Dear Leftists

You hated Reagan, and you hated Bush (both of them), you loved Clinton and Obama, and you hate Trump.

Reagan didn’t start a nuclear war with Russia. The Bushes both had problems with foreign policy, getting the US involved in wars in the middle east (but in terms of military deployments Clinton and Obama weren’t playing tiddlywinks either).

But how did you get Reagan? How did you get Trump? You got Reagan and Trump by forcing Carter and Obama on America. You got Carter by weaponizing journalists to go after Nixon. You got Obama by having journalists utterly shill for Obama and, I directly quote “not do their jobs” during the Obama years (including helping him get elected).

But…how did you get Nixon? Well, clearly bombing the hell out of America didn’t work at stopping a Republican from taking the White House. So yeah, that’s a surefire recipe for a successful “people’s revolution!” isn’t it?

Which makes me cringe a little when I read idiocy like this, which justifies killing people in the name of advancing the Leftist cause.  and .

Look Leftists, we know you are really hardcore Marxists at heart. You talk about “democratic socialism” as being different from real socialism because this time you really REALLY want the people to vote on the farm and factory quotas rather than a central committee. Newsflash, the rest of America knows you are Marxist, and we find it refreshing when you talk of bombing government workers who are working for a President you don’t like (even if they are doing the exact same work they did for your guy, somehow it’s icky now that Trump is in office rather than the Deporter in Chief).

But finally, it’s time to shit or get off the pot. Start the glorious revolution you so dearly desire if you truly mean it. Or shut up about it. Cause I for one am sick and tired of hear about how you want to punch non-Leftists in the face and kill their families.

Now…this may cause me to rethink my stance on the 30-30 as the ideal survivalist rifle, only because a 30 round magazine is really convenient when you are outnumbered by a mob of Leftists.

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The cryptocurrency bubble

It’s not like this is a shocker to anyone. Last year there were all the signs of a cryptocurrency bubble:

And this year, the bubble popped.

A few years ago one of my acquaintances made the observation that gold was hardly a stable form of wealth. He had a very good point that showed the price of gold against the US dollar over time over the last few decades. However I think he was missing the point, the variability in gold prices is directly linked to the instability of the value of the dollar (or any other currency).

The laws of supply and demand are very real, and dictate that there is not such thing as a “stable form of wealth.” You’ll only ever get current market prices for anything, whether that be a fiat currency issued by a government, a fiat cryptocurrency issued by a network of volunteers, or some physical commodity like gold or silver.

Now, does this mean that BitCoin and all other cryptocurrencies are worthless? No, it just means that the market is correcting the exchange rate. I doubt that cryptocurrencies will go away, they are very useful in conducting online transactions without using “official” channels like a credit card or bank. The lure of having online anonymity similar to purchasing things in cash is going to ensure that some form of cryptocurrency stays around for a bit longer.

I personally think that the biggest danger of cryptocurrencies is that there is essentially an unlimited supply of them, and Moore’s Law keeps saying that older standards will become trivially easy to generate (aka the mining part) so that newer standards will be needed to create scarcity. This creates a conundrum of needing a user base with trust in the currency combined with the right level of technology to make the cryptocurrency useful to that base.  Honestly in ten years I’ll be surprised if BitCoin is still the dominant cryptocurrency, although it is a possibility.

To me this makes cryptocurrencies an interesting problem for the prepper community. After all a cryptocurrency is essentially worthless without the internet, so any disaster scenario without access to the internet makes a cryptocurrency pretty worthless. However, if there is access to the internet, then there may be some utility to the currency, unless the other aspects of civilization (such as taking delivery of physical goods) is disrupted (very likely in any disaster scenario). So for now, cryptocurrencies are definitely less valuable than physical trade stuffs like gold or silver coins, or even a pile of cash (which may or may not be just as worthless as a cryptocurrency in a disaster).

Still, in times of normalcy there can be utility in a cryptocurrency for your individual situation. But like anything prepping related, diversify your assets so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket.

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Violence is always an option.

But it shouldn’t be your default option.

Now if you think that you should be carrying a round in the chamber with your pistol in a custom molded kydex holster inside the waistband with a tourniquet on your tactical belt with your low profile body armor keeping you safe while your backup revolver is in your ankle holster…. This post isn’t for you. If you’ve gone full tactical ‘tard where you pay money to roll around on someone’s range dirt while others toss gravel at you (cause that there’s REAL training!) then drive on with your bad self.

