Why do I prefer to say Emergency and Disaster Survival Kit (EDSK) instead of Bug Out Bag (BOB).

May 27, 2010

First, let me state that I see Emergency as a small scale harmful event while disaster is a large scale harmful event. For example, an emergency might be a broken arm. A disaster might be a hurricane with an impact of hurricane Katrina. Thus, an emergency survival kit might be smaller than a disaster survival kit in a number of items and will always be included as a part of the latter. Contents of each should stored next to each other, but in separate containers, so that emergency kit can be utilized quickly if needed.

Now, why do I prefer EDSK to BOB? Well, while BOB is a catchy name, it implies what I believe is a wrong mental approach to handling a hazard cituation. “Bug out” means quick exit, retreat, evacuation from the epicenter of the hazard. While this is almost always a good idea, I think that one should concentrate on SURVIVAL first and use “bugging out” as just one of the possible techniques for surviving the hazard. For example, if there is an immenent nuclear fallout, do you always “bug out” or do you utilize another survival technique such as hiding in a basement depending on available transportation, weather conditions, your family physical condition, etc? This is where your mental approach will matter. “Bugging out” is a tactic in a battle, survival is a strategy in a war.

Additionally, “bug out” always aims to deal with a large scale disaster. But what if a family member simply broke a finger? It is still a harzard, but will you have means of dealing with it until help arrives if you always concentrate on “bugging out” as oppose to surviving emergencies and disasters?

How to decide what to put in a first aid kit and your overall disaster survival kit

May 27, 2010

On one hand I prefer step by step instructions on what to put in your Emergency and Disaster Survival Kit (EDSK aka BOB or Bug Out Bag). On the other hand noone can know my specific scenario and so books that give you a general overview of what you might need are useful in that they make you think. I find that a combination of the two types is necessary to have as much of a complete kit as possible. Case in point: I just started assembling a First Aid Kit (FAK) for my family. I used Red Cross FAK list as a starting point since I am not an expert in this area. Then I referred to something I saw in “When all Hell breaks loose” book – “add medicine specific to your family members needs”. This is vague on one hand, but on the other it made me think. What do my family members need outside of the standard set of badages and tylenol? Well, my little kids will need kids motrine and I can often use muscle pain reliever cream such as bengay. We also leave relatively close to nuclear power stations. As a result iodine pills are part of my FAK. Iodine, bengay, kids motrine are not ususally listed in the typical FAK. This is just one example of how you should start with a recommended list of items and then think outside of the guidelines.

Similar concept applies to compiling EDSK (Emergency and Disaster Survial Kit). Refer to commonly available lists and pack a flashlight, batteries, radio, etc. Then look at your specific cituation and add items as needed. Do you have kids? Will they have books or games to entertain them and keep their mind of the hazard while staying in a shelter? What hazard are you preparing for? A wild fire? An earthqauke? A flood? A nuclear emergency? Do you expect to have to evacuate your home or do you expect to stay inside? Does it depend on the type of a hazard? The type of a hazard will depend on your geographica location. For example, area where I live is relatively close to a few nuclear power facilities. We have have occasional floods, snow storms, and sometimes hurricanes. As a result my EDSK is customized toward surviving those potential hazards.

Building a car emergency kit – what you truly need on tight budget

May 27, 2010

When I started putting together an emergency kit for a car, I decided not to go with a pre-assembled kit. I, as probably you do too, already had many components on hand and did not want to buy an expensive kit with many items that I already had. Additionally, I was suspect of the quality and completeness of many (not all) of the kits being sold. For example, I was not exactly satisfied with the cheap plastic flashlights included and especially the supplied batteries (more important notes on batteries below). I also saw most of the kits missing an important piece – a warm blanket. Additionally, I wanted to have items that would be convenient to have during non-emergency situations as well.

I started with a container for the kit. My requirements were simple: I wanted a sturdy container, small enough not to take all of my trunk space and large enough to fit basic necessities described below. While I had a few old backpacks that I could use, I decided to go with a large (27-28lbs) plastic cat litter container. If you have a cat you probably have seen or bought those from WalMart, Costco, etc. They are made by ScoopAway, TidyCats, Fresh Step, etc. If you don’t have a cat, get this container from someone who does. It is very sturdy, light weight, water resistant, has a handle, and a tight lid (note on the lid – make sure you can open it easily. If it is too tight, either have one of the corners open or use a bag with a zipper so that you can access items quickly in an emergency). If you go with a backpack or a wooden box of some sort, I would advise to line it with a thick trash bag to make it water resistant and keep some of the moisture out.

I then proceeded to think about what items I need to put in the kit. I looked at the contents of commercial kits and kits assembled by laymen and used the information to come up with a list that provides me with a good compromise between available space, money I can spend, and emergency response adequacy. Your list is likely to be slightly or very different since we all live in different weather areas and drive different distances through differently populated areas. With that said, here are the items in my kit, where I bought them, and how much I paid for them.

