Tooth or Tail

I first came across the phrase “Tooth or Tail” in a paper entitled “The Other End of the Spear: The Tooth to Tail Ratio (T3R) in Modern Military Operations”  by John J. McGrath (download free).  I found it an interesting read but then again, I do not deny being a tad on the strange side.

By Captain Bart, a contributing author for SurvivalCache.com

USA Berkey Filters

It started me thinking seriously about something we often talk about, the teeth, and the ramifications “the other end of the spear” has for our preparations.  As late as the early 20th century armies survived by forage from the land they marched through.  The problem was that it was an unreliable source of supplies after Napoleon’s Russian Campaign.  Napoleon did not burn Moscow, the Russians did and taught the world a valuable lesson.

Why burn your own fields and cities? So that the invader can’t use them.  Napoleon did not have a supply train large enough toScorched Earth Policy supply his army without using Russian resources and the Russians used a scorched earth policy to starve Napoleon’s army.  If you are willing to burn your own supplies, the enemy can’t use them.  In the 20th century, armies became more mechanized and less able to forage.  By the time of WWII about 1 in 3 soldiers were combat troops; the rest were support troops of one type or another.

A Survival Cache?

So what is the point for us?  Think about your bug out plans.  If you don’t have prepositioned supplies, you must carry them.  If your prepositioned stuff is discovered you may not have anything when you get to where you’re going.  This photo of an 1847 wagon train showed what was needed to travel in the 19th century

The animals ate forage when available but the wagon was the vehicle needed to move overland for a few weeks at a time.  Fresh Pioneer Survival meat came from the hunt but staples were carried.  If the weather was against you, you carried forage for your animals as well as all the water you would need.   The larger the party, the more difficult the move became because the strain on the resources of the area the wagons moved through increased.  If you get it wrong, the story of the Donner party is instructive.  If your plan is to grab your BOB and go, you might want to pause and think very seriously about your planning.  If you are foraging for supplies, your “Get Out of Dodge” plan means that you are not stealthy.  If you are not the first through an area, there may well be no supplies to find.  That is the bad news.

Mutant Zombie Bikers

The good news is that the MZB face the same facts.  Nature doesn’t play favorites; the rules apply to all.  If there are MZB, I MZB Survivalthink they will not want to leave their turf until forced into it.  Gangs will spend time trying to take territory from each other and playing Mad Max for a while.  By the time they decide to leave the city and spread out into the country, they will be deep into their reserves (if any) of food, fuel and ammo.  They won’t be able to use bulk stored items since it is doubtful that they know how to grind wheat to make flour for example.  They will quickly run through their supplies and then either perish on the trail or break apart on the defenses of some small town.

The tooth or tail question comes up when it is time to spend our money as well.  The old political question of “beans or bullets?” is very real for the prepper.   You are always gambling when you prep.  You are betting your life and possibly the lives of your loved ones that you are getting the right amounts of the right stuff for them to survive.  If you get nothing but bullets, then YOU become the MZB and you have all of their problems.  If you get nothing but beans you are betting your life that you won’t be discovered when the SHTF.  Possible, I guess, but not a plan I’m comfortable with.  Even if you could remain undiscovered post SHTF, you are still subject to home invasion, assault, mugging, animal attacks etc. before, during and after the SHTF.  So, what is the correct tooth to tail ratio?

That depends in large measure on what your favorite SHTF or TEOTWAWKI scenario turns out to be.  Since I don’t envision massive combat operations as part of my SHTF events, I lean more toward beans than bullets.  Teeth are critical, but the basic 3 gun survival battery is sufficient for all but the most extreme cases.  In the extreme case, you need full auto, preferably belt fed, and even then I doubt we’d make it.  I do think that you need that 3 gun battery for each teen or adult member of your group.  If you are planning for TEOTWAWKI, then you will also need firearms for minors or infants as they grow up or perhaps for new additions after the SHTF.  I use the military concept of the “basic load” for ammo supplies. I have an estimate for how much ammo I will use each month and set that aside.  I then look at my estimated length of need and that tells me how much ammo I need for my SHTF load. Your load will vary based on perceived hunting and defensive needs.  Add in any practice requirements and there you have your “teeth” requirement.

