 May TEOTWAWKI crap comes up. Rather than just ignore it, I make a trip to the gas station fuel up, stop by the hardware store an buy a two round files among other things.

But life goes on for me. My family and I rent movies, eat out at our favorite restaurants, spend money on things that have no real survival purpose like fashionable clothes or shoes for the girls.

Doesn't mean I walk around like John Q. Thirty Five years of carrying guns and being aware make it second nature. In fact two nights ago, I saw a care drive by my house slowly. Twenty minutes later the same car with one 20 something year old white, male, brown hair, black ball cap and sunglasses drive by again and stopped about two houses away facing my house.

Out the back door, over the fence, paralleling my street then I approached this car, using my cell phone camera to take a picture of the license plate, like a traffic stop. The boy was a college student doing home appraisals for an insurance company. When I was satisfied, I went back the way I came so we would not know where I live. So I guess the moral of this story is to prepare well; hope like hell nothing happens (except maybe a new government!); be cautious - look, act, and be a hard target, but keep living life.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Survival Firearms - Lever Action Guns for the Collapse received this e-mail comment: ……..”I have been discussing most of the topics covered here with friends in different parts of the country and we have come up with very similar solutions. One thing we decided was that a lever gun in 44mag or 357mag would be better than anything magazine fed. You can top up a lever gun at any pause and there are no mags feed lips to damage. As most contact ranges would be 100yds or less these calibers are more than adequate. If the range is greater, stay hidden!! Your comments. P.”

UrbanMan’s comments: I have no problem with anyone’s choice of survival firearms, as the first rule is to have a gun and remember one is none, two is one. People who tend to have a limited number of guns just may be more proficient with them then those of us with an arsenal!

If you have a lever gun, then it most probably has a tubular magazine. Yes easy to top off, but slow to load,…limited to certain bullet types so sympathetic detonation from bullet nose to cartridge primer does not occur while loaded in the tubular magazine, and, ……also limited to number of rounds that you can carry and if you always keep it fully loaded, then you face a degraded spring strength.

I own a couple lever guns. A great point about levers is that they are robust enough to take the abuse. But I’ll choose my M-4 most every time over a lever. However, I know a gent (not in my survival group) who owns just a couple guns: a Browning lever in .44 magnum; a S&W Model 29 in .44 magnum; a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun and maybe a .22 LR rifle. He used to have an old Colt NM M1911 in .45 ACP to shoot in competition, but he no longer has that (he sold it to me). I know he has a lot of ammunition for each and is very capable with any of these guns, despite his age in the mid 60’s. He believes that there will be a collapse, but say’s he thinks he is adequately armed.

As far as magazines go, I have three different brands for my M-4’s: standard GI mags, mostly 20 rounders; 20 and 30 round P-Magazines, and even a few H&K steel magazines. I rarely have problems with the magazines and if I do and am sure of it, I’ll toss it from my inventory. So I would think that economics and familiarization would be better reason to stick to a lever gun.

A friend of mine from the SW Border area told me, about a year ago if I remember right, that he went into a gun shop to buy some .45-70 ammunition for a competition only to find out that the store had none because a old man came through a few days earlier and bought up all they had,…hundreds of dollars worth. The store said the old man was touring the region buying up all the .45-70 he could find. I would think that this gent probably is pretty high on his .45-70 be it a lever gun or a sharps, and was obviously preparing for a collapse and basing his security/protection needs on what is seemingly an antiquated gun.

I like your idea at ranges greater than 100 yards, then hide! I think smart people don’t look for fights, especially in an environment of degraded medical care. Fight when you have to and when you have the advantage… if is a fair fight, then you did something wrong. Keep the principle of ambushes foremost in your mind: Surprise, Coordinated Field of Fire, Violence of Action, Speed and Security.

I would not feel particularly under gunned using a lever action, but I would damn sure try to use the new Hornady LeveRevolution ammunition which gives a 160 grain bullet in a .30-30 case, near .308 performance. Good luck with your lever guns and stay safe.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Survival Kits - Reader Question on Personal Survival Kits received this question on Survival Kits,....What do you consider are the necessities of personal survival gear items, and I'm talking about pocket sized kits in case you lose everything else? John L.