Large thick blanket (80% wool, 20% synthetic fibers). $8 at Harbor Freight. It takes almost half of the available space in the bucket, but keeping warm, if stranded in the car during winter, is important for where I live.

6 ft thin synthetic rope. $1 at HarboFreight. It can be used as part of a splint, as a makeshift shoe lace, or just for tying loose items together. It takes very little space.

Duct tape. $2 at Harbor Freight. Uses for duct tape are numerous: from fixing ripped umbrellas, to keeping a loose tail light in place, to making a water bucket.

Work gloves. $1 on sale at Harbor Freight (under $2 in a local dollar store). You might need to handle sharp, heavy objects in an emergency or to change a tire. Work gloves are good for that. $1 gloves are not the most comfortable, but they are good enough to work in an emergency.

First Aid Kit – $13 at Harbor Freight. First Aid kit with bandages, gauze pads and rolls, splint set, ointments, pain relievers, and a basic first aid guide is one of the most important items in your emergency kit. You can get a very decent one for under $20 if you look around. Make sure that items in the First Aid kit are not expired and rotate those pieces they do have an expiration date (pills, ointments).

Paper pad, pencil, pen. I already had those in the house. Having something to write on and with can be very useful. Pen is convenient, but have a pencil as a backup. Unless you get a specialized pen, your 50 cent Bic might not perform well when its ink freezes in cold weather. Btw, you can also get a water resistant paper, if it is important for you. It is not prohibitevly expensive when purchased on internet. Look here for more information: http://www.riteintherain.com

Ziplock bag to keep small pieces from getting lost in the bucket. Can also be used as a make shift water spray when filled with water and punctured. Already had one in the house.

3 garbage bags. Duct tape cousins, they can be used for a variety of duties – from making a quick rain poncho to storing dirty clothes. Already had those in the house.

2 bottles of water. It is very important to stay hydrated regardless if it is hot or cold outside. I already had bottled water in the house.

4 granola bars. I do not expect to be stranded for days where I live. However, I do not want to be hungry and lightheaded in an emergency either. 4 granola bars should provide enough nutrition for me for a short period of time. I already had those in the house. High calorie bars are a smart choice, but taste them first to make sure you like the taste. Also, ensure to rotate them on a regular basis.

Small pack of unsalted nuts. Same as granola bars.

Flashlight. $5 from eBay This is an important item. Choose with care. I recommend one that: has a single LED (those tend to be of a higher quality than multiple LED lights), has a sturdy aluminum body, uses 2 or 3 AA batteries, and is water resistant i.e. can be used in a rain. 2 AA LED Maglite is a good (albeit overpriced) example of what I am describing. You can find many similar lights on Ebay from sellers based in Asia. It takes a long time for the flashlight to get here (3 – 6 weeks is a norm), but you will pay 3rd or less of what you would have paid for a maglite. I like maglites, but if you are on a budget, there are better values. There is a lot that can be said about flashlights. Visit http://www.candlepowerforums.com to learn more. Lights with sturdy plastic bodies are fine, as long as they are water resistant (Inova lights come to mind). Get one that has a clip or a non round part of a body, so that it does not roll under the car if you temporarily need to to lay it on a flat surface. IMPORTANT: get lithium batteries for your flashlight. Unlike alkaline or rechargeable batteries they will work in very hot and cold weather (you are more likely to have an emergency during cold winter storm, then a nice spring day). They have a shelf life of 10+ years, i.e you do not have to rotate them frequently or worry about leakage. Lithium batteries are somewhat expensive and are only available from Energizer when buying in the USA. From what I understand Energizer currently holds patent in the US for them and so it rips the benefits to the fullest. They are still very worth it (look on eBay to save money, but make sure to check expiration date). Crank based rechargeable flashlight might be fine, depending on what rechargeable batteries are used internally. Here are a couple of interesting reads : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel-cadmium_battery and http://www.stmental.net/~dfoster/llbean_crank_light/. I already had an old AA Inova flashlight (it became a part of my kit) and a few cheap crank flashlights. I decided not to rely on rechargeable flashlights that I had. I had 3 of them for about 4 years and one no longer holds charge, even though I haven’t used it at all! This might be because they require “maintenance”, but there is no place for those in my emergency bag – I prefer “set it and forget it” items whenever possible.

Rain poncho. $5 from ebay. Get one that is at least medium duty and can be reused. Disposable ponchos available at Target for a little over a dollar can work too, but something more sturdy is likely to work better and not rip as easily.