Tail

For the tail, you need around 2400 calories per day per adult.  This will vary by age, body weight and physical activity but it is Lewis and Clark Expeditiona good planning number.  Number of people times the number of days times the 2400 calories and you have your basic food load. A basic MRE is around 1200 calories so two MREs a day is required.  That is the basic calorie requirement; the psychological need for some variety and comfort food must also be taken into account.  This applies especially for long term survival requirements.  What do I mean by long term?  More than a month, up to and including forever.  Check out Lewis and Clark’s plans for a three year journey.  They were a military expedition, planning to forage from the land but they started in large keel boats in order to have enough supplies.

Also part of the tail is your fuel requirements.  How much diesel, gasoline, charcoal, lamp oil  or propane do you need per day? How about batteries for essential light or safety/optics gear?  If you can’t get more do you have enough, right this very second, to complete your survival plans?  If you have to GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge), can you?  Once you complete your GOOD plan, can you live well (not JUST exist but LIVE), long term in your BOL (Bug Out Location)?  Do you have what you need to farm, hunt, process food and all the many everyday things that just living require?  Check out books like the Fox Fire series for how it was done before the grid.

Are you prepared to home school your group?  Not just the children or the teens but everyone?  You need to be able to learn the things you don’t know.  Do you have a teacher or instructional materials?  For all the areas of interest?  Construction?  Land management?  Farming and fishing?  Medical aid?  Weather?  Edible plants and dangerous animals?  In my part of the world, Spanish is a valuable tool.  I need to brush up on my Spanish to the point that I can at least communicate effectively if need be.

Are you prepared to deal with medical issues?  Especially issues like insects?  They are an annoyance when I have enough repellent but with out repellent they can be a serious health issue.  There are natural remedies and repellents for insects.  Do you know them?  If not, they do not exist for you.

That is only a very, very short list of the things needed for the tail.  As we watch the world go nuts around us, the weather (how prepared are you for the worst drought on record?) and other natural disasters occur and financial collapse threaten on a global scale, we have to really consider our levels of preparation.  We have to make our best guess as to what is absolutely necessary and prepare for that.  My recommendation runs toward taking your best guess, doubling it and then add 10 percent just because Murphy was always so optimistic.  Above all, balance in all things.  Too much tooth (which can be more glamorous than the tail but it is hard to eat that tricked out space gun) or too high a logistics concern (great for the guys that take it away from you) and you are less prepared than you may need to be.  There are no guarantees of course.  Only our best effort to get it right.  Remember, the pros rarely get it exactly right so don’t expect perfection from your supply stores; just be as close as possible so you can improvise the rest.

Photos by:
Model Ship World

Legends of America
Tingley

Get Exclusive Survival Articles!

Subscribe and get survival prep, gear reviews, and guides sent to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

59 thoughts on “Tooth or Tail”

  1. Tooth or tail, hadn't heard that in awhile. Good artilce Bart, alot of good things that people should ask themselves. It seems to me that in the long haul, more tooth is going to be required. Supplies can be stolen or go bad or you might have to leave them. With weapons on hand you can protect your supplies, hunt for food, steal if you have to, plus eventually your food supply is going to run out no matter what cause none of us can store enough food forever…unless the weather stays good enough for people to conintually grow their food and store it etc but I won't get into that. I'm not saying that we shouldn't store food stuff but my ratio is 50%food stuff and 60%tooth. Carrying enough ammo to get the food I need for a month is easier than carrying the food I would need for a month. I don't carry things I don't have to like bug repellent…its another thing to carry and I can always rub mud on me. Find as much as you can in nature to use to lighten your load.

    Reply
    • Tinderwolf,
      While I understand your viewpoint, I don't plan to have to steal (loot, plunder,rob) from someone else. To insure my survival by guaranteeing that they don't make it is a choice I never want to face. Given that, I have my caches well hidden and my pantry well protected. My opinion (and it is just my not so humble opinion) is that planning to become part of the "golden horde" as part of my survival is a failure to prepare.
      As for food running out, that depends on your concept of TSHTF. If the situation is truly TEOTWAWKI and no groups exist and you can't farm you may run out of food. Folks have always starved to death if the weather, soil, and politics turn against them totally. Even perfectly prepared there is no guarantee that we survive. There are just some things that I don't want to plan on doing to survive.

