Brushbeater: Quantity vs. Quality: Putting the Handheld Radio in Context

Here’s some really good info and clarification by Brushbeater on the differences between Survivalist commo and Tactical commo.

During the Communications presentation at the PatCon I focused primarily upon the common radio equipment among preppers and survivalists- CB radio because of its inherent commonality (and overcoming potential weaknesses) and the Baofeng UV-5R because it’s cheap and everyone owns them ‘BY THE CASE!’ as one gentleman in attendance pointed out. While that’s all good and well to have plenty of units in the field, and there’s a lot that can be done with them for those thinking outside the box, the ubiquitous  chicom handheld is FAR from ideal for any use other than an inexpensive testbed for antennas or running alternative modes going beyond just pressing a button and talking. The prevailing issue is that people want to do what is not easy to accomplish alone without knowledge of limitations- compounded in part by equipment and a larger part by knowledge.

There exists a strong differentiation which must be made; Survivalist or Retreat Communications is a different animal from Tactical Communications.

I frequently get questions regarding Retreat Communications and have run  classes to address those needs- the backbone of which is Rugged Line of Sight Communications.

The former focuses solely on creating a parallel network to conventional communications, frequently (especially amongbeginners) in the form of local-scale networking around a retreat area. Growing up this was done by CB radio for our hunting club and in my later teen years by the Motorola Talkbout FRS units on foot with a CB in the truck. For localized security or communications with neighbors in a rural area this is relatively easy to do. Analog systems are fine for getting this done provided you understand that a) it’s NOT secure nor private by any means and b) it’s not the same as tactical communications. Tactical needs are different and involve attempting to mitigate the reception of your signal by potential OPFOR (the whole reason you’re being tactical- and the opposite of survivalist focus) so this means limited antennas to reduce the signal your putting out from the radio on your kit,

5element Yagi
Yagis are easily constructed and ‘beam’ a signal along the desired azimuth. Even for an analog signal, it provides at least a bit of security as well as focusing all of your radiated energy in one direction vs. the omni directional antenna you’re used to. Think flashlight vs. lantern.

directional antennas for longer distance transmissions, and creating pre-planned transmission points and times during the planning phase in order to add security to your communications, even if analog and unencrypted. And if you want an actual real-life feedback on the use of the UV-5R in a warzone, read this from fighters in Ukraine.

Once you’re done reading that, you can come back and we’ll work a little harder on squaring you away.

During the lecture I identified three common patterns among those new to preparedness communications:

  1. I want a secure way to talk to people I care about.
  2. I don’t really care about a hobby; I just want this to work.
  3. I want it to be simple and maximize its functionality.

This thought process is entirely understandable, considering the task at hand, but having a bunch of stuff on hand doesn’t exactly satisfy our above identified needs. First, all handhelds are extremely limited in range out of the box. Experienced guys know that the stock antenna is usually just about worthless, even on higher-end units. Antennas, as we talked about, make a world of difference and external purpose-built antennas are like night and day. Second, the common thinking among ex-military guys is that my equipment here works the same as the stuff I used while I was in. And that’s problematic thinking at best. I was an 11B, and in all of the various places I served there was an S6 or communications department that had already identified our needs and the equipment supplied and had it all down to an exact science- using the Line Unit example, Squad A will get XXX range with this PRC-147 or 152 and will get XXX range from this 117G in this area of operation, from which they will not deviate.

If you look carefully at the illustration, you’ll notice there’s two frequencies (f1) and (f2). The Retransmit vehicle in the center is performing the same function as a repeater would, only mobile.

We’re only working with line of sight equipment in the low VHF band at the unit level and do not expect it to do anything other than what it does. If need be, we can set a re-transmitter (retrans) site as a relay to the rear when we plan our mission. Large scale mechanized maneuvers always utilize retrans sites and the mech guys who wrote or briefed Paragraph 5 of their Operations Orders remember this well. But above all, the S6 shack knows exactly what their gear is capable of with the assigned equipment. For survivalist communications, that retrans site would be the communications center of our retreat.