UrbanMan replies: I would consider the words "redundancy" and "a layered approach" when it comes to outfitting you and/or your survival group in all manner of kit. I am assuming that you are asking about wilderness survival items,....and I am assuming that you are talking about the minimum items you would carry on your person as opposed to what is in a Bug Out Bag or on your vest, harness or web gear. So here are my comments:

Even though my Bug Out Bags are well equipped, there are some redundant items I will carry in my pockets or otherwise on my body. In my opinion, the most essential items of personal survival kit are a lighter and a knife. An example of redundancy is that I carry a small sealed packet with a butane lighter, storm matches and fire starting material as well as always having a small fixed blade knife..and this is on my body not on my assault vest or anything else I would or could normally take off in the field. So I guess if you are asking for a minimum requirement, this is it for me.

But your question is a good one as I am know re-visiting the idea of also adding a small vacuum packed bag with a couple adhesive bandages, larger one time anti-biotic ointment, and military battlefield dressing.

Survival is also heavily influenced by being prepared, so my Bug Out Bags also have several fire making items as well as a (backup) folding tactical knife, which the most prolific model I own is the CKRT M16 folder.

If you are fully dressed, but absent any external kit, when you find yourself in a pure wilderness survival situation, then you may also have several items of survival kit already in your possession: shoelaces, socks, t-shirts, buttons, belt, thread from unraveled clothing,....

However, the idea is not to find yourself separated from your larger items of kit such as your Bug Out Bag, Assault Vest and weapons. I received another question about having members within a group carry different items so the group would be better prepared,...but what if you find yourself alone? Everyone must be able to stand alone.

Now as afar as those belt survival kits,...if you are always going to carry it, then fine, but anything the size that would make it worthwhile will probably get in the way of wearing an assault vest or even simple tasks like driving,....but it doesn't keep this kit whore from having several different survival kit which I'll never use.

The latest manufactured kit I have is in a small nylon camera case with the following items: water purification pills; water purification drinking straw; small butane lighter; strike all storm matches; tinder kit; Silva compass; small button compass; two small Photon lights - one red and one white; two one quart 3 mil zip lock bags; survival blanket; mini multi-plier tool, mini V cutter; razor blades; 50 yards of mono-filament line; 20 feet of 550 cord; 25 feet of snare wire; small magnifying glass; small signal mirror;.....hell I'm probably missing if you are going to always carry a small external kit, these items may be considered. Hope I answered your question well enough. Prepare well, Urban Man.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Urban Survival Preparation - The State of the Economy, Spring 2011

Yesterday, the U.S. Government just hit the debt ceiling and now the Government is "borrowing" pension funds to keep the government afloat. This summer Home Foreclosures are projected to increase exponentially. The U.S. economy even with a sound dollar and low fuel prices would certainly feel this blow,...however add in the factors of commodities price inflation, devaluation of the dollar, high fuel prices and turmoil with oil suppliers,..and we have the recipe for a collapse.

It is interesting to unemotionally consider the causes, indicators and the effects of the collapse. Will there is a significant event to act as a catalyst? Will there just be an ever so gradual slide into a Greater Depression? At what point will the diminishing food supply and the increasing hungry masses be a factor? Will this result in sporadic or wide spread food riots? Will the Government use the Insurrection Act to deploy active duty military? Will AD military use lethal force on U.S. citizens?

We are about to reap what we have sown for so long. After all we have created an entitlement society where maybe 15% of the population expect someone, usually the Government, to provide for them. There are even polls out where a significant percentage of the people think the Government should provide housing, food and medical care.

The nation's debt is simply too big. It is unrecoverable. The U.S. Government has been spending like a drunken lottery winner for two decades. Going to the Chinese, the Japanese and other countries to borrow money to spend where the National Debt is over $14 trillion,....This year, the government is projected to spend $3.8 trillion with revenues at $2.2 trillion,......due the math - about 40% of this spending is from borrowed money and another $1.4 trillion added to the debt,...hence the requirement to increase the Nation's debt limit. And make NO mistake about it , this Government will due just that.

Social Security and Medicare, equal about 40% all Government spending.

The Military accounts for almost 20 percent.

Medicaid, which is actually some sort of necessity as it keeps poor people from becoming even poorer equals about 8 percent.