      Reply
      • I apologize for wording that incorrectly, I didn't mean to that I would intentionaly walk up to someone and steal their stuff from them, nor looting or any other of that crap that non preppers do. I meant to take from somewhere that wasn't yours to begin with but is noones now…a deserted store or something along that line. As to your last paragraph, there has been a question that I have pondering as of late. If the event is truly a TEOTWAWKI and the only food stores we have are those that we stock ourselves…how much do we want. I mean think about, how long do you want to live in a world that is blackened, everyone is on their own and thing would never get back to "normal" in our life time or many life times? Are we not just prolonging the end? If we are completly dependent on our stores than we are totally isolated and living for what? I understand surviving an economic fall, war, disasters and what not, things that we can recover from. But if the situation was like that of the movie The Road….is there a point. I know i know, to survive….

        Reply
        • Tinderwolf,
          No apology needed; it didn't sound like your other posts so I wondered.
          Everyone should consider that question and I applaud you for doing so. We all need a reason beyond "survival" to continue on. I personally think that well within 5 years, most likely 1 year, societies will begin to form. It may be the return of city states, or individual states or maybe nations but humans are social animals and we do form societies.
          Whether it is to protect loved ones, rebuild what was lost, or just a desire to build better this time, there must be a reason to put up with the stress of TEOTWAWKI. There are many stories of folks in a survival situation who just give up and die within hours or days of rescue.
          Survival without a reason to survive is rarely possible. My mother when I was a kid didn't want to prepare because "if there is a nuclear war, I don't want to survive". The problem with that attitude is what if you live through the event and are faced with survival in any case. Without preparation death by starvation or dehydration or dysentery is long and painful. I recommend folks have enough to survive the event and then at least two full planting/harvesting cycles. With enough seed to survive a failed crop or three each season. That way you should be in a position to wait out any event until civilization begins to reform.

          Reply
        • When ur cold wet and hungry u will kill, steal and do what ever it takes to live so don't kid u r self that u will never " intentionaly walk up to someone and steal their stuff from them, nor looting" if u don't u won't make it. There will be no buddy's, no friends, no good will. u better start changing ur mind set now so u won't be so blowen away when it happens and it will happen..

          Reply
          • interesting attitude, jack. Problem with it is I have known way too many instances where people did, in fact, give up their survival for others. Women and children first was the code of the sea; those who broke it and lived were outcasts the rest of their lives. While cannibalism has occurred in survival cases it was extremely rare that someone killed their fellow survivors to eat. The world you describe would make survival not worth the effort I fear. Mad Max and MZBs may make cool TV fodder but makes for a lousy real life. In parts of the world, children were sacrificed so that others may live. Some tribal cultures also have the elderly/sick leave camp so that the society can be more robust. Even given that, our heritage and culture does not condone such conduct. To engage in it would be to brand yourself as a renegade and be outside the society of people.
            I don't know where your opinions come from; in over 6 decades I have seen some really ugly things, but they more often bring out heroism not selfish greed in the people I have been associated with.

      • Based on the rest of the post to which you're responding, it appears that some of that "tooth" is optimized for harvesting food (such as rifles chambered in .22LR), thus using game forage to supplement food storage. Dual-purpose preps are especially useful…. 😉

        Reply
  2. I think one thing you pointed out and that a lot of people forget about and one that does not cost a whole lot of money is Knowledge and Skills!!! If you know how to make or get things you are way better prepared than most. Just the comment about natural insect reppelents is just one skill that could help save lives just like water purification and etc etc. Work on developing you knowledge and skills at the same time.