Building your own infrastructure is not so simple without experienced people to help you. You are your own S6 trying to get all this sorted out before the big dance and the field is broad and confusing on a good day, even more so if you’ve simply taken the ham cram and disappeared without talking to the more seasoned guys grading your exam. It is critical to understand:

  • You are not an Infantry Unit.
  • At best, you’re an irregular group based on voluntary participation and lack any of the supporting assets an Infantry Unit requires for survival.
  • You are your own S6. 
  • You have an unpredictable set of needs to address.

It’s super common to get confused, especially if all that you’re doing is snapping up and stashing kit without working through its bugs or thinking past plug n’ play. In addition, life deployed for contemporary conflicts doesn’t exactly correlate to making one a know-all survivalist (although it puts you FAR ahead of the curve). During the discussion it was brought up that one should strive to pick up Tech and General in the same sitting, with one very experienced gentleman disagreeing, pointing out that you should want to get to Extra for the additional learning it requires. And he’s exactly right. You should force yourself to learn the most even if you’re only doing the ham cram. It’s impossible to do if all you’re doing is waiting for that non-existent time when ‘I don’t need no license!'(if that’s your attitude by the way, stop reading this blog- we both have better stuff to do). Right now some folks are asking ‘If it’s so complicated why bother with it anyway?’ That’s simple. Having even a Technician-class license provides the absolute most options- far beyond anything license-free stuff provides and will make you lightyears smarter about implementing the license-free stuff if you’re still using it (and there’s no reason not to, by the way).

This is a Yaesu VX-5R, which has been discontinued for a long while but is widely known as not only a rugged and versatile unit but is quite simple to operate. This one was purchased from a local Ham buddy for $25. I bought both of his. It’s been opened up, and in addition to transmitting on 6m, 2m, 220, and 70cm, and everywhere in between, it can also receive everything from Shortwave to Airband and above- capability the Baofengs can’t match. Pictured with an improvised Moxon beam antenna, this system is just about as flexible and capable as it gets- for less than $50 total.

You learn why and how your stuff works. And for those who embrace it, you get plugged into a network of vast resources. One of those resources is the ability to try stuff before you buy it and even in many cases offer lightly used gear at cheap prices.

Which brings us to our kit selection. Most of you out there own the ubiquitous Baofeng in one of its many incarnations, despite the fact that over and over it’s flaws have been well documented. But going back to our three points of mindset noted above, y’all buy them because they’re cheap and they work at least for a while. They shine in one area- an inexpensive learning tool. If you happen to burn one up from building an antenna and not checking the impedance match (the value your SWR indicates…also described as an efficiency rating of your antenna) or going far past the intended duty cycle (the talk-to-standby time ratio…in other words, how hot it can get during use without doing crazy stuff on its own like transmit across the entire spectrum it covers…something the UV-5R is notorious for) you’re not heartbroken. It can be a decent enough testbed for a low power repeater design, an inexpensive Packet transmitting platform (uh what??? Really??? Yes, really- but that requires some knowledge building that we might cover in the future.) or antenna designs without destroying more expensive units. But to be blunt, the Part-90 certification is a joke and these things should never be considered for anything other than standby use or for what I describe in this post from over a year ago. If you’re a survivalist or prepper your focus should be investing in kit that can take abuse for the long haul- stuff you can stake your life on, because the reality is that this is your aim anyway (and if it’s not, and you’re just buying cheap because it’s cheap you’re fooling yourself or playing a game). If you’re a militant of any kind buying cheap crap for the sake of having something equates failure as well. That’s the context of which you should be viewing all of your gear; this is stuff you must be able to rely upon when the chips are down. It should not be a matter of cost-per-unit comparison, as that logic is the same as saying a Hi Point is just as good as a Glock only because you can buy two of those for the cost of one of the other- it’s absurd. And while there absolutely IS a threshold of diminishing returns (such as comparing CZs to Sigs- CZ makes a better gun at a better price) the quality between extremes is night and day; you get what you pay for. And besides, good commo kit doesn’t need a flashlight on it. 



