Keeping Up With The Preppers

Simple and easy to understand prepping ideas that just may save your life.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Counter Surveillance and Situational Awareness Made Easy


In an increasingly dangerous world, counter surveillance and situational awareness are skills everyone should learn and practice in their everyday lives.

Actual surveillance photo (Above) from many years ago that I took while on surveillance during a large drug transaction. This couple was attempting counter surveillance prior to the "meet" with their supplier.

Of my combined twenty-five years in law enforcement, fifteen years of that was working in a position where I conducted surveillance and counter surveillance operations almost every day.  I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best in the business.

Types Of Surveillance

There are many types of surveillance used by law enforcement agencies.  However, we will only discuss basic surveillance techniques used by common criminals.  To understand counter surveillance, you need to understand the many facets of surveillance.

  • Pre-Operational Surveillance
  • Fixed Surveillance
  • Mobile Surveillance 
  • Probing Surveillance

The purpose of this article is NOT to educate crooks.  I will not discuss sources or methods used by law enforcement. It is also not my intention to make folks paranoid.

The purpose of this article is simply to share tips I've accumulated over the years and offer techniques everyone should learn and use in their everyday life that may keep them from becoming a victim of a crime or worse.

Pre-Operational Surveillance

Pre-Operational surveillance is usually conducted to some degree by bad guys ranging from mere purse snatchers, to terrorists.  This type of surveillance commonly known as "Casing" a target and could involve seconds, minutes, hours or days, depending on the intent and the sophistication of the bad guys.

During the pre-operational phase, the bad guys will be attempting to determine the intended target's strengths and weaknesses.  The bad guys are also most exposed and vulnerable during this phase.

In the case of a purse snatcher, he or she is likely watching to see who is paying attention to their surroundings and who is distracted by kids, their phone, or who has earphones in as they walk down a street, jogging path, or through a parking lot.

Parking Lots, For Example

Unfortunately, a great number of robberies, theft from persons crimes, kidnappings, etc, occur in shopping center or apartment parking lots where the victim feels comfortable and becomes complacent.  It's best not to draw attention to yourself by wearing flashy jewelry, expensive purse, flashy car, etc.  It's sad that it's come to that, but your chances of becoming a target goes up if you advertise you have money.

When attempting to pick off criminal surveillance, keep in mind that gender, skin color, or manner of dress is not necessarily an indicator.  Bad guys and girls come in all shapes and sizes.  At the same time, do not allow political correctness to turn you into a victim. Nine out of ten times, their body language and their eyes will give them away.

Probing Surveillance

If you've ever been in a parking lot and had someone approach you asking for money, directions, or simply making odd comments about your appearance or possessions that are visible, chances are you were being probed.  Chances are, if they are preparing to attack, they will be looking around to evaluate potential witnesses.

While the eyes are the window to the soul, it's their hands that will hurt you so watch their hands. One hand in a pocket or otherwise hidden can be a danger sign, but keep in mind they may feel that they do not need a weapon to take what you have.

Probing surveillance can quickly turn into an attack.  For instance, if you pull cash out to peel off a dollar, but you have more money visible, the chances of becoming a victim just sky rocketed.

Probing surveillance at your home or apartment will often consist of one or more subjects knocking on your door either asking for someone you won't know or help of some sort (car ran out of gas or some other reason they need to use your phone).  Most of the time, the would be crooks are just checking to see if anyone is home and will quickly leave, however, some crooks will force their way into your home if you open the door.

If you do not open the door and lead them to believe that no one is home, they may break into your home thinking no one is there.

It's best  to call 911 in these cases because at the very least, they may be questioned and identified as suspects in other such crimes in the area.  This would be a good time to arm yourself.  Advise 911 that you are armed so the responding officers will be sure to announce themselves.

In my state (Texas), once a bad guy forces entry into your home, they are fair game.  Obviously, that is something you will have to research pertaining to the laws of your state.  Unfortunately, these days, you could still suffer civil penalties not to mention the trauma of such an event.

Practical Exercise

Try this exercise the next time you go to the grocery store.  Think of yourself as entering the "danger zone" as soon as you pull into the parking lot.  Most people will simply be looking for the best parking space possible and will often miss potential danger signs such as subjects sitting in vehicles who are watching who is coming and going from the store.

An occupied vehicle that is backed into a parking space could possibly indicate that the occupant(s) may be prepared for a quick get away.  You could very well be witnessing what's called "Fixed Surveillance." Take the time to look around the parking lot for such activity. You will be practicing counter surveillance.

If you do see people sitting in vehicles, 99%  of the time, they will simply be waiting on someone that in the store.  If you can see them well enough, attempt to observe if they appear to be watching random people walking through the parking lot.  Either way, make a mental note of the vehicle and occupants and park well away from them if you feel they are suspicious.