    Reply
  3. Capt. Very insightful. When I first moved to the south in 1983 I had no idea about the threat of a hurricane until the first one hit the Gulf Coast. I was over 100 miles away, but the experience was much more than a mere wake up call. It is a bit unsettling in the daily life style we Americans have carved out for ourselves to walk into a major grocery store and find virtually nothing on the shelves. So, just what do we think we'll find (i.e. foraging) if SHTF hits? Very darn little is what I am guessing. All the more reason I think a bug out can be a worse choice for those not completely tuned into a long term scenario. I have not been able to calculate the mental rationale of carrying enough beans and bullets into the wilderness. If you have an established, isolated homestead, maybe. Living under a tarp in the national forest? Don't think so.

    Reply
    • You understand, sir. Without an established BOL, bugging out is a desperation move. You may make it but it won't be easy or fun. Established BOL means a place where you can be sure your preps will be there when you arrive.
      Every time I see folks "stocking up" 24 hours before a major storm hits them I think, "Idiots – you'll never get all that you need now!" Why they wait until the last possible minute I don't know but the fact is they have waited PAST the last possible minute and are now desperation shopping. Depending on TSHTF event that crowd of "shoppers" can become violent "looters" very quickly.
      I agree about what is left for foraging. That is why I think MZB won't be a major component after TSHTF. If you can survive for two weeks (a big if, I'll grant you) I suspect the MZB will have self destructed. That is also why I don't think large groups will be roaming around as in Mad Max. The logistics tail is just too big to support a large group.

      Reply
      • Bart u r only flawed thought is u forgot the power in numbers. look at history! so there will be large groups till they dye off at the end! in the beginning

        Reply
        • Jack,
          I'm not sure of your point. Large groups tend to be rather immobile for an extended period of time. Consider the Jews in Europe in 1936. Their refusal to see how bad it was getting meant that many did not have a chance to escape. Most who are not prepared will wait for outside help until it is too late to successfully bug out. By the time they realize help isn't coming, it is too late to go anywhere because they have no means to move. Gangs are territorial and will protect their turf and try to expand their turf until it is too late to head out of the cities. The trick will be to not be where the gangs are strong or within range of them. Urban survival in the 21st century, grid up city is much different from what it will take to survive post TSHTF. The point of the article is that disorganized, large groups are incapable of long movements. Organized large groups can move but the logistics takes a lot of planning.

          Reply
  4. Stercorarius,
    I appreciate the Mormon pantry idea completely. Your history has indicated any number of times the wisdom of that pantry.
    As far as no tooth, I would urge you to reconsider that stance. The basic 3 gun battery is about more than just hunting. Grid down can happen for a host of reasons from a trucker strike to a Carrington event. In any case, predators of all sizes and types, from rodent rats to human rats to bears to wolves to wild dogs become an issue. Just outside the city of Houston we are beginning to have problems with wild dogs whose owners couldn't take care of them so they "turn them loose". Several neighbors have lost cats to predatory "pet" dogs. When I walk our pets, I'm armed with a revolver loaded with "rat shot" for use against wild or rabid animals. I choose the rat shot because I am in a suburban area and I don't want the round to be one that will penetrate walls and harm the innocent should I miss. Regardless of where you live, predators either are or will be a problem at some point. Even in LA they have problems with Coyotes attacking pets and people. Just my not so humble opinion of course but being armed adjusts many situations in your favor. Being unarmed makes you prey.

    Reply
  5. Capt. Yep, agree 110%. MZBs are so loosely organized I am quite sure they rely heavily on fuel, rubber and miles. Roaming the countryside for days they will eventually run into a depleted stock, restuarants abandoned, warehouses empty, etc. Besides these people don't cook and may end up eating dog food if they can find that. I may be completely off base, but I retain enough optimism that Uncle will regain the stage and bring a halt to a full assault. That means defending the castle for a couple weeks, which could easily become easier said than done. Bless those living in true rural areas. Those of us even in small towns will eventually become targets for unprepared neighbors turned panic or outsiders on a shopping spree. Is paranoia the new sanity? JJW

    Reply
    • "Is paranoia the new sanity?" – Why'd you ask that? what did you mean to imply? Are you talking about me??????
      Trouble is, the "world" or "mother nature" or "Gaia" really is out to get us. As Dr. Neal Tyson says,"Dropped down naked, almost any place on the planet, you don't survive 48 hours." Nature is not your friend and if you are a Darwinist you know nature IS out to get you. I LIKE being at the top of the food chain and I know it is only my preps that ensures that continues.
      Like you, I think a society will begin to form very quickly after TSHTF. We have to be able to survive until it becomes viable.
      No, I'm not paranoid. The whole world really is out to get me!