To everyone still reading, your first option is the controlling the things that you can control. Your awareness and your posture. Things like your level of fitness, and level of sleep, are actually less under your absolute control than we’d like.

I had a self defense instructor who invariably got this question, “well what would you do if someone snuck up behind you and smacked you in the head with a pipe?!?!!” and his answer was, “fall over into a coma and die in the hospital three days later, next question.”

Now if you are carring a pistol (and a backup pistol) and wearing body armor, and packing a super hero utility belt worth of first aid and gadgetry, odds are low that “Sumdood Lo-Life” will take you for an easy mark. Especially not if you devout hours of your day doing crossfit and replacing two of three meals with byproduct of kale farming.

But you’re not that guy. Pat Tillman was that guy (although way too cool for the kale diet), and he died from friendly fire. Chris Kyle was that guy, and he died from a deranged lunatic on a gun range.

Where did they go wrong in training? Pat Tillman got separated from the rest of his fire team and got schwacked because of it. Chris Kyle put too much trust in a complete stranger who turned out to be nuttier than a shithouse squirrel. There was no lack of training in each of those cases, there was a lack of judgement. I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead, only to point out that mistakes were made, and we should learn from them so that we don’t repeat them.

In my personal life, I extend trust way too easy. I’m a big guy, I don’t fear other people as a routine course of my life. But I know a bunch of little dudes who could end me, quickly, should they decide to take advantage of that trust. A sociopath will do their damndest to appear normal, until they don’t have to appear normal anymore (hey brother, got a light?).

And if you let a malign actor inside your reaction zone, having a round chambered, even in an outside the waistband holster, doesn’t do you any statistical good (based on FBI LEO death statistics of close range attacks).

Lastly, Tillman died in war, and the FBI data on LEO deaths from short range ambushes is also “in the line of duty.” Unless you are a Soldier or a Cop those data points are pretty meaningless to you. But despite the tactical situations being different, the point of being aware of the spaces around you, and giving yourself options, helps avoid the need to apply violence as a problem solver.

Keep your heads up.

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More Russian Sniper Propaganda

The Russian’s have been on a sniper press blitz for a while now. Here’s another press release breathlessly repeated by a gullible western press:

In it the “7.62 subsonic and 12.7 noiseless” options are talked about….

Well, yawn. The Russkies have been pimping 12.7×55 subsonic since at least 2012, without every going to a widespread issue for their military forces, and the rather ancient at this point 9×39 subsonic round is still the bulk of their “silent, subsonic” sniper system out in the force.

Meanwhile, it seems like everybody in the US not jumping on the latest 6.5mm long range cartridge is building a 300 Blackout. Essentially subsonic sniper rifles the worst of all worlds, the energy levels of a pistol but the bulk and weight of a platform that doesn’t have the reach of a standard service rifle. There are a lot of drawbacks to having a dedicated “silent” sniper system.

The biggest drawback is that there really is no range advantage over your victims. If the infantry you attack can pinpoint you, well then your day just went south very fast. With a standard sniper rifle, you can engage beyond the range of 5.56×45 or 5.45×39 quite easily, and really only have to worry about medium machine guns or larger as an immediate response.

Now, there is tactical utility in having the capability. If an approach team can’t take out a sentry, but a sniper can from 200 to 300 meters away, then a suppressed sniper system makes good sense. However a 200 or 300 meter shot can be taken by a normal 308 Win pushing a 175 SMK at 1050 fps from the muzzle gives an impact at 300 meters that a “normal” load would have at 1000 meters (36.7 minutes of drop). Clearly the 308 sniper systems in use today can make 1000 meter shots, so the 300 meter subsonic shot is completely doable with good dope, and you don’t need a dedicated subsonic sniper rifle to do it, just attach a suppressor to the regular rifle and use subsonic ammunition.

The russians like to say that the 9×39 has an effective range of “400 to 530 meters” but I just gave you the drop of a high BC 30 caliber bullet at 300 meters. 400 meters is really pushing it for that stubby 9mm pill.

If you want subsonic bullet to go beyond 300 meters the traditional wisdom is that you are looking for really long, heavy bullets, like the 220 SMK. Unfortunately for you, a 220 SMK launched at 1050 fps has 35.2 minutes of drop out to 300 meters, a scant improvement over the 175 SMK, although it does arrive with much more retained energy than the 175. Still, getting hit with a bullet at 300 meters even with 330 some ft/lbs of energy is really going to mess up someone’s day pretty bad.