HAM Advice From Warrior Capitalist

Here’s some good HAM advice



The ham radio license seems one of the bigger preparedness mysteries. Communications will be very important in any event, whether a local event, a regional event (usually weather), or an all out, nationwide event. The previous requirement of knowing Morse Code was enough to scare many away. Fortunately things have changed for the better, at least for Private Defense Network (PDN) purposes.

An amateur radio license is really a license to experiment. This does not concern us, initially. Many of you will get hooked and go on to experiment, and we encourage that. There is much to know about ham radio and best learned on the job.

This article is designed to get you on the air in a week or less, with a radio, for around $100. Usually less.

Since we are taking a different approach attaining your ham radio license, we suggest you first get a radio. You’ve seen this if you’ve been looking: The Baofeng is probably the best beginner’s radio. Well, it’s cheap and it works well enough for a first time user. After you get your license you may find yourself in a spiral of more capable and expensive radios, but the Baofeng will work. Breaking a thirty some dollar radio is much better than breaking one that costs several hundred dollars. (Trust us: We’ve done it.) Buying the Baofeng will give you something tangible to play with while studying for the test. You can program it and listen to radio traffic. Instructions and videos are available on the net. It’s cheap, you’ll outgrow it quickly, but it will make an acceptable start and an adequate backup when you upgrade to an ICOM, Yaesu, Motorola, etc.
How and where to begin

Earning your license requires you to pass a test. There are three different licenses available. This study method works well for the first two, the technician and General license. The third, the Extra Class license, is its own animal. The technician license will get you talking regionally and will be most useful for local communications in a disaster: Getting news in and out of the area or communicating with family members in a bad situation. The General class license opens up regional and worldwide communications, independent of infrastructure.

The tests are structured to help you earn your license without spending months or years understanding the subject. The technician test consists of 35 questions from a pool of 426. Each question has four multiple choice answers. Passing the test requires you to answer 26 of these questions correctly. These tests are administered monthly by Volunteer Examiners from the American Radio and Relay League (ARRL). There is no charge for the license, but the ARRL charges $15 to cover the costs of administering the test. That $15 and the $50 or so dollars you spent on the Baofeng and accessories gets you to the “100 dollars or less”.
Step 1: Finding a testing location

Finding a test in your area is quite simple. Go to, enter your zipcode, and pick a convenient location and time. Some tests require pre-registration. Pick a test that is a week or more out and commit to it. Note that DSI can administer the test at your location.
Step 2: Finding the questions

There is an excellent resource out there that will be the focus of your study: The site is easy to understand and contains all of the questions on all of the tests. We will focus on the technician exam. Selecting the technician section will yield three choices: study test questions, read test questions, and practice test.
Step 3: Familiarizing yourself with the questions

Some with an electronics background might instantly recognize the answers to the questions. For others, it might seem like gibberish. We’ve personally directed people to this site and all who have committed to the test have passed. For some it took a just a few hours of study, for others it took up to a week, but that was for the general exam. (Note that you must pass the technician exam to take the general, and so on.). Assuming you can dedicate an hour or two a day for a week, spend the first study period using the read question option. You will quickly determine whether this will be easy or require more effort. All of the questions are presented with the answer as well as the incorrect answers. You should be able to read through the all of the questions in your first study period.
Step 4: Flash Cards

After your first study period, move on to the flash card section. The questions presented to you cover the different subject areas of the test. You can click on the answer you think is correct and it is graded, the correct answer shown, and context. Your progress will be shown on the right side of the page.

Many of the questions fall into the common sense category. You will also notice that the questions that directly concern ham radio such as specific regulations, frequencies, and schematics will present an obvious answer with three not so plausible distractors.

On the last two study sessions before the real test you to want to move to the practice test section. These questions are specifically chosen from the pool as they appear on the actual test. You will be presented with 35 questions. Each question is selected from the different subsections, so this is more accurate in predicting your score on the actual test.