      Reply
  6. Excellent article. I have trouble myself thinking about all the things that may be needed, but its the knowledge that counts. That and a willingness and desire to make it. I also run a "Basic Load" setup. The idea is not to go out and get into scuffles, and protect the weak, its to survive, and that means either A. never being found out about, or B. breaking contact and getting the hell outa dodge. A basic load will suffice for this. At least, I hope so. Though no plan survives first contact, it is better to start with a plan, and adjust accordingly, and having a good knowledge base can expand your options to adjust.

    Reply
    • Mike,
      When I was teaching my son to fly, I always taught him to "maximize your options". The best preps are the ones that maximize your options; that is, give you the greatest number of possible courses of action. You want to irrevocably commit to a course of action as late as possible. That way, if things change suddenly, you can adapt. As my favorite movie survivalist says "Doing what I can with what I got" (Burt Gummer – Tremors 2). If you commit too early to a plan, you may be unable to adapt. In addition, the "desire" to survive is, in my not so humble opinion, more important than any other prep. It is always better to adapt a plan for a new tactical situation than to desperately improvise from nothing.
      You do understand, sir. Thank you for your comments.

      Reply
  7. You might want to take a second look at your water situation. Without a functioning well in central WA you might be screwed. Most of the orchards exist thanks to large, complex, water works.

    Reply
    • I think the water that comes off the Columbia is pumped, not gravity fed. I doubt those dams are going anywhere, but without the pumping stations you could be screwed.

      It's not that hard to convert a well pump over to solar power.

      There's a few examples out there of bicycles being turned into fairly good pumps as well. The guts of a waverunner are just a gas powered water pump. Not sure how it would work, but in a pinch you might be able to convert one into a well pump.
      http://www.solar-electric.com/sodcwapu.html?gclid

      Reply
    • Well said, sir. With the unusual weather patterns this year, water has become a much more critical issue for us in Houston as well. Normally, we get 48 inches a year and a simple collection scheme works very well for us. This year, we have gone literally months without rain. We are over 20 inches down on our rainfall. Grid down, we wouldn't have water for human consumption, let alone what we'd need for agriculture. We are changing our water plans to be less dependent on rainfall but it would have been tough if TSHTF about 3 months ago.

      Reply
    • You know you've arrived when you say something like, "I'm thinking of selling my 45-70 to buy a .308" and she says "Any reason you can't have both?" Ah, the good life. It is a fine line between becoming so full of fear you turn turtle and being realistically prepared to handle anything short of the 101st Airborne.
      It is good when your better half is the person you are most comfortable with covering your back. When her skills and steady nerves are your backup, you are both ready for what ever security problem comes your way.

      Reply
  8. I, personally, am no where near where my late, lamented friend Harry was. He (and his beloved wife) lived in a fairly-visible house, near the road, in a very-rural location. They also owned half a mountain, that held 4 camouflaged house trailers or RV's (picked up a bargain-basement prices).

    The trailers contained huge food-and water stores as well as a large gun-collection. He became officially "disabled" after taking an unexploded mortar-round through the belly in the Korean Conflict – lived and became a professional gunsmith – a TOUGH SOB and a personal hero.

    Harry's attitude toward mutant 'zombie bikers' was that the main house was a decoy. If it got bad, light a fire in the fireplace, close the flue, toss on his several plastic trash bags of poison ivy leaves, open the window enough that it looks like a fire in the house, and go elsewhere on his land.

    If they go in, they die in a very nasty manner. If they don't they are sniper targets.

    Reply
    • I think I would have liked Harry. He sounds like my kind of guy. The folks with the plan C, D, AND E, plus a solid skill like gunsmithing would be great guys to know as well as being a solid mentor. I had never thought of the poison ivy smoke. That is a great 'deterrent' and not really a booby trap since it wouldn't be used until the MZB horde was identified.