Interest (minimum) on the National debt, meaning payment sto China and others, is almost 6%. And it is not so simple as the U.S. defaulting on loan payments, like your neighbor did on his new vehicle. If the U.S. defaults an incredibly round of global economic repercussions will be felt.

So far, we have 74% of the Federal Budget. ....

Add in normal Government functions,.....well, okay, it is hard to call them normal when we have seen massive growth of the Federal Government,...people, powers and appetite wise. Anyway, this accounts for the rest of the budget,..around 26%.

Some of that can surely be cut without ruining this Country and cuasing wide spread rioting and even Anarchy. BUT 40%!!!

The Government has not choice but to raise taxes. This will of course de-stimulate the economy. Prices for fuel and food will continue to rise,....more people will be poor and hungry,.....all this will be the catalyst for the collapse, the only question is will be through significant steps or just a gradual decline in the abyss.

Does this change your survival preparations? Are you heading for your Bug Out location now? I think the answer is no to both. In fact, it should stimulate your preps. Factor in that most of us are dependent upon our jobs; our daily normal lives also impact quite a bit on our preps. I think the idea is to keep moving forward; better your Survival Preps each week, if not each day. Plan and prepare well and be safe,
Urban Man

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Survival Firearms - Cross Bow versus Supressors I received another comment on the Cross bow article: Anonymous said,…..I find the crossbow interesting - as in that zombie show the walking dead they put the crossbow to good use - but I agree that you better have a pistol or rifle on you as well if that need of a fast follow up shot is needed. But that then also mandates the need to plan ahead "if" that first crossbow shot does not do the task - to have a proper escape plan etc if you do then start with a loud weapon such as a rifle or handgun. I'm inclined to go ahead and get a silencer for a .22 and have that for any needed stealth situations - $200 for the tax stamp is not too big of a price - still far less then a decent crossbow even after you add in the actual cost of the silencer and the tax stamp itself.”,

UrbanMan replies:: Still cannot wrap my head around on the need for a crossbow. But Suppressors! Now that’s a good tool suitable for many applications. In fact, the current trend for military and law enforcement high end units is to use suppressors for about every mission set. And speaking of .22 LR Suppressors, I recently shot a Walther P-22 with a Gem-Tech Suppressor. This was a sweat set up. I have had previous experience with Gemtech with their excellent suppressors for the 5.7mm P-90, but we use Surefire QD cans for our M-4’s.

This is what Gemtech has to say about their .22 LR suppresors:

The Gemtech ALPINE is a user-servicable rimfire suppressor that is lightweight and requires no special tools to disassemble. Easy to take down and clean, it features high decible reduction, unique-to-Gemtech "Caged-K" baffles, which provide the strength needed for disassembly.

This allows the ALPINE to still offer the outstanding performance of the K-type baffles but without the weakness of an unprotected K as seen in fragile competing designs. Made of tough 7075 aerograde aluminum with non-galling titanium thread area, the ALPINE also features the distinctive and functional Gemtech grip surface on the rear which adds a distinctive, elegant touch to this premium suppressor.

At an overall length of 5.6 inches, weighing 3.7 ounces and finished in black matte hardcoat anodizing this is a robust little unit at $425.

Another Gemtech option is the OUTBACK-IID. This is a highly advanced thread mounting .22LR caliber suppressor adaptable to almost all .22LR rifles and pistols. For its tiny size, the OUTBACK-IID has premium level sound reduction dry with some of the lowest first round in the industry, outperforming many significantly larger units. While a true bargain, Gemtech doesn't skimp on quality: 7075 high tensile strength aluminum is used (not cheaper, weaker grades), a non-galling titanium thread mount area instead of cheap steels, and a stainless steel blast baffle is incorporated into the lightweight stack. It is finished in an attractive and durable matte hardcoat finish in black anodizing. Everything that makes up this silencer is premium, except the price.

It mates well with virtually any .22LR firearm which can have the barrel externally threaded. It is usable on pistols as well as a wide variety of .22 rimfire rifles. Since mounting to the firearm is accomplished by attachment to muzzle threads, the suppressor can be quickly removed for cleaning, compact carry, or storage.

IN SHORT: the best .22LR suppressor at the best price; a true "Sweet Spot" between sonic performance, price, size, and weight. The Outback-II is America 's most popular suppressor for many good reasons, all backed by Gemtech's proven decades of the best customer service in the business!