Multi-tool with pliers, knife, screwdrivers. You might need to cut rope, shear clothing to get to a wound, use screwdriver to tighten a screw, etc. Multi-tool is a duct tape’s brother. If you can afford a brand name such as Leatherman or Gerber get them. If not, buy a cheap generic stainless steel tool. Just make sure it is made well, i.e. knife blade is straight and sharp (be careful when checking), pliers are aligned (I saw one where they were not), etc. I have 2 leatherman multi-tools for daily use, but got a generic one for $8 off ebay for the car kit. It will be enough for the scenarios I am likely to encounter. Put a light coat of high quality machine oil on blades, handles, etc. to prevent rust.

Battery operated phone charger for your phone. I got one off ebay for $3 from a seller based in Asia. Shipping time is long, but price can’t be beat. It is a 1AA based charger with many adapters for various phones. Use lithium battery! Re-read section on flashlights for more information. Do not rely on your car battery to work and charge your phone with a car charger. After all, you might be stranded on an empty parking lot during a snow storm with a dead battery and no means of calling a friend or AAA. Remember to test this device with a fully discharged phone before making it a part of your kit.

Reflective vest. $5 off ebay. It is a smart idea to wear high visibility clothing when changing a tire or trying to put something under tires stuck in snow on a side of a busy highway.

A couple of old small (10×10 inches) cotton towels that I had in the house. They are useful to wipe hands, clean side windows of dirt, etc.

Cash. There are numerous cases where cash is still the king. Some places do not accept credit cards and if I urgently need to buy something small I will be out of luck. One of the emergencies might be lost or stolen wallet and no money to pay for highway tolls or get gas. $50 covers that.

I taped a list of contents on the bucket lid, so that I can quickly figure out what I have there when under stress or when a passenger in my car needs to access it.

I the trunk I also have:
Inexpensive, but reliable electrical tire inflation pump
Inexpensive (but not cheap) jumper cables
Old floor mats to gain tire traction, when stuck in snow or shallow mud (you can utilize your existing mats, but I rather use something I don’t mind ripping or getting covered in mud). I used those with success in the past.

Important notes:
– It is essential to test your equipment prior to putting it in the kit, especially if it uses electrical power. You do not want to find out that your tire inflation pump does not work, when you are inflating your spare (spare tires can and do loose air over the years of being in the trunk).
– I did not yet get, but would recommend emergency road flares (often used by police to warn drivers of a disabled car) or a reflective emergency triangle.
– I did not care to get a radio. I can listen to one in my car. If my battery is dead, I can get by without a radio. Where I live it makes a little difference to me to know that more snow will fall on my car if stuck on a side of a road. If you need a radio to make you feel connected to the society and keep you from panicking or if you need to know that a hurricane is coming to your area, do get one by all means. If radio is very important to you, then get one that can use AA lithium batteries (see above for my reasoning). If a radio is not critical to you, but you still want one, a crank radio with less reliable rechargeable batteries inside might be OK if it offers a better value.

picking a defense weapons set for an average Joe or Jill in three different hypothetical scenarios

May 27, 2010

My thoughts on picking a defense weapons set for an average Joe in three different hypothetical scenarios. An average Jill can use the same principles, but if necessary she will need to adjust suggestions below to her physical strength (for example get a revolver in .38 caliber that might be lighter than .357, use regular .38 ammo instead of .38 +P, etc).

Let me first describe Joe. He’s a male of an average strength. He knows how to shoot a handgun, but never went through a formal training, nor does he practice his shooting skills on a regular basis. He has a wife and two small children. He does not have much money to spend on guns. He lives in low-middle income class suburbs. He rents a large apartment or owns a mid-size townhome or a house.

Scenario 1 – home invasion by burglars
Suggested items: alarm system, large can of pepper spray, medium to large frame double action revolver, mini gun safe, good tactical flashlight from a reputable maker

Some thoughts on strategy and auxiliary means of protection.
1) Joe should get an alarm system. Even cheap alarms sold at discount stores, that simply sound an alarm when somebody passes them by, are better than nothing. While they are not connected to a police station and might not be loud enough to attract neighbors attention, they are likely to serve two purposes: startle the invader and possibly make him leave the house and wake Joe up. Awake Joe has a chance of getting to his defensive weapons before attacker gets to the sleeping Joe and his family.
Hint: if you have a pet, place this security device 3-4 feet of the floor. Most pets will be shorter than 4 feet and most attackers will be taller. If your dog is taller than 4 feet, you might not need a security device in a first place.
Hint: If you get an alarm system from a security agency, you will pay monthly fees. In exchange the agency will provide monitoring services and automatically call police department if alarm is breached. However, in cases when burglar cuts the phone/cable wires they won’t get a call although the alarm bell inside of the house will still go off and wake Joe up. Joe might consider getting a system with so called cellular backup. It sends a cellular call to the monitoring agency when land lines are cut (you can not add this to your Verizon Wireless plan, btw). More advanced burglars might jam the signal, then cut the wires, but such advanced burglars are unlikely to target Joe’s residence in the first place.
2) Joe should devise a plan of action
3) Joe should make an effort to read a home defense book or better yet attend training. Two books I would recommend are: NRA’s “Personal Protection Inside Home” and “The Farnam method of defensive handgunning”. The classes I would recommend are both from NRA: “Basic Pistol” and “Personal Protection Inside Home” courses. Note that there are 40,000+ NRA instructors. Vast majority are good, but use common sense when picking whose class to attend.