      Reply
      • DO be very careful with it.
        ( I know you will,CaptBart, but a generic warning to everyone). My Dad had a 'dumb as a post' neighbor who decided to clear his poison ivy problem with gasoline and a match,. He spent 5 months in the ICU on a respirator, and screamed a lot.
        It is an uncontrollable weapon of mass destruction, at least as nasty a Zyklon B (that was fast), and not to be f'***ed with, unless you are willing to deal with the consequences. It will kill people in a very nasty, painful manner. If you don't get away in time, you will die, or wish you had. There will be collateral damage, that s assured.. If you use it in a building, it will be off-limits for at least 5-10 years.

        Wear at least 2 layers of latex gloves/tyvex coveralls/sealed goggles when harvesting poisonous plants. let them dry in open black trash bags in the sun then seal. Just sayin'. You probably don''t want to do this, it's dangerous. Don't hurt YOU

        It is the 'green' equivalent of "nuke it from orbit, it's the only way" This should never be an easy decision

        Reply
        • Thank you for the cautions! I sometimes forget most folks don't have the "benefit" of military CBR training. I should have thought to include the cautions you just provided. Thank you for your consideration. That is an excellent reminder for handling ANY natural toxin. What is normally a minor skin irritation for most can be fatal if inhaled or contacted by a person sensitive to the toxin. Again, thank you.

          Reply
  9. Good one Capt. I agree… SHTF is most likely. Another issue to consider is the size of the population you are surrounded by. Having to travel through a large population could influence your investments in beans or bullets. I flew into town last night… It is wall to wall people. It would really suck to have to get out of Dodge through them.

    Reply
    • I hate crowds for that very reason. Some panicky, freaked out idiot can get you killed very easily. A lot of panicky, freaked out idiots are a real danger. Part of why I prefer to hunker down for the first couple of weeks is to give the crowds time to thin out. That might change if I'm discovered before I want to GOOD, but as long as I can stay put for a while, I will. I tend to think you have a window, maybe 36 to 48 hours where the 'golden horde' mentality hasn't hit yet. Most folks can make it 2 to 3 days so they don't go nuts immediately – they are waiting to be taken care of. After about 2 weeks, hunger and violence has done its work and the crowds are much thinner. Most of what's left will be preppers. Then is the time to GOOD if you need to do so.

      Reply
      • I agree… Bugging in is best if you can. But, a required evacuation could make that difficult. We have fires here whenever the dessert winds blow. A few years back we lost a lot of houses. Large neighborhoods were completely gone. We are also near the coast so tsunamis and hurricane evacuations are possible. I hate the crowds as well but they also have no manners here… It’s a rat race. Perhaps when we retire we can move somewhere less crowded. Until then I’ll just have to be prepared.

        Reply
        • The environment can make it tough. If you can't move then you must work with what you have. Hurricanes and tsunamis at least give some warning (unless you live too close to a fault line. Oregon and Washington aren't getting much warning from a Cascadia fault quake/tsunami.Wild fires may give days worth of warning or only minutes. Short lead times are tough to plan for.

          Reply
      • the Golden Horde mentality will probably set in when the cool air from the refrigerator is gone……36 hours may be optimistic.

        Reply
        • Ahhh and optimist… I like the way you think. Hope you are right. The thing is I’m surrounded by millions of people. The truly stupid number in the tens of thousands. Chances are they will just become desperate.

          Reply
        • "36 hours may be optimistic. " I agree, it may be very optimistic depending on the event. I plan to hunker down for the two weeks if possible and then see if I need to GOOD. If that doesn't work, then I am in an emergency GOOD situation and that is a whole different discussion.