Each exam is graded upon completion, with the questions you missed linked to their sub section. You have the option to review the test: Please use it. The question you answered incorrectly will be shown with the correct answer. Remember, you must answer 26 of the 35 answers correctly on the exam. Before grade inflation, we called this a C. For the last two study sessions, take the tests over and over until you can pass 9 out of 10. We haven’t had a person who followed this method fail, yet.
Step 5: The Test

If you’ve diligently put in seven honest days of study, you should recognize the correct answers. You may have found that a few nagging questions you can never seem to get right, but for the most part you can answer the questions by just seeing the first few words of the question. Please read the entire question anyway. It helps with nerves.

Don’t forget to bring your $15 IN CASH with you to your test. When you arrive, you will be greeted by three Volunteer Examiners. These are three fellow amateur radio operators that have taken time to administer your test. You will be handed a booklet containing the questions, and a bubble sheet for answers.

We recommend you take tests, especially multiple choice tests, in this fashion: Sit down, relax, organize your scratch paper and pencil (It helps to jot down any formulas.), and take a look at the first question. If your studying has produced an amateur radio expert, the answer should be readily apparent. If it isn’t, don’t despair: SKIP the question. Move on to question two, same here. Ensure you don’t mark a skipped question inadvertantly. It helps to check every five or so questions. Answer the questions for which you are POSITIVE and SKIP the ones for which you are not sure. Do this all of the way to the end of the exam. When you get to the end, go back and count the number of questions answered. Our observation is most of people answer at least 26. Go back and make you best guess on the remaining questions. Even if you weren’t POSITIVE of at least 26 you are close, and logic will get you over the hump. You may wish to look online for test taking strategies. Our goal is to get you licensed, then trained, not to make you engineers.

Your test will be graded by each of the Volunteer Examiners. If you breezed through the technician exam, you can take your general exam on the same day if you wish. You won’t have to pay an additional $15 (cash) to take it. Many take all three exams in one sitting.

Getting a license isn’t difficult. If you are willing to put in a few hours over the course of a week, you are on the way to a stronger PDN. We realize this article is more about studying and test taking than amateur radio, but the resources listed tell you everything you need and take the mystery out of the process. Becoming a skilled ham is a lifelong process.

Don’t forget to join a local club. This is fun, as well as important, and hams love to help.



Selco’s Questions And Guidance For SHTF


Bushbastard 3 class2-9.JPG

In SHTF, will you have this option?

Question #1, Can you survive for a few days with what you have on your person and with what you know?

Question #2. Do you have survival supplies and resources stashed in a place that cannot be accessed by anyone but you and maybe a trusted friend or family member?

Question #3. If you had to, could you take wild game with the concealed carry gun that you carry every day (you do carry it every day…. right)?

Question #4. What defines your ability to survive? Is it your accumulation of gear and supplies, your accumulated skills and training, or a combination of both?

Question #5. How long can you survive in the city or the woods without interacting with others, and where are you better off?

Common dress MDT Class 16-3-2-2

When SHTF (whatever that may be), which will you more than likely be dressed like?

Here’s some of Selco’s thoughts,


Full Circle…?


I wrote my first survival article-comment some 7 years ago, and I still remember why I wrote it, what “pushed” me to sit down and write it so people who read/discuss survival over the internet for years can read my opinion.

I was checking the survival forums to learn something about wilderness survival because I found I missing lot of knowledge there, and then I stumbled upon discussion about what real SHTF looks like and will look like in the future.

And simply there I realize how whole survival movement foundation is messed up, or built on the wrong perception.

It is like digging through a whole bunch of other people good skills and opinions (together with wrong ones of course) but completely misplaced and misguided.

After writing that first article years ago, I am still writing and trying to point out my view of things, and my way is learned through the experience of 4 years of civil war in a destroyed society.

I still do not know lot of things, I do not know how to operate 20 different weapons, I am not ex special forces member, I do not know how to survive in prolonged period in wilderness, and I am still learning lot of things from different kind of people, on internet and forums and in physical courses too.

But I know how I survived SHTF and how real SHTF looks like, and the real problem is that it definitely does not look like majority of preppers imagine it.