Suggested brands: Smith and Wesson, Ruger, modern (2005 +) Charter Arms, Taurus. A very good option would be to find a used Smith and Wesson or Ruger in good condition with maybe some holster wear, but excellent bore and tight action and then have it serviced by a gunsmith. This will give Joe an excellent revolver at an excellent price (in my opnion certainly better than Taurus and Charter Arms).

* Suggested caliber and barrel length: .357 with 4 inch barrel. For home defense concellability is not a concern, so get a full size revolver that will offer you more options. While, as you see below, I think .38 caliber ammo should be used for home protection, being able to shoot .357 gives you more options, should you ever need to shoot a bear that wandered into your backyard (note: if you don’t know it yet – both .38 and .357 ammo can be shot from .357 revolver, but not the other way around). Given the same round 4 inch barrel has more rifling to spin bullet to a higher speed than say a 2 inch barrel can. It also puts a bit more weight in the barrel, thus helping to reduce recoil. On possible downsides, a pistol with longer barrel is easier to wrestle out during hand to hand fight and it might be a bit too heavy to hold for small frame folks who do not excercise. However, I would not recommend to go with anything less than 2 1/4 in barrel for a home defense revolver. Revolvers with shorter barrels also tend to be made for concealed carry and as a result be smaller and hold 5 rounds as oppose to 6 or 7. Note that .38 revolver might be a little less heavy than .357 due to having a slightly less beafed up frame.

* Fixed sights or adjustable
Not relevant for home defense. Joe is likely to point and shoot as oppose to to take a careful aim at a stationary target that is 50 yards away. Fixed sight revolvers tend to be a bit less expensive on average, however they are unlikely to come with high visibility sights. Note that not all adjustable sights are high visibility either. This can be remedied by applying inexpensive glow in the dark paint to the front sight (don’t look for this paint at your local PartyCity store. Look on gun sites such as Brownells, MidwayUSA, Cabella’s, Cheaperthandirt, etc or ask your gun dealer). A gunsmith can also install a high visibility plastic insert in the front sight for a small fee. Additionally, fixed sights won’t get misaligned or catch on clothing.

* Laser sights
Highly recommended. Do not buy cheap sights for $20-80. They will waste your money and put your life in danger when a serious situation arises. Go for expensive, proven laser sights, such as Crimson Trace or one of their major competators. Crimson trace can set you back a couple of hunder dollars, but it will give the best of the breed and provide with some perks such as 1hr video tutorial on using the sights (tactics, benefits, pitfalls). Since most of CT sights replace your factory grips, you can get some money back by selling your old grips online. I will say that unless you can afford a good, reliable, and reputable sight, do not get it at all. Note that while it very is helpful, thousands of folks survived just fine wthout one. This is not unlike paper map vs a GPS or sliced bread vs a loaf. And of course always remember to practice with your iron sights (this might come in handy if your laser does fail for some reason – dead batteries for example) ! Even CrimsonTrace folks remind us of that.

* Sight in your revolver
Sight in your laser or adjustable sights following manufacturer instructions. Ask a gunshop owner or experienced folks at a firing range if you need help. While it might seem that this contradicts what I have said about adjustable sights relevancy for home defense it does not. If you ever use your sights to take a careful aim you will need to follow one of the cardinal rules of firearm safety is “Be sure of your traget and what is beyond”. How can you be sure of your target if your laser sights make you shoot 5 inches to te right?

* Get the right ammo
Much can be found on the web about what kind of ammo one should choose for a revolver to be used for home defense. For an average Joe I would recommend to stick with .38 +P hollow points in 125 grain, .38 +P in 158 grain lead semi wudcutter hollow point (aka FBI load), or maybe 110 grain .357 hollow points if you find recoil manageable and can hit targets consistently. If you find all of the above too much, then consider .38 lead hollow points in 125 grain made by Federal. They are a bit hard to find and might be expensive, but have a solid reputation. Try to practice with ammo similar to what you have for self defense. For example, if it is .38 +P in 158 grain lead semi wudcutter hollow point then practice with .38 159 grain +P rounds. They do not have to be hollow point of course, which will make them less expensive. Make sure to run 200+ rounds of chosen self defense ammo (or at least as much as you can afford) through your revolver to ensure it functions flawlessly with it. Your gun might function perfectly with practice ammo you use, but fail to operate properly with your self defense ammo, if it has harder primers, etc.

Scenario 2 – localized riots, looting aka Katrina scenario

Scenario 3 – the End of the World as We Know It aka SHTF

Why do those who carry firearms for living fail to master it?

