- Firearms and preparation for the budget minded! Product reviews, training and tactics. Our primary focus is on pistol tactics but we also discuss camping, amateur radio, vehicles and history. Welcome to my shop! #constitutionalcarry
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I put my Bucklite multi tool to the test on this years camping trip. The Bucklite is very well made as one would expect from Buck. It has a rather unique system of unfolding, the pliers handles fold sideways instead of the more usual center pivot design. I’m not sure this conferred any advantage, personally I think the traditional leatherman design is better. The Buck has 3 different flathead screwdriver tips, a philips bit, pliers, knife, file, awl, a bottle opener and a tick puller I thankfully didn’t have to use.We put up our flag this year, and I didn’t bring a bunch of tools so it was up to the Buck. I put the flag holder on a tree, it had 3 philips head screws to attach it. The awl worked good to dig starter holes. I found the designs method of unfolding could make using the screwdrivers awkward at certain angles. I found that the philips bit is 3 sided, one side is flat so it’ll fold up in the handle. This also did not work really well, it slipped too easily. The smallest flat bit fit in my philips screws and this worked much better. Later I used the knife and awl to do some carving on a piece of wood. My overall assessment is that all in all this is a pretty good tool. A multi tool is by definition almost never going to be the perfect tool for a job, but it may be the ONLY tool you have. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best I’d rate this one an 8. I have a newer Leatherman and it has several features that I prefer. But I’ve had this Buck a long time, it was my first multi tool and it’s still in brand new shape despite being over 20 years old.
Ahhh nuclear weapons, the craziest of all of humanity’s inventions. The first ‘atomic bombs’ were created by the US Manhattan Project during world war 2. Americas best scientists worked on this project, you may have heard of Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Edward Teller and Robert Oppenheimer. They developed 2 types of bombs, ‘little boy’ a gun type using highly enriched uranium and the ‘fat man’ plutonium implosion device. The first nuclear test was at the trinity site, Alamogordo NM in 1945. The Soviet Union stole the designs and a few years later they detonated a nuclear bomb of their own. The Russian bomb was the RDS-1, Stalins Jet Engine. It was a close copy of the stolen ‘fat man’ plans. These first devices yielded 15-20kt of energy. 20 kilotons is the equivalent energy to 20,000 tons of TNT. These first nukes used nuclear fission, they split the atoms of their heavy, unstable fuel creating a chain reaction. Following the discovery of the principles needed to construct these early devices, development proceedings were swift. Teller postulated that it may be possible to build a ‘super’ bomb of infinite power potential. In the Soviet Union, Andre Sakharov independently came to the same conclusion. The US was the first to detonate the ‘hydrogen bomb’ a device known as ‘Ivy Mike’ in 1952. The Soviets derisively referred to Ivy Mike as a thermonuclear installation. It was not a workable weapon, using cryogenic deuterium as a fusion fuel, however it did prove the concept was sound. Ivy Mike had a yield of ~10mt, that’s Megatons, or 10 million tons of TNT equivalent. Later it was discovered that an isotope of lithium could be used as a dry fusion fuel. There were over 2000 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945-1963 when the nuclear test ban treaty was signed. The biggest ever American nuclear test was the Castle Bravo test of 1954. This test was a disaster, they miscalculated the reaction and the explosion was much bigger than anticipated, at 15mt. The Bravo device was extremely ‘dirty’ it created a lot of radioactive fallout. The Japanese fishing boat ‘lucky dragon’ was contaminated as were many surrounding islands. The Soviets biggest test, indeed the largest nuclear test ever, was the ‘Tsar Bomba’ king of bombs. This device had an incredible 50mt yield. The Tsar was actually designed for a 100mt yield, but it was downsized so as to hopefully not incinerate the drop plane! Bigger was seen as better in these early devices of the 50’s and 60’s due to the limited accuracy of the bombers and missiles of the time. As the delivery systems became more accurate the emphasis shifted to miniaturization of the devices. The smallest devices created were the US SADM atomic demolition munition ‘backpack nuke’, the Davy Crockett which was a man portable recoilless rifle using the SADM warhead, and the possibly mythical Russian suitcase nuke. These devices yielded “only” a kiloton or two, still imagine the equivalent of 2000 tons of TNT IN A SUITCASE! So if we ever someday live in a truly voluntary society, the McNuke just might be the ultimate way to say GET OFF MY LAWN!
I’ve had this little Coleman grill for quite a few years now, and I’d say it’s a pretty good thing to have for preparedness. There are a lot of similar grills and griddles out there, and I can see some advantages to having one. Mine runs off of the little green cylinders of propane, same kind a Coleman lantern burns. It’s really great at camp for cooking a quick breakfast in the morning when you’re hungry and just don’t feel like messing with a fire. In a bug in or bug out situation it produces no smoke to give away your position. The propane cylinders last a while, I usually get 2 or 3 days out of one. You can store them indefinitely and they are widely available. A 2 pack of cylinders is about $7 at Walmart. The amount of heat you get from cylinders vs the equivalent weight in wood indicates a much higher efficiency. The biggest downside is that this stove is probably too bulky to carry in a rucksack. It’s great to take along in a vehicle, or for bugging in. The sides and lid fold up to make a wind block, I had them unfolded in my pic to sit stuff on as it was not a windy day. Personally I have been really happy with this grill over the years, it has worked really well to make camp much more comfortable.