          Reply
  10. So much of survival is "Attitude and just plain guts." People who've led sheltered lives are not good bets to go the long haul. They tend to depend on others for everything. On the reverse, those who have lived the outdoor life through military, hunting etc. will have a leg up. Their positive, "I can beat this!" attitude will come from experiencing the "root hog or die" and kicking the crap out of it.
    For a self-enlightening adventure take a few survival items and hit the wilds for a week. See how long you can go before you yell for help. It's amazing how uncomfortable a cold, rainy night can be…and how utterly dangerous mishaps that would not be so serious near help. Like a fall, or a snake bite or upset stomach or an unhappy Holstein bull. (been there)

    Reply
    • Mike,
      I tell folks, experience is not the best teacher, it is only the most expensive. Experience gained AFTER TSHTF can be horrifically expensive, perhaps fatal. Living the survival experience when it isn't "for score" is great for learning things you haven't thought about, for testing out your preps, and for gaining confidence. My only caveat is that you must be careful not to create a personal SHTF event by getting yourself into a spot you can't get out of. Formal training is also a big help, training in things like shooting, medicine, wood craft and survival (Cody Lundin runs a desert survival school in Arizona for example). Reading and study is great but it must be practiced to be sure you can actually do what you have studied. I KNOW how to build a fire with a fire bow but I'm very bad with it and in bad weather, I wouldn't get fire. That is why the only time I don't have matches, two butane lighters, a magnesium fire started AND a magnifying glass on me is when I'm in bed. Find your strengths and your weaknesses and do so without alibis or excuses or false bravado. I know folks who claim they can start a fire with one match, they actually did it, once!
      I like your advice to grab your every day carry stuff and go. It is valuable, even necessary to be comfortable with your gear, just don't put yourself in a cul de sac. Thank you for your insight.

      Reply
      • Although I believe you don’t take your fire starting kit to bed I would bet $1000 that you have a fire arm or two close at hand. You can start a fire with the powder and primer.

        Reply
      • I think the good Capt has definitely hit it on the head here. There are many skills that you need to practice to develop 'eye-brain-muscle memory", like shooting, etc. There are other skills/attitudes that can be learned by study/reading/listening to people who actually know telling you "DON'T do this, dude." or "try this, it works", THEN try it, or avoid it. Somebody did it first, and you can benefit from their advice, pro or con. (e.g. don't get wet f you cant get dry fast, don't lose altitude when ridge-running unless you cant help it, it hurts to climb, don't use your map as TP, carry more water than you thought you need , don't eat that , etc)

        Some people have to learn by beating their heads against reality (I'm related to a lot of them 🙁 ) . Hopefully, there are not too many here 🙂

        Reply
  11. Another great article Captain. I think that it goes to show that you're never complete in your preps. There's always something else, whether it be learning another language or having a dutch oven to cook your meals in. Applauds Sir!

    Reply
  12. Great article Capt. Your points highlight why a 22lr is a prime survival firearm; ammo is inexpensive and you can carry alot without the major weight. I too remain optimistic about how long we'd truly have to worry about "surviving" before reestablishment of societal order.
    Another option for maintaining some semblance of order could be organizing CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) among your neighbors, churches, etc. They normally provide training for free and it's a way to even get the skeptics to start prepping for disasters to reduce the number in the "golden horde" over unpreparedness.

    Reply
  13. Very good article, it re-enforces what I had been skeptical about. Here's something to debate, what terrain to live in? Theres mountainous, desert, woodland, prairie, ocean, and a mixture of them. If anyone feels like responding to this I''d like that, but where do you live? I live in the mountains, my theory is the next ice age will be long after all the hurricanes, tornado's, and floods that can't hit me. Also its harder to get in the mountains from a city, and the mountains provide easy rainwater and food.

    Reply
    • Daniel,
      A good idea for a forum discussion. May I suggest you visit our forum pages at https://survivalcache.com/forums/forum.php and give us your thoughts on the advantages of living in the mountains. I've prepped for mountains, desert, coast, urban, suburban and rural areas. Can't say I've really prepped for wilderness though. I think terrain would be a great forum topic.

      Reply
  14. I had a thought (yes, unusual.. I know…) about the cinema-famous MZB threat – that being "Northfield, Minnesota".