May 27, 2010

Last Friday I went to pre-qualify for an NRA course. I have never taken any NRA courses before and the instructor wanted to make sure that I am familar with safety rules and can shoot my firearm well enough to take the class. Right before me there were 6 or 8 security officers quialifying with their side arms. I was shocked at how poorly they did. I am not a crack shot by any means and in fact I consider myself to be mediocre. However, I saw my groups to be tighter than most of the ones by the security officers and I was shooting a DA revolver vs a modern semi-automatic (I saw many Glocks, XDs, and one 5 shot snubby – one of two shooters who did well). The target was a large stylized body outline (Q target), distance was about 7 yards, and speed of fire was slow to somewhat rapid. I saw many misses as well as truly poor grouping. I can only imagine what the shooting would be if they were under true stress. In addition I saw how one of the officers managed to load a .380 into his 9mm handgun and was puzzled that it had a failure to feed. The reason I was shocked as oppose to just amuzed is that not only their livelihood depends on their shooting skills, but their life! In my professional occupation I try to take skill improvement courses and attend workshops relevant to my job. I do less than I think I should – I do not read trade magazines due to the lack of time, I do not write articles, don’t go to trade shows, etc. However, this does not have an impact on me living or dying. Excellent shooting skills on the other hand have a direct impact on one’s life if that person is carrying a handgun to defend oneself “in the greatest extreme”. So why would one not spend the extra effort to be a good shot, be familiar with defensive tactics, etc?

Choosing a 9mm revolver.

August 19, 2009

I recently started thinking about what would be the best firearm for the BOB (aka bug out bag). Many folks recommend a 22 rifle/handgun for the BOB, but I think that a larger caliber small frame handgun will work better. Rifle is not easy to hide, and when SHTF you probably don’t want to attract extra attention to your persona. Unless you plan on hiding in the woods, you probably will be trying to get out from the area with a number of other people. Evacuation might be organized by some authority (government agency, ad hoc evacuation committee, military, etc). If I had to guess, I would say that authorities will prefer not to have armed folks walking around in a crisis cituation. If evacuation is not organized, other folks might try to take the firearm from you, so that they have it instead of you. If you want to have an argument, that’s your call, but I believe that the best way to win an armed confrontation is to avoid it in the first place.

When we consider handguns we are typically faced with choices of revolvers or semi-sutomatic handguns in small, medium, and large frames. Larger frame normally provides for a longer barrel and a higher capacity of rounds. This is done at the expense of extra weight and concealibility. Smaller frames are lighter, easier to hide, but typically have 5 rounds in revolvers and up to 10 in semiautomatics.

Semiauthomatic is a very viable choice for many. However, for some it might not be the best option for a couple reasons. If you don’t practice enough drills to work the safety, clear misfeeds, etc under stress you are probably better off with a lower capacity revolver than a higher capacity handgun. It is just simplier to operate under stress, this is why many still prefer to have a revolver as their bed side firearm for home protection. Second, if there is a chance that a family member will use this firearm and they are not trained in use of firearms, then revolver wins hands down. The most important thing they need to know is to how to aim in a general direction of the threat and how to pull a trigger. No need to know how to work safeties and no worrying about weak grip.

Suppose I convinced you and you decided to pack a revolver in your BOB. What type, frame (size) and caliber? First, make sure to pick a double action revolver. If you don’t the difference between single and double action in a revolver then search for it on the internet. Second, pick a small (J frame) revolver. You will be down to 5 rounds from typically 6 (sometimes 7 or even 8 in S&W M&P revolver), so you won’t loose much in terms of rounds, but will gain a lot in terms of weight and concealibility. Trying to hide a full size L frame Smith and Wesson such as the popular model 686 might not work so well (I presume you will be keeping it on your body as oppose to on a bottom of a bag, so that you can easility get to it). Also carrying 20+ ounces vs 12 for days will make a difference.

Now to the calibers. While .38 makes a lot of sense, I think that 9mm is a better option. Modern 9mm +P rounds are proven to be capable of stopping an attacker. Addtionally, if there a complete EOLAWKT (End Of Life As We Know It), then 9mm should be more common than say .38.

If you think, I am talking gibberish by putting “9mm” in the same sentense as “revolver”, you don’t know your revolvers. There are some 9mm revolvers that are available.

1) There were some 9mm revolvers made by Smith and Wesson (940, 547) and Ruger (SP101 line). They are hard to find and sell for premium prices. Excellent choice if you can afford one. If not, then you might want to consider Taurus 905. While Taurus is not on top of my list of firearm makers, they do have a reasobaly good reputation. Given a price tag of about $350 for new 905 model, it is a good option for someone on a budget. Another option that should come up in late 2009 is CARR, or Charter Arms Rimless Revolver. It should be available in .40, .45 and 9mm/380. That’s right – one model will be able to handle 9mm and 380. They will use a pretty innovative design in a budget priced revolver ($399 MSRP for 9mm/380). Read up on it on the Charter Arms website.