Over time, a lot of my articles are telling the story about same thing on different ways, and it might look like I am telling same story over and over, but again, I am writing from real experience and there are good reasons why I am pointing out the same things often.

So please allow me to address again some common misconception about SHTF.

Changing From “Before to Now”

Starting problem about SHTF misconception is that people have problems to imagine something that they are not experienced in, so if you have not experienced collapse of society you will “build” your opinion about it based on many things: other people experiences, books, movies, documentaries…

When you add to this a whole survival industry of selling things for “doomsday” you going to end up forming your opinion about how life in collapse will look like based on some weird things, and as an result your prepping and expectation may be completely wrong.

For example, you have been bombarded with information from internet that if you buy some product you’ll be not only safe when SHTF but also you’ll thrive and you gonna have something like best time of your life in the middle of collapse.

Now when you multiply this with many numbers (products) you end up buying peace of mind for yourself built on fact that someone wants to earn money from your fears.

And it is not biggest problem, real problem waking up one morning in the collapse realizing that you have whole bunch of things that simply do not work for your situation.

I like to use example that I have read long time ago, about transportation in city when SHTF. One guy offer idea of using skateboard in urban SHTF as transport, and lot of other folks commented that is good idea.

On first look it is great idea, no fuel, no cars or buses, so skateboard as a transport means looks good.

Only problem here is that probably man who mentioned it never experienced real urban SHTF so he can not know how useless idea it is.

Or to put it really short:

When SHTF city services will collapse, street are pretty soon simply full of everything, there are other people in the city too, because services are gone there are not enough resources and because of that other people will simply almost always mean possible danger, so point is to avoid people, or to be quiet when moving, so…

You need to stop to think in terms of normal times, you need change your priorities when SHTF, it is a different time.

For example moving fastest (or most comfortable) stops to be priority, new priority is to move safest (or quiet) or you need to stop to think about having coolest things but new priority is to have things that will work for your situation best.

Value Of The Things

Again it is about thinking in new terms, in the terms when SHTF, and those terms are completely different then in normal times.

I have kind of survival philosophy where my goal is to be ready to survive with as least things as possible, and it is like everything else based on my experienced SHTF.

What that means?

By developing and learning skills and techniques I am trying to be less depended on physical things.

In reality that does not mean that when SHTF I will immediately  bug out to the wilderness with knife only, no, I too have preps and things, stashes and plans, weapons, meds etc.

It means when times come I am READY  to leave all of that, EVERYTHING – all my possessions, and move away in split second if that means I will save my life.

Are you ready for that?

Are you gonna be able to leave all your preps that you were buying for years, all your fancy weapons, stashes of cans etc and run with what you have on you?

Or you gonna die in “blaze of glory” defending simple physical things?

Survival is about resilience, to move on and on, to overcome difficult situations and come back again.

Do not get attached on physical things, no matter how expensive they are, or how fancy they are, or even if people promised that you’ll “survive and thrive” if you own that things when SHTF.

Life is precious, things are just things.

Problem here is that survival movement today is built on the way that preppers are “forced” to believe that they can not survive if the do not own particular survival product, so as an result there is gonna be bunch of preppers get shot because they defending physical things that someone told them they really need to have when SHTF.

I was refugee more then once, I still remember the moment when all my possessions were an old Browning pistol with three rounds, T- shirt, boots (with wet socks inside) and pants that could stand on its own because of how dirty they were…

I have lost all my other physical possessions, everything was torched or taken away, If I stayed my life would be taken away too in a very painful way.

I run, and survived, and fought again for survival.

And you know what? I bought all the things again.

Things can be obtained again, life can not.

Sometimes you just have to move on and forget on physical things that are dear to you.


One of the topics that I’m most reluctant to discuss about because I find it really personal, but it is there, it is important, so some things need to be considered.

And I’ll be short here, because it is personal for me, and every one of you should think about it for itself.

Yes, there were times when I simply had to reach deep in myself and connect to something higher, to find some sense, to have faith in order to not lost my mind or kill myself because everything was falling apart around me.

