Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Basic Battery

I was speaking with a couple (let’s just call them Sid and Nancy) at a Christmas party recently and somehow we got talking about me going deer hunting. Nancy said I should teach her husband Sid to hunt and at the time I thought it was a throw away line delivered just to keep the conversation flowing. A few days later I was talking with Sid and hunting again came up. I asked him what kind of guns he owned. Now, Sid is a combat veteran who grew up around agriculture in the deep South - certainly not some touchy-feely metro-sexual. Nancy was at one time a reserve police officer – and it was she who recommended I teach Sid to hunt. So I naturally assumed I was about to hear a litany of firearms they had tucked away in their safe.

“I don’t have any guns”.

In this day and age. No guns.
Sid, a big ol’ country boy combat vet, and Nancy a supportive and at least marginally trained wife – with kids I might add.
And not a gun in the house.

I wanted to weep.
But instead I went on the offensive with something like, “DUDE – you need to get some firearms. Right now.”

He asked for recommendations and this entry is based on what I told him.

Pump Shotgun

This is the basic firearm that should be required by law to be maintained in every home. I recommend a pump because they are simple to learn to operate, they are less complex in operation, and they are less expensive than semi-autos. Single and double barrels may suffice for hunting but they are not ideal for defensive purposes due to the lack of ammunition capacity.

Normally for those on a budget (and who isn’t?) and with smaller wives I recommend a 20 gauge. At household distances a 20 gauge is just as effective as a 12 gauge but with significantly reduced recoil. I also recommend a youth model. Youth models have shorter buttstocks and longer fore ends which make them easier to handle by those with short arms. Those with big arms have very little problems shooting them. Conversely, smaller people have a difficult time shooting shotguns that are too big for them.

In this case however, Nancy is a large woman (and I don’t mean fat – she is over six feet tall I’d reckon and strong) who can handle a 12 gauge. I recommended to Sid that he stop by Chinamart on his way home from work and purchase a Mossberg 500 “combo model”. I recommend this shotgun for a few reasons. First, Mossberg makes the least expensive decent pump shotgun. No, it’s not the famed Remington 870. That logo on the side will cost you at least an additional $100 and you won’t get the spare barrel and chokes you get with a Mossy. That’s right – the combo package comes with an 18.25” barrel ideal for defensive purposes and a longer, vent-ribbed barrel complete with three screw-in choke tubes so you can use it to hunt just about whatever you want. It also comes with a really sexy pistol grip. I tell everyone to sell the pistol grip at the next gun show and use the money to buy more ammo.

Now, I could write a book on shotguns and some day I may, but to keep this entry manageable let me conclude by saying a pump shotgun as described is an extremely versatile weapon: you can defend the homestead and hunt everything from squirrels to turkey to geese to bears with them. If you don’t own one you should really just stop reading and go buy one. Now.

Deer Rifle

We are describing a bolt action rifle of approximately .30 caliber with a scope. Now those of you who have been reading this blog for any length of time know I’m not a gear queer. That is my deer rifle up there and to the uninitiated it looks “high speed”. I assure you it is not. It is just a base-model Remington 700 in .308 with a Bushnell scope and about $3 worth of Krylon spray paint. You can pick something like this up (minus the paint job) at most Chinamarts for less than … wow, I was going to say $500 but I decided to do a quick online check – I think you are looking at around $600-700. I will entertain comments from you guys on pricing of decent, basic deer rifles. My wife bought me my deer rifle a long time ago for about $300. They aren’t getting any cheaper gang.

Now entire Internet forums are dedicated to firearms. There you will find folks who argue incessantly about this detail or that. I’m a basic guy. I use basic gear. If that gear works, I’m not usually in a hurry to replace it. Take my deer rifle. It is not special. It doesn’t have a synthetic stock or pillar bedding, an adjustable trigger, or any other gadgets. My scope is a basic off the shelf model that I paid $32 dollars for. You can spend four times as much on a deer rifle set up. But you know what? I have killed about 30 deer with that rifle. I never miss. And that basic, low budget rifle is capable of shooting better than most people who pick it up. It does no good to buy a rifle that will shoot sub-minute of angle groups if you are not a sub-minute of angle shooter. And the vast majority is not. Also, to hunt deer, one does not need that kind of accuracy – you need to hit a fairly large target area to put a deer down. Buy a basic rifle, learn to shoot it well. Spend you money on ammo and training and only then consider upgrading to a better rifle.