At an overall length of the OUTBACK-IID is 5.0 inches, weighing 2.5 ounces and finished in black matte. The cost is $325.

Gemtech products or contact with Gemtech, an Idaho based company, can be made through their website:

And/or through their blogsite:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Urban Survival comments on Rawles' American Redoubt article

Someone sent me a link to James Wesley Rawles' Survivalblog and asked me to comment on his article of 28 March entitled “Move to the Mountain States – The American Redoubt”

Read the article here:

Rawles, author of “Patriots”, writes: “I'm now urging that folks Get Out Of Dodge for political reasons--not just for the family preparedness issues that I've previously outlined. There comes a time, after a chain of abuses when good men must take action. We've reached that point, folks!”

Rawles makes sense in his article. Urging people to re-locate to a safe area, and in this case he suggests Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington. He further suggests that Utah, Nevada, North and South Dakota wouldn’t make the criteria and explains why.

Additionally, Rawles provides a combined before and after move checklist, which much of it is great advice even if you are planning to Bug In at your present day site or homestead even if it outside the “American Redoubt”.

The person who asked me to comment on this article did not provide any other guidance on what he expected out of my comments, so my first comments are focused on the fact that moving to this geographical area is not possible for the vast majority of the population. Call it the reality of life. Unless you are well off, most of us need our current jobs and very little room to maneuver when selecting job sites or duty locations. The current housing crunch makes it damn near impossible to sell our homes. Other reason to make a move impractical are: family and friends that we need to stay geographically close to, that either rely on us, or we on them; and, what if the collapse just does not happen? Although I am convinced that life as we know is going to change,…what remains to be seen is just how bad it is going to be.

I am going to comment on some of the bullet’s Rawles wrote under the header “Your Checklist”:

If you buy an existing house, get one with an extra bedroom or two. Some relatives may be joining you, unexpectedly. The larger issue is planning how you are going to house, feed and integrate any newcomers to your survival group be they relatives, friends, people who skills and temperament are needed and would likely fit in,…..and even people you may have to detain. I have four military cots, two fold up commercial cots and two air mattresses, not to mention a spare bed room and four couches suitable for sleeping on. If you work in shifts, the need for sleeping platforms decreasing as you can ”hot bunk” at least for awhile.

Develop a home-based business. Lighten the load. Keep the practical items but sell your junk and impractical items at a garage sale. Sell your jewelry and fancy wristwatch. What this means to me is to become more secure financially. Eliminating debt is a good place to start. Although the question begs to be answered,…”If the collapse hits who is going to be collecting debt?....especially in worthless fiat currency?” You can raise cash for Silver purchases or for any survival equipment or material by selling things you don’t need. Be careful not to replace it with stuff you don’t need. A home based business can bring in an extra stream of income, especially ifi you choose the right business: Make sure the company is respected and has a high level of support; make sure the products or services are top quality; and, make sure the compensation plan is fair.

Sell your sports car and buy a reliable crew cab pickup. Absolutely, you need to have a suitable Survival – Bug Out vehicle. Crew Cab pickups are better than SUV’s as they can generally carry much more; can serve as personal carriers and are very well suited foraging expeditions. Four wheel drive is a plus. A winch is a great idea. For urban dwellers, SUV’s fit in. A good place to start looking is the Toyota FJ series vehicle.

I do not suggest selling your television set. With continued service, contact with the outside world is a possibility to learn what is happening or to even analyze government BS when they start to spin it. Sure, a radio is a necessity, but a television backs that up, plus you can play DVD’s through a cheap player on a television to provide some much needed entertainment, or even educational material, from time to time,..especially for children.

Anyway, advice everyone to read Rawles article and keep his site bookmarked so you can get to it a few times a week to see what is new. Be safe, prepare well, Urban Man.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Urban Survival Planning - Defending Jim's Last Article (Chapter 24)

From UrbanMan: Wow! Never thought Jim's posts would generate so much skunk! Took me back to a much earlier age where by ex-wife was having a piece of me!