So faith is important, or spirituality, or some kind of moral values-call it as you like.

You need to have something!

But problem here is that people often think if they are good folks by the nature, everybody else is good by default (until proven otherwise?).

Through my experience I adopt opinion that everybody is bad until proven different (even if I am good guy)

Or let me put it like this, in really bad times, when everything going to s…t you ll see more bad folks then good folks, so be prepared for that…



Will you be fortunate enough to have some basic gear, and maybe even a dog who can help with camp security?

Selco mentions his experience of having everything taken from him, and only surviving with what he had on his person (pistol, t-shirt, pants, wet socks, boots). The reason for not having all your eggs in one basket is clearly illustrated here. This is an obvious reason for having a multiple “bucket cache” system in place in a number of areas that will be accessible in a time of need. A smock kit like the one illustrated in this post would also be awesome to have in a pinch.


While a Kel Tec P3AT .380ACP pistol is a great little lightweight carry pistol, it’s abilities don’t really extend beyond self defense. Not much bigger, but definitely better than the P3AT for small game is the Kel Tec PF-9 9mm on the right.

The reason I asked about your ability with your concealed carry pistol is simple. Although a .32ACP or a .380 is as convenient as it gets in the concealed carry category, accuracy and range are two things they are not known for (the .380 PPK is the exception in my experience in the accuracy department). Except for my Kel Tec .380, I know all the pistols I carry will accurately take small game because I have done just that with them. While having an understanding that what you carry for self defense will take game is good, the primary purpose of your concealed carry pistol is to defend ones self, and the model and caliber you select should be picked primarily for that attribute.

Battery Post3

Great, you’ve got a battery of weapons for SHTF, but what if you can’t get back to them. If you have to take off, one long gun and two handguns is about the limit you’ll be able to carry.

What would be some of the bucket cache items you would want to secret away? Three things I can think of right off the bat would be traps some fishing gear, and a compact survival rifle like an AR-7. Those items along with a few types of fire starters, some freeze dried meals, a stainless steel canteen and cup set for collecting and purifying water, a few first aid supplies, and a good poncho and space/casualty blanket with some 550 cord and your bucket cache would make a huge difference in your survival if you only had the clothes on your back when you recovered it. Below is shown the Henry AR-7 .22LR Survival Rifle in it’s stored form on the left, and ready for use on the right.


Conibear post3.jpg

The traps talked about in this post

MDT Basic Survival17-1.JPG

Yo-Yo “set and forget” fishing reel

MDT Basic Survival10.jpg

You can’t just have theoretical knowledge of survival skills and expect to survive in the wilds. You have to get out and practice them.

Deer hunting

There is no excuse to not get out and start learning and practicing some basic survival skills. The hunting and butchering of big and small game is a good place to start.

These are just some thoughts on what Selco had to say. Practice and preparation is what Survivalists do. If you don’t, you definitely can’t call yourself a Survivalist.


So Now What, Anything Constructive?

Re-Post from MDT


The patch on the left breast pocket is the one you get for completion of one of the MDT wilderness survival courses, the patch on the left sleeve is what you get for completion of an MDT tactical course.

I did a post on May 6th that pointed out how ridiculous some of the “Moolisha” claims on both sides (antifa and the “Right”) were, and how they’ve shown there is very little in the “Responsible Power” category that is being put out on social media. The bottom line to my “power” comment is due to my modification of an old quote by Mao that says “Political power comes from the barrel of a gun.”. My modification is “True domestic power comes from the barrel of a TRAINED GUN”, although quantity has a quality all its own, and that’s what belt fed machine guns are for.

A comment was made by jbryan314 at WRSA’s repost that said this,

  “Thanks, so… Now what? There wasn’t really anything constructive about it. Nothing on what we CAN do, or what we SHOULD do… Just a bunch of “you’re an idiot” type stuff, which is what about 75% of the FreeFor blogs espouse these days.