Subsonic sniping will remain a niche tactical trick for at least the near future. But eventually someone will figure out how to increase the range of the rounds to a level where the snipers can stay outside of the “service rifle engagement zone” of their targets.

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Poland offers to defray cost of permanent US troop presence

Poland wants a US Armored Division stationed permanently on Polish soil, and has offered up to 2 billion dollars in financial support to make that happen….

According to a leaked brief. Which could be just a “Course of Action” brief among many course of action briefs.

The US Army has ten active divisions and a spare. 1st Armor, 1st Cavalry, 1st Infantry, 2nd Infantry, 3rd Infantry, 4th Infantry, 7th Infantry (HQ only aka the spare), 10th Mountain, 25th Infantry, 82nd Airborne, 101st Airborne (Air Assault).

The odds of the US Army permanently posting 10% of all available combat power at any given time in Poland is closer to the “none” side of “slim to none.”

1, it would piss off Russia, without really accomplishing anything significant other than pissing off Russia.
2, even with 2 billion in help it would still cost the US taxpayers a lot of money, we went from 300,000 servicemembers in Europe at the end of the 1990s to about 1/10th of that as of last year to save money.
3, the North Atlantic Council has determined to put “Battle Groups” in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia for the foreseeable future. Along with the “Operation Atlantic Resolve” that puts a US Armored Brigade in Poland and the Baltics and the “Baltics Air Policing” mission supported by NATO there is a significant amount of international support in that area. Adding a second armored brigade and a division HQ wouldn’t do much.
4, units in Europe are actually slower to deploy than units in Kansas, Texas, or Georgia. The 3rd Infantry Division has more main battle tanks than the entire Marine Corps and is conveniently located next to a major port on the Atlantic ocean. Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Riley, Kansas, have very large rail yards to get their equipment to a port and on the move. A US based brigade can pack up and be on a boat in about a week to two weeks. A European based unit is much, much slower as there is still no real “military Schengen area” allowing free passage across borders, and getting  out of the port of Kiel means complying with German and EU regulations, which you may not be familiar with.

So from the US perspective, there is darn near nothing to gain from forward stationing troops in Poland, and a whole lot of negatives when it comes to strategic flexibility. So I don’t think that it will happen. What I do expect will happen is that one Squadron from the 2d Cavalry Regiment will continue to serve as “Battle Group Poland.” The Brits, Canadians, Germans, and a few others will round out Battle Groups Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The normal NATO political process will continue to grind slowly, not able to keep up with Russian destabilizing activities should Russia start getting more serious about them.

Then again, Trumps the President, so my analysis here might as well be written in sand.

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More Tactical Heresy

Tactical Heresy for the day: You cannot train yourself to be 100% safe with a loaded firearm, round in the chamber, no safety for every moment of your life.

Anyone who says differently needs to explain why Massad Ayoob had a negligent discharge, and what the deficiencies in his training happened to be. (here’s a hint, Massad does not have a training deficiency).

Safety is not a destination that you arrive at, it’s a constant activity (kind of like breathing, you need to keep breathing just like you need to keep applying risk mitigation actions). Safety is really what you apply to an activity AFTER you’ve decided to do it (anyone who says “safety first” a bit of a moron).

Pistolero ToddG has been chewing on what he termed the “Safety Sin” for nearly a decade at this point. Here is a quote from his original blog posting way back in 2009.

The reality is that none of us is perfect. We have safety rules to minimize the chance of someone getting hurt, but if you are around guns often enough and long enough you are going to see mistakes happen. Eventually, you are going to make one yourself. The most dangerous gun handlers are the ones who think they’re too safe to worry about making a mistake.

As a community, we need to stop treating all accidental discharges as foolish and criminal acts. By placing every accident under the umbrella of sin, we do ourselves a disservice. We lose the chance to examine the details and learn from them. We lump the competitor who made a momentary transgression in with the idiot who’s never learned anything about safe gun handling. Worst of all, we create a mindset that tells us mistakes won’t happen to smart people (meaning, “us”) … which breeds complacency, which breeds more mistakes.

We have redundant safety rules specifically so that when a mistake does happen, it’s less likely to result in an injury. But “less likely” is not a guarantee. Remember that the next time you’re pointing your gun at the wall to your kid’s bedroom because you know you’ll keep your finger off the trigger … Or the next time a buddy hands you a gun without clearing it first because you both know you’re too safe to make a mistake.

And if you’ve read all this and still believe, “It’ll never happen to me,” good luck with that. I hope I don’t see you at the range. Or in the Emergency Room.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

I think that Todd has a very realistic outlook on the risks of being around loaded firearms in situations that are specifically designed to rush people, stress people, and help them improve their gun handling skills in the event they need them for self defense.