Let me tell you about Jim (not his real name of course). Jim works government contracts in the Information/Technology/Computer hardware field. He was working in my office one day where he heard us talking about guns and he asked "if we carry guns all the time, why do we need a bunch of personal guns at home?" Therefore Jim was started to be exposed to Survivalist thinking, and preparing for any type of collapse,....and this was about the same time I opened this site. In fact Jim was one of the people who urged me to do this. Up until then if you asked Jim what he thought about Preppers, he would be thinking right wing, cammie clad, six fingered inbred extremists.

I thought it would be a good idea to have a person newly exposed to the survival preparation concept write a periodic article for this site. Jim agreed. I edit his writing very little.

In the past, what? maybe 16 months?......Jim has bought about six to eight months of prepared, long term food as well as added a routine to stock a months worth of pantry items. He has also bought silver and a little gold. Being predisposed not to like firearms, Jim now has several,....not the guns I would suggest for survival, but what he was mentally willing to have.

Not hurting for money at all, he has also acquired a lot of survival gear: tents, sleeping bags, all mmanner of odds and ends,.....good rugged clothing and boots,....

Jim's son is in college about 50 miles away. Jim has raised his son by himself since his wife was killed in auto accident when the boy was seven years old. He has introduced his son to the survivalist mentality where his son thinks it is "cool". I have helped Jim developed some "no comms" plans and linkup points. He not only understands the concept of this but has taken to my instruction in "load signals", and "far - near recognition and danger signals". Since he finished his contract at our facility, I don't see him very much, but communicate mostly by e-mail. It's kinda hard to teach him field or trade craft from an e-mail or even over the phone, but he was an apt student early on.

Jim has developed a plan to bug in but also a contingency to bug out to a safe location in a family cabin next to a government forest. He has also emplaced several small caches there. I have reviewed his primary, alternate, contingency and emergency routes from our City to his son's college and from both locations to the cabin and think he got a A+ in this endeavor.

He has made it a point to learn how to read a map and use a compass. And has conducted practicals at this art which is being replaced by GPS in this day and age.

Anonymous said in response to Jim's Chapter 24: ....stopping by the store to buy another gun and ammo? seriously? i almost laughed out loud when i read that one,......I re-read Jim's article and he said "I would have liked to stop in at the sporting goods store of a gun shop and buy another gun..." I think Jim's has the common sense to avoid situations he is unprepared for. Entering into a mob scene at a retail location would be one of them.

Maybe Jim and the Anonymous commenter both assumed alot on the scenario I gave Jim. My intent was to get Jim to think about items and material he is going to need, so he doesn't have to rely on trying to battle massive hordes for that all important lantern mantel, or box of matches or second propane tank.

Anyway, exercises develop lessons learned,...the idea is to learn from these lessons. I think Jim did. He just bought an SKS a couple days ago, for $180 including three detachable 30 round magazines, however the SKS was in the original stock with the semi fixed box magazine. Jim e-mailed me to tell me about his purchase and to find out how to convert the gun to using the detachable magazines.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Urban Survival Weapons - Cross Bow versus another Survival Firearms

Reader Question: I have several handguns, most notably a .44 magnum Ruger Redhawk and a 9mm Ruger. My main SHTF gun is a Hungarian AK. I think I am pretty well covered for firearms. I am thinking on acquiring a cross bow for several reasons. It is quiet, I can use it for hunting and I can make my own arrows for it. I am interested if you or anyone else has any experience in cross bows for survival situations and if it makes sense to put a scope on it?

UrbanMan replies: I would consider the cross bow a very inadequate survival or defensive weapon. The many movies that depict a silent sentry removal using a cross bow are fantasy. I never saw them in our inventory or anyone else's. They are inaccurate at all but short ranges and the "arrow", actually called a bolt, is highly affected by the wind, not to mention any vegetation between you and the target. The effective range for a highly skilled archer would be around 20 yards in my opinion,..... you miss or need an additional bolt into your target, then re-loading time will make that second shot immaterial. And since the cross bolt head or broadhead is much bigger that a bullet and going much slower, this means a much higher chance of deflecting off of bone at anything other than a perpendicular angle to the target. I would forget about the cross bow.

You do not mention if you own a 12 gauge shotgun. Or a .22 LR rifle. I would consider these much, much more important for a Survival Firearms battery. Both are common calibers; have a much better range; and, can be more effectively used for hunting. Plus there is nothing like a 12 gauge shotgun for defensive purposes at short ranges.