If you are into exotics, the you can go for Medusa revolver. It can handle .38, .357, 9mm, etc. However they are rare and the price tag is high. I just saw one for $1999 on gunbroker.

Fuinally, it is important to go over a couple of misconceptions.
* So much gas escapes in the cylinder gap that the bullet is propelled significantly slower than that from a closed breech semiautomatic.
– From what I read, it is not true for two reasons. First, not that much gas escapes to lower the velocity in the first place. Second, folks forget that semi-automatics use portion of gas to rack the slide. In the end it’s a wash in most cases.

* Barrel length of a snub-nose revolver is vastly inferior that of a pocket semiautomatic, since it offers shorter “tube” to spin the bullet.
– This is not true. While, 2in revolver barrel is shorter than 3in barrel of a semiautomatic, the bullet travels about the same disctance in the barrel. This is because, semiautomatic barrel inclides the breech where the round is inserted. So, the distance traveled is barrel length minus round length. So, we can say that 2-2.5 inch snubnose will provide the same area to spin the bullet as the 3 inch barrel of a semiautomatic.

I almost settled on buying the Taurus 905. Before getting one online I decided to call a number of local dealers to see if they have anything in stock (whenever I can afford it, I prefer to support local dealers). I did not expect to find anything locally, but to my surprise a dealer about one hour drive from my house had a practically unused SP101 in 2 1/4 inch barrel with 10 factory moonclips, original manual, box, and a lock. The price was $480 with the transfer and NICS fees included. Given that SP101 in 9mm in this condition sells online for 650 and up before taxes, NICS, etc. I was very excited to go see the revolver. I suspected that something was not right, but yet agian I was surprised. The revolver was perfect. No cylinder play, gap between the forcing cone and cylinder was tight, cylinder alignment checked out, immaculate barrel, etc. On top of the excellent price I was able to trade in my old .22 semi-automathic made by Smith and Wesson for $150 worth of credit toward the purchase price. I paid under $180 for it back in 2000 and did not shoot it much if at all in past few years. So, the SP101 cost me $335 in cash – what a steal! I plan to post a range report shortly.

Choosing a .22 revolver.

June 26, 2009

I recently decided to purchase a .22 caliber DA revolver with 2-4 inch barrel in order to practice shooting a DA wheel gun with less expensive ammunition. My requirement was simple: the revolver had to be from a manufacturer who is still in business of making DA revolvers. This would allow me to send gun for repair if necessary, obtain parts, find holsters and speed loaders, etc. This simple requirement eliminated a large number of makers and left me with revolvers from Charter Arms, Comanche, Ruger, Smith and Wesson, Taurus. I only ever held Taurus Tracker 6 inch and S&W 617 4 inch and had to base much of my opinions on internet research and calls to manufacturers.

I first eliminated Comanche as one with the worst quality from the bunch. In fact, Argentinian made (?) Comanche has such an awful reputation, I should not have even mentioned them in the same sentence with the other four makers. Terrible finish (even visible on their marketing pictures), shameful aim, jamming, etc. This makes complete sense given sub $200 price for the new gun.

I don’t think I need to elaborate on Ruger reputation, so I’ll skip pouring customary honey on them. Ruger currently does not make DA .22 wheel guns. Based on what I read, they made some SP101 in .22 in the past. I would love to have one of those, however I could not find locally nor on any of the three big internet action sites: gunbroker, auctionarms, or . This fact also suggests that it’s probably a collector’s item due to its rarity and as such will be too expensive for me.

Smith and Wesson seems to offer the best quality .22 revolvers of the group. I would love to have their model 617 even more than SP101. Unfortunately their prices have a direct correlation to the quality – they are high. Most of the used guns, especially coveted K22, are in high demand due to collector value and aforementioned quality. Supply is fairly generous, but demand is high, and so prices for a used S&W DA .22 are a bit much for me. If I can find a used S&W in my price range I’ll jump all over it regardless of cosmetic wear as long as it functions well.

Taurus seemed like the way I would go. It has a good overall reputation and considered to offer great value. I didn’t like the tracker model – too heavy for my taste. However model 94 looked like a champ. It can be found for around $350 new. When I saw a used 94 with wooden grips in 97% condition for $200, I got very excited and almost “pulled the trigger” on it. Since it was late at night, and the shop was closed I decided to read a bit about the model 94. This is where excitement stopped. I started reading posts on Taurus user forum and almost every post regarding model 94 complained about trigger pull. One gentelman measured it to be 25 lbs! In addition there were multiple negative comments about the quality of the internal parts. Sending the gun to factory using the famous lifetime warranty does not seem to improve things. Poorly made parts get replaced with slightly better made parts, keeping the overall result the same. There are no aftermarket spring kits specifically for model 94, so that route is not available either. This reminded me of a comment by gunsmith Cunningham. Sorry Taurus, I really wanted it to work. I really did, but in the end you are eliminated from my list.