I’m always reading about this or that latest and greatest camo pattern, MultiCam, ATACS, Kryptek etc. I’m not denying at all that these patterns are effective and very cool, all I’m saying is that often the price for some of this gear is not exactly cheap. One thing that I don’t often see mentioned, really ever, are the many hunting camouflage patterns available today. Brands like Realtree and Mossy Oak make a ton of different patterns that are highly effective. This camo is available at many big box retailers and it is often inexpensive. A lot of it is made to a surprisingly high quality level. You may be able to find deals on sale or close out items and really score some Bang for your buck. Even if you have some really top end camo, it wouldn’t hurt to have some backup or supplemental gear. You could use this to help equip a neighborhood protection team, or have various extras/sizes to equip others for your team post SHTF (you got a crate of Mosin’s, 50k rounds of Soviet mil-surp and a box o’ Baofengs you know who you are). Another advantage of the commercial/hunting camo is that, depending on what part of the country you are in, you could be wearing camo and not look out of place at all, where if you were wearing a full military looking kit you might look out of place or draw unwanted attention. If you watch some videos on YouTube or hunting shows you can see how effective some of this camo can be. If you don’t have some full camo of any kind, this might just be one of the most affordable ways to get in the door. If you live in or are close to rural areas, and have bugout plans that potentially take you there oyou really might want to have clothes and gear that can blend in with your environment. Depending on the situation, having the right camo could mean the difference between life and death.
One of the most versatile survival tools I have personally tried are Gerber’s line of hatchets. I first tried a Gerber hatchet on our annual camping trip 4 years ago. My brother in law has one, and to say I was impressed is an understatement. I’d never tried a hatchet with such a perfect balance. The blade seemed to have the perfect grind to cleave deeply into the wood, and is as sharp as a razor. I had to have one. It is a very lightweight tool, with a hollow polymer handle. So far it seems to be close to indestructible. My bro used to do a lot of hiking and ultralight camping in CO, and the light weight of this tool is very important to anyone who will be hauling it over distance in their kit. I had to really put the Gerber to the test this year. It went head to head with 2 other camp cutters, a retractable Fiskers saw and a Stanley saw that is really just a handle that takes sawzall blades. The blade this year was a Warrior brand from Harbor Freight, with a demolition tooth profile halfway between a coarse metal blade and a pure wood blade. The wood was some old dry, seasoned branches at our campsite, ~6″ thick. I didn’t actually measure the time to cut with a stopwatch or anything, this was a pretty impromptu test. That said, the Gerber CLEARLY outperformed the competition. As a matter of fact I got tired of sawing on both saw tests and finished off the cut with the Gerber. The Fiskars saw takes 2nd. Fiskars is Gerbers parent company and the saw exhibits a quality on par with the hatchet. On smaller limbs it may be more efficient than the hatchet. The Fiskars saw has a really aggressive double row tooth profile that makes quick work of cuts on both strokes. The Stanley handle could definitely have performed better with a more aggressive blade. It would need a shorter blade for carrying in a pack, the one I had was too long and stuck out the end when folded and would risk damage to a pack. The saws are significant smaller and lighter if real estate in your pack is a priority. Overall though I like the hatchet best. Of course the back of the blade will double its functionality as a hammer, so having 2 tools in one is a big plus. So if I had to choose 1 it’s definitely the Gerber Hatchet for the win. Fortunately I don’t have to choose, so my vote is for the Hatchet-Saw combo.
I’ve been off the grid for a few days on our 2018 expedition, way out where there’s little cel service, no internet and a whole lot of down and dirty experience. It’s really great to get away from the rat race and get the gear out, test it and evaluate the set up. Our setup here has really evolved since I first started to get serious about preparedness and outdoor activities 8 years ago. The lucky few folks that also know our little hidden campsite definitely represent what is possible with self reliance and a little self sustaining community of like minded people. One gentleman who was there last year was back again this year. He cut up and split a bunch of firewood and left it at all the campsites for the campers this year. We helped our one of our neighbors who had a malfunctioning air pump, and loaned another some bug spray to drive off the marauding fire ants. The food is always top notch on our little outings. I swear there is no more delicious coffee than percolated coffee, I think the smoke helps flavor it! We had cheeseburgers, hot links and mouth watering steak. I finished up the outing by heading down the road to the range and doing a little pistol shooting on the 25yd. Range. My accuracy was good and the guns functioned perfectly. We perfected our camp bathroom setup this year. We had a toilet and a solar shower. It was really HOT this year, it’d have been more pleasant if it was a little cooler, but hey if you had to bug out for real you are going to have to deal with the heat. So my overall assessment is that this trip was 100% successful.
Every time I go camping it seems like I always grab my CRKT M16-13. I’ve had this knife a long time, it’s one of the oldest in my collection. Mine was made in the RoC, I really have no idea what kind of steel it’s made of. It is a spear point design, scandi grind with serration. It always takes an edge really well, and holds it too. I really got it finely honed for this years camping trip. It’s a quality knife that was relatively inexpensive. My M-16 has a liner lock. Overall I can’t find much I dislike about this knife. I have another in this series, the M16-14. It has a 4″ blade vs. a 3″, mine is a serrated tanto and it has a flipper. I consider this to be just about perfect. I like auto opening, but a flipper can be just as fast and it has no springs, nothing mechanical. So to criticize these knives for a lack of extra features isn’t really fair. In addition, I’ve owned mine for over 18 years, all of the assisted opening and tactical, EDC features were really not that common back then. They are a tool built for a single purpose and they do it well. And as you can see from my photo mine has held up really well even after repeated sharpening and a lot of carrying and use over the years.