If the AKM, a good and reliable weapon, is your primary survival firearm, then I would also consider acquiring a few of the new polymer AK magazines, from U.S. P.A.L.M. that I wrote about in a previous post. I have tested these magazines and they are excellent. They have a self leveling follower; are steel lined around the feed lips; and have several holes in the follower where dirt and debris can be shook out of the magazine as you cannot disassemble these magazines. This company also makes a P-Mag type magazine for M-4 (AR type .223 rifles) but I have not had a chance to test it yet.

A good crossbow cost several hundred dollars, should use this money for a 12 gauge shotgun or .22 LR firearm, preferable a rifle. In fact, for the $400 I saw on some Crossbow prices, you could get both.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Survival Firearms - AK-47/AKM Accessories

For those of you with Kalashnikov's (AK-47 or AKM variants), US P.A.L.M. which is a division of SGC Global Industries is producing some very good enhancements and accessories.

Visit U.S. P.A.L.M. at

One of U.S. P.A.L.M.'s newest products is a polymer 30 round AK Magazine, called the AK30.


This new 30 round magazine fits all AK-47 rifles that use detachable double-stack magazines. The AK30 is constructed of proprietary aerospace polymers developed by Tango Down. The AK30 sets itself apart from other polymer magazines with its purpose-built design and multiple unique features:

No Floor Plate. By eliminating the removable floor plate and bonding the body and end-cap produces a very strong magazine. There is a semi-floating follower that is slotted to allow for easy magazine cleaning. Just dunk the magazine in hot soapy water, rinse and invert to drain. Dry contamination easily flows free through the vented follower design.

Magazine Spring. The AK30 features a chromium-silicon spring that is heat treated, stress relieved and US Mil Spec corrosion resistant coated. Life expectancy for this spring is 100,000+ cycles.

Internal stainless cage. The locking surfaces are reinforced by a stainless steel cage that has been molded into the entire top of the magazine to further ensure reliability for years of trouble free service.

External. This magazine has aggressive ridges on the front and rear allow a positive purchase when seating the AK30 into the rifle. The deep waffle pattern on the magazine sides assist in rapid extraction from magazine pouches, and positive manipulation.

Upon shooting several magazines, we discerned no discernible wear on the surfaces bearing on the magazine. Although we love P-Mag's for our M-4's, we cannot say the same about them.


U.S. P.A.L.M. also makes an AK Assault Chest Rig, called the AK Attack Rack.  This ain;t your momma's chest rig,......we have not got our hands on this yet, but appears to be worth looking at for anyone who owns an AK or AKM and has a hard time finding a rig for their 30 round magazines.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Urban Survival - Questions on Growing Crops

I guess that in this period of rising food costs, people (and not just survivalists) are growing crops on their property. Most of the readers of this site are sure to be familiar with the book "Square Foot Gardening" which is a great resource for efficiently growing vegetables in small plots.

I have receive a couple of e-mails asking me questions like: "what are you growing"; "what I recommended for certain climates or growing latitudes"; "how much room do I have to grow vegetables and what do I do to make the best use of the space as possible", and some other questions as well.

If you are reading this site then you are most probably prepping to survive a collapse, it an economic collapse, or some sort of terrorist event or anything that makes surviving very difficult without prior planning and preparation. I have been growing vegetables in my suburban location every year for the past five years for several purposes: 1 - it's cheap to do and good to practice growing crops even when you don't really need them; and 2 - in case an unexpected collapse hits then I have a jump start on growing vegetables.

In my backyard I am currently growing 6 Squash plants, 8 Cucumbers plants, 2 rows of Green Beans each six feet long, 2 rows of Corn each six feet long and 1 row of Onions in plant beds alongside my rock wall. I am now about out of space alongside my wall, as I also have a couple dwarf fruit trees, from which the Apricot trees are producing.

I also have a couple of bucket containers with squash and grapes in them and am planning on doing some square container gardening in a week or two, planting some egg plant, more squash, more onions and maybe some carrots or beets.

Every year I have included the "big three": Squash, Corn and Beans. This is the primary fare of first Pilgrims, taught to grow it from the local Indians they first made contact with.