Why buy a deer rifle? Because you can shoot big things far away with it. That could be a deer, or a cow, or a crazed zombie mutant. Much better to shoot them way over there than in the living room. ‘Nuff said.


Every adult should have a handgun. Every adult should be armed all the time. Scroll down and read about Virginia Tech, read about Jeanne Assam – you don’t get to pick when Trouble is coming to visit. You will not be carrying a shotgun or rifle around with you 24/7. There is a cutesy phrase that circulates amongst the gun culture that says, “A pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should not have set down in the first place.” Yeah…

Get a handgun. Here I will once again enter into the fray: As long as it is .38 Special or better, it really doesn’t matter what caliber you get. I have a friend that shoots 9mm. I used to tease him unmercifully. I’d say things like, “9mm is a fine caliber – my daughters shoot it. My wife even used to shoot it until she moved up to .45”. I don’t want to enter the caliber wars so I’ll just stick with what I said - .38 Special or better. I will also say that it really doesn’t matter if it’s a wheel gun or a semi-automatic. Just get one you will feel comfortable toting around all day, every day. And once you get your handgun – go get trained in its use. First learn how to shoot accurately. This is basic handgun instruction. Then go learn how to fight with it – you will pay good money for this instruction and if you ever need to use your handgun for real it will have been worth every penny.

Battle Rifle

You may never need it. But if you do – you will be so glad you have had one, trained with it, and gotten very familiar with its use. I think the odds are good we will have a Democrat for President and a Democrat led Congress in a little over a year. I think if that happens things could get very tight in the gun market – Democrats are traditionally anti-gun. I think I am not alone in these thoughts as the price of “assault rifles” continues to climb. “Buy one before ’08 and know the price will go up every week between now and then” is what I told Sid.

Again, I will not enter the fray on which type to buy. I will just say this – get a platform that closely mimics a proven military arm. AR15, AK47, M1A, FAL, etc, etc. Basically you want a weapon that is robust, that fires a proven cartridge, and that takes magazines so that it can be reloaded quickly.

I chose the Mossberg 500 because it is the least expensive decent pump gun. For the same reasons, I recommended that Sid buy an AK47 clone. Of all the decent “assault rifles” it is the cheapest. And for the record, I am not a huge AK fan personally. But I am also not trying to build an armory over night with limited funds. When you get your rifle, get a bunch of magazines for it. Get real magazines – not some Cheaperthanmud knock off. Having 12 would not be too many. Not by a long shot.

Closing Thoughts

So those are the basics according to Joe. For those with no guns at all, I recommend you go out and get this battery as quickly as possible. We are potentially just two days (at any given time) away from total chaos. I may have mentioned it before, but Gabe Suarez said something that keeps resonating through my mind – “The only thing harder than preparing is having to explain why you didn’t”.

Is this an ideal battery? Of course not. It is a working one though. It would be better if one would standardize weapons and calibers. For example, one could get a deer rifle in .308 and then choose a .308 battle rifle such as an FAL, or MIA. Ideally, a family would purchase identical pistols or at least caliber, for the adults to use as well. It would be great if every member of the family had a complete set of the above weapons – all identical.

But in the end, your family is not a military unit – you don’t NEED to be standardized. You won’t be shooting a million rounds at mutant zombies over the course of your lifetime – but you could very conceivably have to go through several magazines at some point in your life.

Time is getting short. I hope that you never have to sit down and cry someday because you spent your money on big screen televisions and Wiis instead of basic gear – basic gear like a basic battery.

Do you know what Jesus said?

Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. – Luke 22:36

Do you have a “sword”?