And before any fools come in here and talk about the article hurting my feelings or me being butthurt or whatever… Let me say I can’t really disagree with much of what the article says. What I can say is that after reading it, as a “member” of whatever it is we call ‘FreeFor’… I didn’t really gain anything. No new knowledge or ideas. Just drop that article into the heavier and heavier bucket of articles hat basically say nothing more than ‘you suck’.”

My response,

“Start here,
Quietly train, quietly recruit, and shut up about it on social media. There are tons of guys out there doing that, and this post was not directed at them. I’ve written plenty about it, look it up.”

OK, so even though I’ve talked about this plenty of times before, I will try and consolidate some of my previous thoughts into one post.

1. Start doing PT to the level that you are initially capable, and constantly seek to improve on it.

Physical fitness is the solid base or foundation upon which you build your ability to fight and survive. Although you can get by without being physically fit, you chances of fighting off bad guys or even the common cold are diminished if you are not as fit as you can possibly make yourself. When it comes to combat training, whether it’s hand to hand combatives, firearms training, or actual tactical training that involves maneuvering on the bad guys while carrying your support gear, your need for fitness can not be downplayed.

My advice is to start with cardio exercises and expand from there. Walking is great exercise, and if you start a walking program and then start adding weight during that exercise, you will not only be performing a good exercise, but it will be practical as well (ruckmarch anyone?). You will have to be able to perform with your support equipment (rifle/pistol mags, first aid gear, water at a minimum), so walking or even short sprints with you gear on is going to be necessary eventually.


Next I’d recommend calisthenics. Calisthenics basically use your own body weight and gravity as the tool for muscle growth and endurance. Pull Ups (palms out), Chin Ups (palms in), different types of push ups (diamond, shoulder width, wide arm), sit ups (palms on thighs not behind your neck), ab crunches, leg lifts, and calf raises are all just body weight exercises that you can do anywhere. The reason I recommend calisthenics before free weight training is because you can do them anywhere, and you don’t have to figure out how to make something heavy (although a ruck can do acceptably well for some exercises) to work for you if you don’t have free weights available (you’ll continue working out as much as you can post SHTF, right?).

2. Acquire basic defensive gear.

Basic means just that, and I’m mentioning gear before training, because you need the gear to train with.

A good, reliable, semi automatic rifle in an easily available and capable caliber. AR’s, AK’s, M1A’s, FAL’s, PTR 91’s (HK91) all have good reps and the ammo, parts and accessories for them are readily available.


A good reliable semi auto pistol in a capable and readily available caliber. Although most soldiers (Infantrymen) do not carry a pistol, you are in a civilian situation that may require concealment of your firearm (something Grunts do not need) before things go completely sideways. Glocks, S&W M&P’s, Sig’s, HK’s, Keltec, Ruger all offer a large selection of pistols to choose from. Again, like the rifles listed above, most have ammo, parts and accessories readily available.

Quality Kit that will comfortably (that’s said somewhat sarcastically) carry at a minimum, the basic load for your rifle (usually 6 extra mags), your pistol (usually 2 extra mags), an IFAK/blowout kit (individual first aid kit for traumatic injuries like gunshot), water, and basic survival gear (shelter and things to keep you warm, dry and fed). I’m a big fan of Tactical Tailor, UW Gear who also sells Tactical Tailor (a review of some of his gear is coming up), and a few things from Condor. Bottom line is you usually get what you pay for.

Unless you hunt, you have no reason to get more than basic combat firearms related gear initially. For that matter, some of the gear you acquire can do double duty for hunting if need be.

MDT Class 16-3-7-1

3. Acquire some basic defensive training.

You should get training in a number of areas. First, get to a basic pistol class. second, start learning some empty hand combatives. Third, find someone that will teach you how to run your defensive rifle. Last but not least, get some training on armed two man maneuver combatives (the most basic of small unit tactics). The basic element of this is the Buddy Team.

The Buddy Team class that I teach is the Rural Buddy Team Essentials Course (RBTEC). It is by far my most popular class, and besides the Wilderness Survival courses, RBTEC is the tactical class most asked about because there aren’t very many out there who teach down to the Buddy Team level (usually it’s fire team or above in size for most trainers).