It is a statistical certainty that if you never fire a gun you’ll never have a negligent discharge, but screw that solution as I like shooting guns and I have a right to shoot guns (and for many many years now shooting guns has been a job requirement). But, years of being around people who have negligent discharges at work (from weapons ranging from the M2 machine gun to M9 pistol) to negligent discharges on public ranges, I think that anyone who says, “They just need more training” has abandoned rational thinking and engaged in some sort of religious belief that with just enough training, someone may achieve “100% safety” even with a loaded weapon, on their body, round in the chamber, no safety involved.

To think about it in a different way, would you carry a loaded pistol, condition zero, no safety, if you had “a few beers” in you? If the answer is “yes” then I hope I’m never around you when you do that. But would you carry a loaded pistol in condition zero with 18 to 20 continuous hours of no sleep? If you answer “yes” to that because you think that you are stone cold sober, no alcohol involved, you really don’t understand how lack of sleep and being under the influence of alcohol are indistinguishable in terms of impact on your cognitive abilities and reflexes.

In short, you are not as good of a version of yourself after a double shift and no naps as you are when you are fully rested. The fully rested, top shape version of yourself is the least likely version to make a mistake that could cause a negligent discharge. A very, very large part of “elite forces” training is to hammer home those firearms safety measures so that someone can do them when they are running on 28 hours of no sleep. But even if you went through that training as a young and vigorous human being, how much of that did you retain over the ensuing decades?

Here is another perspective on the MAG-40 discharge:


The negligent discharge took place at the halfway point of day 4 and there is no doubt that everyone involved was spent. Some may have been more fatigued than others. As we are learning more and more about fatigue it is becoming clear that being tired can significantly impair our motor skills and even our ability to make good decisions. As I look back on the incident I can’t help but wonder what role fatigue may have played.

Mental Fatigue
I am a prime example of how fatigue may have been an issue. As the course host I had been awake late at night and up early each morning to make sure everything was in order for class. Although I am used to a hard schedule, when it is a class it is more intense than usual, but I don’t think that was the tough part. Remember our student with safety issues? I was his shadow making constant corrections and physically interacting to ensure safe trigger finger discipline and muzzle orientation when the gun was coming out of the holster and moving back in. Often I was dealing with both trigger and muzzle issues at the same time. This was mentally exhausting. When Mas was teaching and students were off the line, it was my time to grab a couple of deep breaths, a sip of water and get re-energized for the next experience at the line physically correcting this student’s trigger finger and muzzle direction.

And even if you DO have decades of experience, you too, like Massad Ayoob (who I would still absolutely recommend for anyone looking to take a class) can make a mistake, being watched by another intensely trained instructor, who can make a mistake.

What happened? The stainless steel Model 66 is a silvery color similar to a nickel-plated cartridge case.  Three of us, one of us twice, had looked and failed to see it there. On a lot of revolvers, when cartridges are ejected they can hit the left grip panel, which blocks their exit and allows them to slide back into the cylinder.

The big culprit – on my part, certainly – was “the look that doesn’t see.”  Closely associated with complacency, it happens when you’ve looked for something dangerous countless thousands of times and seen nothing there, programming your brain to see nothing there when something is.  It’s associated with the fortunately rare tragedy where a hunter who desperately wants to see a deer in the woods spots a hiker wearing gray-brown clothing with a white handkerchief sticking out of his hip pocket, and concludes that he is looking right at his intended quarry, a white-tail deer.

Today’s incident will become part of our safety lecture, as the one in 1977 has been for many years. No matter how many thousands of rounds a year you fire nor how long you’ve been in the game, constant vigilance is the price of safety when operating any potentially dangerous equipment, from vehicles to power tools to, yes, guns.

To shift gears to another routine but risky activity, motorcycle riders have a few sayings:

“There are old riders, and their are bold riders, but there ain’t no old, bold riders.”, “There are two types of riders, those that have gone down, and those that will go down.” and “Dress for the slide, not for the ride.”

Guns are powerful tools, and deserve respect, very much like motorcycles in that regard. Don’t berate someone because they don’t choose to carry in condition zero (or because they choose to ride a sedate Honda 500 rather than something they aren’t comfortable with). Their level of risk tolerance should be their own, based on their circumstances and abilities.