See you out there.
If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Friday, December 14, 2007

God bless you, Jeanne Assam

I originally wrote this entry last Tuesday morning. Just as I was getting ready to post it – the power went out. It has been out for three and a half days and just came back on. I will probably write about our experiences during the blackout at a later time. For now, I would like to pay tribute to a great American.

Today I want to write about an American heroine – Jeanne Assam. A good Christian woman, former police officer and currently just an American citizen with a CCW (concealed carry permit) who stepped up to the plate when she was needed. She should be held up to school children across the land as a role model to emulate.

The Situation
Some scumbag decided he didn’t like Christians. On Saturday night, he killed two people at a missionary training center in Arvada, Colorado. Evidently, this center was linked somehow to the New Life Church, some 70 miles away in Colorado Springs. Someone (reportedly Jeanne Assam) recommended to the pastor that “security be increased” at New Life. Now, New Life Church is one of those “mega churches” and is spread out over a “campus”. There were evidently about 7,000 souls “at church” at the time of the shootings.

Sure enough, the same evil-indwelt creature showed up and started shooting folks at New Life. He was dressed all in black with a black trench coat (what is it with these losers?) In the parking lot he killed two teen-aged sisters Stephanie and Rachael Works and wounded their father and several others. He then stepped into the church and continued shooting. He was apparently armed with an AR-15 type rifle, “thousands of rounds of ammunition” and some smoke grenades. He obviously wanted to kill a lot of people. He was capable of doing so. By the time any police could have arrived on the scene there could have been tens of people dead and dying.

The Solution
Imagine the pandemonium. Multiple shots fired. People are running away from the shooter screaming, fearful for their lives. Some lay wounded, some lay dead, and others lay dying. And one person - one tiny woman, ran towards the sound of the guns.

From some sources at the scene and news reports I am hearing - she very calmly shot the evil-one to the ground using a 9mm Beretta. I am also hearing that she was advancing the entire time she was engaging the murderer and fired over 10 times. I am also hearing she “Mozambiqued” him. May God richly bless her for saving lives.

Assam said she was relying on God to guide her and to protect her. Yes!

The Spin
The media, being a large part of the problem, don’t want the sheeple learning the wrong (correct) lessons from this affair. They are continuously referring to Jeanne Assam as “Security” or a “Security Team”. Some even refer to her as “hired security.” They constantly refer to her as a former police woman. They throw the term “licensed” around trying to get people to picture some type of TSA organization.

The Truth

This was a civilian woman with a gun and a permit to carry it. The same permit most of you can legally obtain in your state. She volunteered to act as security for one service after she attended another. She was an “every day woman”.

Evidently, some of the congregation volunteered to serve as “security”. Some of them had CCWs and were armed – yes, in church. Also evidently, this church had some type of security plan. They actually thought ahead and considered what could happen and what to do when those things did happen. God bless them for it.

Another thing I’m hearing/reading: Some of the armed security would not fire on the evil one. One man evidently shouted at an armed person to “give me your gun” so he could shoot the bad guy.

The Lessons
I hope you take some things away from this situation. I hope you sit down and think it through while you are calm, well rested, and under no stress. I hope you take some positive action.

In a shooting of this type, whether it is in a church, in a school, in a mall or on the street – the police are not going to save you. They will respond much too late to have any real effect.

It is up to you. Personal responsibility. You are responsible for your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Get used to it.

You should carry a gun. Carry your own gun. You should be well trained in its use. You should be mentally prepared to use it. Evidently, some gun toters in this situation were not ready to take the final, necessary action.

Your organization should have plans to deal with emergencies. This particular incident is a good one to discuss and prepare for. Your organization should also have medical plans in place. These plans require forethought, preparation, supplies, dissemination of information, and rehearsals/practice.

Establishing “gun free zone” whether at schools, churches or wherever are just like putting up large neon signs that say – “Come shoot us, come take advantage of us – we are all unarmed”. Guess what? Criminals don’t obey laws – it’s why they are criminals. They don’t care what the “rules” are.

You don’t have to be some 6’3” 230 pound Alpha-male to make a difference. A small woman, properly armed and trained, has the capability to stop attackers cold.