As I said earlier, your PT will help determine how well you can perform a number defensive tasks, especially under stress. I’m not saying you can’t survive if you’re overweight (quite the contrary if you are able to stay out of trouble and in your house, you’ll probably outlast those being “eaten” by the “zombies”, right?) , because that modular food storage unit will probably last you at least a week or two even if you’re on minimal rations, and the fit people will have to constantly eat to maintain their strength. If you actually get into a fight, that’s where the fitness and prior PT will come into it’s own and save your bacon.

4. Acquire as much first aid training as you can.

You can never have too much first aid training. Start out with basic First Aid and CPR from the Red Cross, and if possible either pay for an EMT-B (basic) course or get it for free by joining the Fire Department or Ambulance Squad. We mentioned IFAK’s earlier, and the one you have on you should be geared towards what is needed for basic trauma by the most trained individual in your group. Your IFAK is what will be used on you, not what you’ll be using on someone else. NOTE: Of all the items in your kit, this is the one that everyone needs to carry in the same spot, no matter what side their dominant hand is on. This is because finding your IFAK in the dark is very important for the person treating you.

5. If possible, find some people of like mind who you can coordinate and train with for when times get rough.

Some people act like this is easy, but it is usually the exact opposite. Finding someone who is of like mind, is close enough to coordinate with, has the funds to acquire what they need which is listed above, and above all else, can be trusted, is a tall order. Although OpSec (Operational Security) is a military term, it applies equally to any Survivalist, Prepper, or NPT (neighborhood protection team) group.

One of the reasons I give so many of the groups out there claiming to be “Constitutional Militias” the crap they deserve, is because they can’t keep their mouths/keyboards shut for 30 seconds, let alone not tell everyone under the sun what their security measures are so as to show how “competent” their Doomsday plans are. Anyone who continually promotes himself on social media as a militiaman, militia commander, etc. (with “selfies”, badass callsign and cool gear to prove it), should make you think long and hard about whether you would ever want them in your group (or want your group associated with theirs), or be able to trust their discretion about keeping your group’s security protocols private.

You generally don’t see too many Survivalists “Showing off” on social media, because most tend to be more private about their preps. As an example, I can’t tell you how many dumbass moolisha members and “leaders” post what their security protocols were for meeting new “recruits”. They usually say their social media presence is all about recruiting, but in reality, it’s a “Look at me/us” fest.

Why would or should you ever need to recruit (this is not about making contact with other groups. That’s a good idea if for no other reason than receiving info after SHTF via HAM radio) outside of your local area for new members to join your group, when the reality of a SHTF scenario is that anyone outside of 25 miles (being generous) would never realistically answer your call? There are plenty of ways to recruit in “meatspace” (in person), whether it’s talking to people or putting up a flyer at the VFW or Range, or talking to the local gunshop owner and asking him to quietly spread the word to those he thinks would be a good fit.

By the way, another note about training. As I have said before, you don’t need to go to a training school to get the things mentioned above (it’s usually easier to do it at a class, and it will take less time having the info “downloaded” because we’ve already put it into instruction geared towards civilians). There are plenty of Vets out there that can help with some of these skills (that I mentioned in my response at WRSA),  and Combat Arms (Infantry, Cavalry, etc.) can help with the SUT portion of training. If you’re lucky and they are a former senior NCO or Officer, they can help with organization as well.

Well, that’s what I consider the “Basics” for you “FreeFor” guys and girls who need constant guidance and reassurances. While I can give guidance (and I have numerous times), I can give you no assurances accept one. If you put your time. sweat and money into training and acquisition of the things you need to defend yourself and your loved ones, you will become the “Trained Gun” I mentioned in the adaptation I made to Mao’s quote. “True domestic power comes from the barrel of a TRAINED GUN”. A trained individual might not always prevail over an aggressor, but they will always have the confidence that they can. Confidence can win a battle that everyone else assumes is lost.


Bottom line. If you’re not training…START! If you are already training, double down and train harder!