The last but not least is the Charter Arms. The maker has Pathfinder model that has been in production since 1970s (?). I saw a lot more positive comments regarding Pathfinder then negative. Same goes for the company that started as a solid maker, went through tough times and 50/50 quality, and now is back making reliable and innovative revolvers. Due to its lower price (about $250 for used old model and $400 new) and solid quality this might be the best choice for me. I called the technical department just to verify safety infomation on older Pathfinders and had a very positive experience with that call. First I was almost imediately greeted by young lady who had a good understanding of the revolvers. Then, when I asked something very specific about the Pathfinder, she asked someone of the floor who had the information. In addition Charter Arms offers to look over and adjust your revolver for $50 that includes shipping it back! Parts are extra, but that’s a nominal fee in most cases.

In the end, I’ll be looking locally for S&W or Ruger and in an unlikely event of seeing one for $300-$400 I will buy it on the spot. However, I’ll more likely become an owner of a used Charter Arms revolver aquired locally or via web.


A few days after I wrote this, but before I got a chance to post it, I came across Astra Cadix on an online auction and bought it. Thus I broke my own requirement of buying from a manufacturer who is still in business of making DA revolvers. However, given price, parts availability, and reputation, I just could not refuse the deal. I ended up paying $189.68 for the S&W based Astra Cadix. Parts can be found and generally are not expensive ($25 for the full sping set for example). Not much is available on internet on Astra reputation, since they went under before internet took off, but whtever I was able to find was mostly very positive. I will find out shorlty if I made a right decision.

P.P.S I indeed made a right decision. Even though it is 42 years old, the revolver shoots very well, which is not a surprise given how well it is built. My only complaint so far is a “sticky”cylinder (I have to push pretty hard to swing it out after I slide the cylinder release button). Should be a quick and inexpensive fix by a gunsmith. I wanted to take to a gunsmith to be reassembled and cleaned anyhow, so it will work out fine in the end.
In summary I would recommend this revolver highly. Pros: shoots well, inexpensive, well built, comfortable to shoot, nice looking, adjustable sights, easily adjustable trigger pull, 9 rounds, disassemble diagrams are easy to find. Cons: need to look around to find parts if you need any, simple iron sights (they might need to be painted depending on your eye sight, but it is very easy to do), plastic grips (but I have a strong suspicion K frame square grips will work on it just fine), ribbed trigger.

Вариация на тему “Сижу за решеткой в темнице сырой. “

December 16, 2008

Вариация на тему “Сижу за решеткой в темнице сырой. “
Сижу за столом на работе своей,
вдруг звонит мне кореш Сергей.
Mой старый друган, слегка под шафе,
орёт в телефонную трубку: “пойдем-ка в кафе!”

Oрёт не смолкая, убеждая меня:
“мужик свали ты с работы, она ведь, фигня!”
Я абсолютно согласен, как-же иначе –
ведь воскресенье, босс ведь на даче!

Я вырубаю компьутер, хватит пахать –
пора идти водку с пивом глотать! (я не стахановец, вашу мать!)
Бросаю всё к черту, рву когти туда
где нализаться в зюзю можно всегда!

Следующий виток эволюции.

April 29, 2008

Целью религий является сохранение человечествa как целого, усиление, усовершенствование, подготовление к следующему витку эволюции, и перевод людей на этот новый уровень. Объединение целей различных религий и путей реализации этих целей поможет вывести новый закон нового организма, эволюционировшего в новом направлении. Человек идущий, человек думающий, человек понимающий сущность бытия, человек меняющий сущность бытия. Измена сущности бытия состоит из измены правил существования, канонов, правил, моральных и официальных законов не сколько общества, сколько отдельных личностей. Возможно ли это на данном этапе развития человечества? Да! Войны, болезни, преступления, несовершенная наука не являются преградой на пути к следующему витку развития – человека понимающего. Нездоровое тело не является признаком нездорового духа, но духа ищущего выход. Найдя этот выход, человек станет на путь понимания. Следующий уровень развития будет не сколько физическим, сколько моральным, духовственным, основанным на осмыслении и понятии мира. Осмысление, понятие и принятие происходящего помогут человеку понять, увидеть, представить, что нужно делать, необходимы ли войны, преступления, ложь и прочие негативные, но всегда присутствующие факторы для успешного развития человечества как вида и хочет ли вид как таковой переходить на новый уровень – уровень человека меняющего бытиё.