Now before you read what comes next, I’m not recommending “trunk carry” as a primary carry choice, but having a gun in your car outside the restaurant and being seconds away is better than not having a gun at all. Here is a quote from

The shooting could have continued if it weren’t for two men who ran out to their vehicles and grabbed handguns locked in their trunks, Mathews said.

I know, trunk carry is “tactical heresy” as the pistols weren’t on their person in condition zero. But it saved lives, and was better than “harsh language” as a defense option of self and others. Thankfully those men were able to act fast enough to prevent loss of innocent life. The point of having a gun is to give you tactical options AFTER you choose to use it, it isn’t a magical totem that keeps bad guys away, and the condition that you carry only changes the time between decision and options. On body, condition zero, as fast as you can draw and present. On body, condition three, as fast as you can draw, rack, and present. Off body, in the trunk of your vehicle? Well that’s as fast as you can get to your trunk.

And that speed does matter, off person carry doesn’t always end up working so well, as the Texas Church Shooter was able to kill 26 before he was able to be engaged by the person who retrieved an AR-15 and provided resistance. Had someone been carrying in condition zero, or condition three, the time lapse between threat recognition and decision to use lethal force in response would have been much lower. So if you “trunk carry” an AR-15 or other firearm, then body carry a pistol if you can.

And that that brings up my final thought on the matter, even if you choose to never carry a firearm so that you never have a negligent discharge, it is impossible to create a situation where you 100% will never be shot. Bad people are out there, including career criminals and “lone wolfs” who finally snap. The gun isn’t there to stop them, the gun is there to give you an option to resist with lethal force. Having an accident is very rare if you are safety conscious and focus on drilling down on the skills that will keep you from shooting yourself even if you do have a negligent discharge. But the risk that you will shoot yourself is never going to be “zero risk”, even people who did everything right can experience a ricochet.

I hope these words are encouraging you to be a little more lenient with someone who chooses not to carry in condition zero. Their life isn’t your life, and saying that “they might as well not carry at all” is not born out by evidence. A fraction of a second difference makes a difference if you are being bum rushed by someone individually targeting you, but outside of that scenario there doesn’t seem to be any advantage to carrying in condition zero for surviving other violent encounters. And even then, condition zero carry isn’t going to save your life from a sniper, suicide bomber, or random drunk driver, although thankfully the sniper and suicide bomber are still statistically rare.

But go forth, train as best you can. After all, no one wants to be the next poster in this forum (and I highly recommend you go read the posts):

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A night in the Ukraine

Yesterday I got back from Kiev. It is a beautiful city in my opinion, a solid mishmash of east meets west, old meets new, and capitalism meets communism. The women wear very feminine clothes compared to what I’m used to seeing in Germany or the United States, and the men could be dropped into any metropolitan area from Tallin to LA and fit in until they began speaking to each other.

Ukraine is still a country at war, but the war is not in Kiev. The currency exchange between the Euro and US dollar is very advantageous for Europeans and Americans to enjoy a visit to Kiev, but like many “new capitalists” things like taxi rides are highly variable. If you want to ride from the airport to your hotel in a nice, new vehicle it will cost you much more than if you go to the taxi kiosk and get a ride in an ancient van made by a brand you might not recognize.

The food is fairly typical eastern European, lots of pork, fish, potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes (and liberal use of dill as a seasoning herb). Although I can honestly say that I had the best beer of my life in Kiev, a “Golden Ale” that tasted sweet, bitter, fruity, and floral all at the same time in a very pleasant and enjoyable way.

Despite the financial troubles of Ukraine as a nation, I saw plenty of evidence of a thriving capitalist economy still working. As a country Ukraine does have a lot going for it, including acceptable educational institutions which are also struggling to modernize away from the “Soviet System” so to speak.

But….Ukraine still has a very long way to go. The average income is lower than Russia, with many successful and intelligent Ukrainian’s learning English and leaving Ukraine for places with more economic freedom and opportunity. This “brain drain” is likely to continue until economic conditions stabilize enough that Ukraine can compete with the international community for working conditions and economic rewards for the engineers that drive the engine of economic growth (software, hardware, e-commerce, etc).

The Ukrainian military has seen the benefit of the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) as used by the US military. While reform of their forces has been a priority, it is impossible to build all the infrastructure in terms of people, facilities, doctrine, and experience overnight. But, in terms of former Soviet countries I believe they are operating at “light speed” to professionalize their enlisted personnel by Ukrainian standards even if it seems slow by US standards.

I do wish that the Ukrainian politicians would cut their losses on the territory that Russia annexed, as it is clear that they will never get it back at this point.

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