    Back in (I think) 1876, the James-Younger gang decided to rob a bank in a 'new' territory. A townful of annoyed farmers and storekeepers (not Pinkertons or lawmen, or Cavalry or The Lone Ranger) gave the gang its first and last real "tail-between-legs-run-like-hell" defeat. Only the 2 James brothers 'escaped" (the rest died or went to jail)

    We are talking Frank and Jesse James, Bob, Jim and Cole Younger, and some equally-experienced and nasty buddies, not a bunch of basically-urban guys with a half-gallon of gasoline and unfed substance-addictions.

    Just food for thought. P*ssing-off country-folks can prove fatal.

    Reply
    • Extremely well said. The James' gang made a fundamental error; one should NEVER p*ss off a country town during hunting season! The town was full of riflemen and their long guns. In a prime example of using the wrong gun, the outlaws carried their revolvers (with which they had never been beaten – would have prevailed in Northfield IF the townsfolk had been "fighting fair" with handguns at 20 paces) while those dastardly townsfolk used long gun (including even one schuetzen rifle that was used with good effect – if you were not a member of the James gang) They learned the hard way that it is easier to use a rifle in a carbine role (30 – 100 yards) than it is to use a pistol that way.

      Reply
      • They definitely 'brought only knives to a gunfight' in terms of firepower and range. In a situation where mzb gangs could, flourish, it's always hunting season in the country.

        There is also another minor aspect to keep in mind. In the post-war South, 'home', the gang had a 'Robin Hood' image – 'our boys striking back at the man' – away from home, just 'some SOB's robbing us'

        Reply
  15. Excellant article Capt Bart. Made me take stock again. I guess it's time to make a Costco run to replenish some of my non-perishables.
    I also noticed all of my .22 rifles have found there way into the hands of my sons and grandsons. I guess it's time to start shopping around for a replacement to fill out the arsenal part of my personal home insurance plan.

    Reply
    • Sounds you have the same problem I have with guns "walking". Kids are like that I guess. I have recently fired the Ruger 10/22. There is a write up on it here on the site as well. Frankly, I'm thinking about adding one to my arsenal as well. While I have .22's, that Ruger is the most fun I've had in a while. In addition it is more accurate than I am. An excellent gun for the money. Just my thoughts for your consideration.

      Reply
  16. I've never known Ruger to make a bad gun. I don't think anyone would go wrong with one.
    Just out of curiosity, have you heard anything about the new Ruger 1911 .45? I saw one at a local gun shop and it’s about the nicest looking .45 I’ve ever seen, out of the box. Made me want to sell both of my Stars just to get my hands on it. I’m past that now but I’m still thinking about giving myself a surprise birthday present this year.

    Reply
    • Agreed. I've never had my hands on a Ruger I didn't like. I'm thinking of a Mini-30 (7.62X39) as my compliment to the AK-47.
      My one and only complaint about the Ruger "P" series semi-autos is that the safety works in the opposite direction than on my Colt 1911. Looking at the photos of the Ruger 1911, it looks like the safety is the same as my Colt. I may have to change my mind about owning a Ruger pistol. I have their revolvers but I don't want to have to think about how to take the safety off of an immediate response weapon.

      Reply
      • I don't care for the "P" series either. I just don't like double action semi-autos and they don't point naturally for me. I don't use safeties so that was never an issue for me.
        I'll need to do a little more home work but the Ruger 1911 looks like Ruger just decided to build Browning's 1911 A-1. Could be the best of both worlds. A proven hand gun design built by a company that stands second to none in quality.
        I'll still keep my Star 9's though. They're hard to beat for a concealable defenseive weapon.

        Reply
        • Since I carry a 1911 "locked and cocked" the safety is important to the way I carry. If the new Ruger has the transfer bar like their P series but otherwise is a 1911, then you might well be right – "Could be the best of both worlds. "

          Reply
          • I think I learned to use a .45 the same place you did, maybe a little earlier.
            I customarily carry with an empty chamber. If I feel the need to load one up, it goes on half cock. The only time mine's on full cock is when its in my hand. I know thats not recommended by the gun Guru's but that got me through two tours in the Iron Triangle and it still works for me
            Have a great weekend.

Leave a Comment

Get Exclusive Survival Articles!

Subscribe and get survival prep, gear reviews, and guides sent to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.