That is what Jeanne Assam did. The entire nation should thank her for her selfless service, for her initiative, for her making the effort, for her responsibility, for her love of her fellow man.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
- Philippeans 4:13

God bless you, Jeanne Assam.

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Saturday, December 01, 2007

"Run for your lives!"

Wilderness survival, family preparedness, security. That’s what this blog is all about. One can and should prepare for all of those things. Here’s the thing though – when stuff happens, even if one has prepared for it – it is usually a surprise. It is a no-notice affair and the stakes can be life or death. It is a “come as you are” party.

It's Not About Stuff
To the extent that they address these issues at all, most folks prepare by purchasing stuff. Some sturdy souls actually go experiment with, play with, try, and practice with their stuff. Some actually get quite competent with their stuff. Some carry lots of stuff all the time so they are never without their stuff. If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all you will recognize this line of thought…

Today I’m going to write about something other than stuff. It’s something you can take with you all the time. No, it’s not knowledge – I’ve beat that horse pretty well. Today I’m going to write about something that modern Americans don’t seem to need a whole lot of. Something that, when you need it – you may NEED it. Something that, try as they might, Americans cannot buy. Because at the end of the day – it’s not about money – it’s about the man or woman inside. Today’s topic is fitness.

“Run for your lives!” How many movies has that line been in? I could describe a variety of scenarios where you would be required to exert maximal physical effort or die; scenarios where, if you did not perform to the utmost limits of human capability you would get to watch your loved one die. Off the top of my head… you awake to noise and heat. The house is on fire! You stand up (uh-oh!) realize there is no air up here, drop down and make your way to the exit. Oops, your loved one is passed out. You must now grab your loved one, drag them off the bed, and crawl, pulling them with you, 35 feet, over stuff and around corners. It is HOT. There is very little air. It is loud. You get outside and you realize your loved one is in bad shape. You need help. The only help is the neighbor’s half a mile away. Time to run.

No Excuses
But Joe, I’d just do this. That scenario does not apply to me. Or, instead of X, I’d do Y (something not involving physical stress). Sure, I’ve heard it before. It’s your weak pathetic brain making excuses so that you can continue to live a life of self-satisfied over-indulgence lacking any sort of meaningful physical activity. Ouch.

Don’t make excuses. Your life and the lives of your loved ones may one day depend on your ability to make your body do what you want it to do. Now I am not a physical trainer (yet – I am considering it), I am not some sports-medicine doc either. But in the past (key concept, that) I have been in awesome shape. I used to run ultra-marathons; I swam in seven seas – pulling heavy things behind me; I hiked over more mountains and through more swamps and across more deserts than I care to remember… and now that song is in my ears “What have you done for me lately?” I’m still in better shape than the vast majority of men my age. And three days ago I realized I’m not close to where I need to be. Most of you are not either.

Burpee Challenge
Long story short, the folks over at Warrior Talk came up with one exercise that best measured combat fitness and decided on the “burpee”. Go to and look at their demo vid if you don’t know what one is. (Now this entry is not about any specific exercise so save the comments in that regard, please). The “Burpee Challenge” was issued – how many burpees can you do in 30 minutes? Quick, simple, no special equipment needed. Wow. Eye-opener. And I have a new favorite exercise.

There Are No Shortcuts
Here’s the deal: You need to be fit. You should be able to lift and move heavy things; you should be able to cover short distances very fast and long distances quickly and efficiently. You should be flexible. You should be able to do hard work for long periods of time.

Here’s another thing: there are no short cuts. As I said up there, you can’t buy fitness. See, that’s what most Americans try to do when they join gyms and health clubs, buy the latest fitness gadget on TV or worse, try to “supplement” themselves to fitness. Boys and girls, you are going to have to sweat. You are going to have to push yourself. You are going to have to eat right and take care of your body. I’m not going to tell you about hard days and easy days, proper warm up and cool down, seeing a doc first and etc. All of that info is available. If you feel the need to pay for it – go for it. Just know that in end, it all comes down to YOU. is a good resource. I’m sure there are others. Again, in the end – it comes down to you and your effort.

Daniel 10:18-19 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.

See you out there.

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America