Божественный Свет

April 29, 2008


Он почти отoрвался от них, резко свернув с шоссе на проселочную дорогу. Оставалось всего 4 километра до места, где его ждала группа поддержки, и Изя уже мысленно видел радостное лицо брата, командира добровольцев встечавших его на границе с Турцией. Если бы не босоногая девчонка гнавшая свою козу через дорогуВ последнюю секунду он успел крутануть руль, вот только одна из потертых покрышек не выдержала нагрузки. Заднее колесо лопнуло как передутый воздушный шарик и его легковушка полетела в кювет. Удар выбросил Изю из открытого уазика как из катапульты и швырнул на обочину. Он попытался встать. “Что за мать вашу?!!,” – Изя ругнулся не в силах подняться. Он попробовал опять, но ноги как отнялись. “ОтнялисьНеужели?”, Изя вдруг понял, что он уже никогда не увидит брата, маму; никогда больше не поцелует Оленьку Рубенштейн и не встанет с ней под хупу. С перелом позвоночника и частичным параличом он не вернётся домой. “Ну хоть сержант больше не погонит на 50-ти километровые броски по пустыне“, усмехнулся Изя. Он вытащил из кобуры древний Вебли, оставшийся еще от англичан, и отцепил от ремня лимонку. Негусто, но на последок хватит. “Вот и гости“, подумал Изя о взводе солдат, что посыпались как горох из догнавшего его грузовика. Изя приподнялся на локтях и отсрелялся как в тире, по две пули в каждый силуэт. Заорав на фарси, солдаты залегли, дав ему необходимые секунды. Изя бросил пустой револьвер, неуклюже перевернулся на спину и в последний раз посмотрел на глубокое небо. “Пора“, он аккуратно выдернул чеку, положил гранату рядом с лицом и отпустил рычагникто не должен знать, что сгоревший вчера в пожаре архитектор Пахлеви, воскрес и только что застрелил трех солдат аллаха.


Президент Рухала Халени молился в мечете, хваля всевышнего за то, что помог стереть с листа земли проклятый Израиль и всех нечистых вместе с ним. Теперь он встанет в истории мусульман рядом с великими Ахмадежином и Ахмени. Еще маленьким ребёнком Рухала научился ненавидеть Израиль и Соединенные Штаты. Они не верили в пророка Мухамеда и принижали мусульман во всём мире как только могли, распространяя свою демократию. Проституция, гомосексуализм, преступлениявот что было результатом их демократии. Имам Ахмени был правсвобода слова и поведения не для всех. Только избранные, как Рухала, должны создавать социальные нормы общества, цели и идеалы людей страны и, волей Аллаха, вскоре всего мира. Теперь, после того как Израильтяне были поражены генетическим вирусом, заражавшим только нечистых, можно посмотреть и на своих близких соседей. Пришло время платить старые долги, за Кавказ, за Чечню, где погиб его дед. Америка, это вонючая помойка, скоро сдохнет сама. Как вшивая собака, она кусает себя восстания меньшинства белых и афро-американцев в США против против сотни миллионов выходцев из латинской Америки, революции против коммунистов на Кубе и Венесуэле, вспышка вируса в Бразилии

Закончив вечернюю молитву, Президент Халени вышел из мечети и взглянул на это восхитительное здание, построенное много лет назад малоизвестным архитектором. Это была единственная, мечеть, что возвел молодой Пахлеви, перед тем как сгореть в пожаре. Несмотря на это его работа была настоящим произведением искуства, сочетанием ручной работы с последними технологиями середины двадцатого века. Солнечные панели набирали силу солнца и продолжали освещать белоснежный купол даже ночью, за что по предложению архитектора мечеть назвалиБожественный Свет“.


Кнуд выключил телевизор, передаваший сенсационные новости с ближнего востока. Он медленно поднялся из кресла и подошел к окну. Глядя на вид прекрасного фиорда, Кнуд вспоминал свою любимую бабушку Эллу, кто баловала внука как никто другой, уделяя ему много внимания и покупая многочисленные подарки. На пятый год рождения, она принесла ему дорогой игрушечный телефон, который Кнуд сохранил до сих пор и уже готовился передать своей внучке. Только много лет спустя уезжавшая умирать на родину Элла объяснила взрослуму внуку почему, играя с ним в детстве в телефонную станцию, она просила его набирать один из номеров чаще других. Ну что же, пора. Кнуд достал из кармана брюк мобильник и не глядя набрал врезавшиeся в память цифры. Звонок пошел через пол-мира и через несколько секунд в трубке зазвучали отрывистые гудки. После трех включился автоответчик, подсоединенный к батарее, что подзаряжалась много лет солнечными панелями. Автоответчик послал електричекий сигнал по проводу идущему в скрытый под самым центром пола мечети подвал. Провод заканчивался клеммами припаяннами к большому металлическому шару, около трех метров в диаметре. Почти мгновенно шар с ядерным зарядом раскрылся пламенным тюльпаном иБожественный Светвырвавшийся из смертельного цветка осветил выбранный людьми путь.

МартАпрель 2008