I have lots of rice, macaroni, pinto and black beans stored. I plan on using the vegetables in different capacities to augment rice and pasta sort of like Jambalaya.

I use store bought hybrid and non-hybird seeds, saving my heirloom seed kits for when the SHTF. I have had good luck of any seed from Gurnseys and Ferry-Morse. Ferry-Morse, which should be available in your local Home Depot or Lowes, sells a 100% certified organic seeds that have a high percentage of sprouting.

I have some railroad ties used in my flower beds and landscaping. These are readily available not only to pull inside the house and use as small arms protection under the windows, but I can situate these in the back yard and turn my whole backyard into a survival garden. I keep some 1x4 inch boards in my garage to also use in this endeavor.

I have a green house kit, still in the box, and will get that up and running when the need to grow crops during the colder months becomes apparent.

So in summary I guess I saying that squash, corn, beans, cucumbers and onions are my mainstay crops. I think everyone needs to grow now to get those lessons learned. I think everyone also needs to think about how are they going to eat during the colder months. Use up all your stored foods? Better to learn to can or preserve what you grow and look into running a greenhouse. Last suggestion would be to buy the book "Square Foot Gardening" - this is a good asset to have in your survival bookshelf.....but read it before you need it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Survival Chronicles of Jim - Chapter 24 Dry Run

I have been working on the Survival Preps upgrade that UrbanMan recommended I do over a month ago. I purchased more .22 LR, 12 gauge and Mosin-Nagant rounds and six collapsible one gallon water containers from Wal-Mart.

If you remember, UrbanMan told me to replace the basement door and put on better locks. Well, about two weeks ago I was downstairs moving things around and had the basement door open but the screen door closed. I noticed about 10 teenagers hanging out by the base of mountain I live next to. I watched them for a minute or so two and determined they were no threat so I went on abut my business, but no longer than maybe one minute later, I looked up and several of them were there at my screen door asking for water.

The fact that these teenagers close the distance to my door and the fact that the only thing between them and me if they intended bad things was a lousy screen door. I had the door replaced two days later. I have not installed a solar powered motion detecting light over this areas,....yet, but will here in a couple days, as well as get those battery powered motion alarms that UrbanMan told me to get from Radio Shack.

But the latest stunt that UrbanMan pulled on me was a call yesterday and he said: "Jim, the news just said that a metorite was heading to earth, and would impact in three hours twenty minutes (3h, 20m) from right now. It, with it's massive EMP, is projected to wipe out all electronics, computers and everything in the U.S. What are you doing to do?"

I said: "Are you for real? I'd go get my son at college. I think his car is still in the shop." UrbanMan replied: "After that, what? It will take you maybe 2 hours to get him and return. You have maybe one hour and 20 minutes to gathered up last minute supplies and material. What are you going to get?"

I realized this was a game,...bad word,....okay it was an exercise. UrbanMan said he would call back in 10 minutes. So I had 10 minutes to determine my plan. This is what I came up with:

Call my son and tell him to get ready for pickup, but to also go to the corner store and buy all the bottled cases of water and canned goods he would get on the credit card I have already given him for emergencies.

After I pick him up, we would return to the house but stop and buy as much water and canned goods as we can, primarily from Wal-Mart, but if Wal-Mart was too busy I would hit the local Family Dollar store just down the street. I would also load up boxed rice dishes, crackers such as Triscuits, Wheat Thins and Saltines, then stop at the local Chevron and fill up my car and empty gas cans I have in the garage. I would have liked to stop in at the sporting goods store of a gun shop and buy another gun, but I don't think I would have the time to make it home before the EMP hit.

UrbanMan called back and I told him my plan. He said "Jim, here's the deal,... ...when notified of an impending disasters, many people will panic,..some will sit still for awhile before they panic,...and some will resort to substantial mob rule...which will make last minute procurement a dangerous event. You still have not placed the intruder lights and alarms in your home, upped your first aid kit, nor bought a second pair of good boots. Trying to buy another or better gun or even ammunition, when everyone knows TEOTWAWKI is here, is probably too late. The purpose of this exercise was to determine what you need and make it a priority to procure now, instead of waiting until the last minute. You and everyone else are probably always going to use some of the last minute time to stockpile food and water. "

Point taken Urban Man,...I am not as prepared as I need to be.