Situational Awareness 

Keep in mind that you are most likely safe until the moment you park and open your door to exit your vehicle. Once you exit your vehicle, before closing the door (in case you need to retreat back into your vehicle from a threat), take a moment to scan the parking lot as best you can for anyone that may be looking directly at you in a suspicious manor.  A vehicle that is parked, but then moves closer to where you parked could also a danger sign.

You may be surprised to notice things such as a woman leaving her purse in the shopping cart as she loads up her car with kids or groceries.  That's just asking for trouble.  I would put the purse in the car while putting the kids in the car and then take another moment to look around to see if you are being watched or approached.  Do this every time you've taken your eyes off of your surroundings.

Before leaving the safety of the store, take a moment or two to scan the parking lot and evaluating potential threats.  Look for anyone that is paying just a little too much attention to you.  If a crook is planning to do something bad, he or she will immediately look away after locking eyes.  Chances are, if he or she is too far away to go through with their plan, they will likely choose a target that is not paying attention to their surroundings.  Most crooks are looking for someone that they can approach without being detected until it's too late.

Self Defense In These Situations

Personally, I feel like every law abiding citizen should have the means to protect themselves.  If you do carry a weapon such as a pistol, always have it where you can get to it. Without A LOT of practice, good luck getting to your ankle holster if someone surprises you.

If you carry a purse, have the pistol in your hand inside the purse as you walk to your car. At close range, you shouldn't need to remove the handgun from your purse to be accurate at close range. Sorry about your purse.

Simply do what's called "Point Shooting" meaning you're simply using hand eye coordination to shoot without using your sights.  It's a good idea to practice and learn this skill.

Rolling Or Mobile Counter Surveillance

While I believe shopping center or apartment parking lots are far more dangerous, it's always possible some nut or crook could key in on you on the roadway and decide to follow you home.

Rolling or mobile surveillance can be challenging to even a full team seasoned professionals.  One person attempting to "tail" you should be easy to pick off if you are paying attention to your surroundings.

Chances are, such an incident will stem from some sort of road rage incident so you will know which car to watch. DO NOT GO HOME.  If you do believe you're being followed, call 911 and drive to the nearest police or fire station. You can also coordinate with 911 a public place where you and the police officers could meet to hopefully prevent the event from escalating.

Stalkers, Known Or Unknown

If you believe you are being stalked, you are probably already on heightened alert.  Whether the stalker is an estranged ex or simply an acquaintance, you probably know the stalker even if you don't know exactly who it is that's stalking you.  Unfortunately, in most states, it's a very difficult crime to prosecute and will take multiple reports to satisfy most prosecutors.

Heat Checks

Simple counter surveillance techniques that will assist you in proving or disproving whether or not you are in fact being followed are called "heat checks."  A heat check is an action that you take to provoke a reaction from the person you believe may be following you.

If you are on say a three lane highway, move to the far inside lane.  Inexperienced people attempting surveillance will often attempt to stay close to their target and will often change lanes with their target. If traffic is clear enough, when approaching an exit, pull all the way across all three lanes and take the exit.  The person following you will have no choice but to continue on or follow you across the lanes and thus, exposing himself and his activities.

On surface streets, if you believe you are being followed, attempt to be "number one" or first at a stop light.  Once it's clear, run the light. Obviously, this is dangerous and illegal, but again, it will force the person following you to either wait for the light and hope he can catch up to you once the light changes, or he will run the light and expose him and his activities.  In a perfect scenario, there will be at least one car behind you and in front of the bad guy and he won't be able to run the light to follow you even if he or she wants to do so.

Another risky, but effective technique is to make an abrupt U-turn.  Again, you are attempting to provoke a reaction from the person you believe may be attempting to follow you.

Dead end streets are good for picking off surveillance.  However, it can also quickly turn into a trap if your car is blocked. Once your car is stopped or blocked in, you could be in serious danger.

What If I'm Not Sure?

In the event you're not sure enough to call 911 or commit traffic violations, a good technique to practice is surface street heat checks.  Imagine you are driving home after work, and you notice a vehicle that keeps changing lanes with you on the highway and then takes the same exit off of the highway.

Obviously, this happens everyday out of sheer coincidence.  As you drive through your neighborhood, observe if the same vehicle keeps turning with you.  As you get close to your street, drive around a block or two making multiple turns to see if the vehicle attempts to stay with you.  If it does, lead them away from your home and call 911.

It's also not a bad idea to know or even utilize alternate routes on a regular basis.  This could come in handy in many different situations.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Truth About Dirty Bombs And Decontamination


What The Heck Is A Dirty Bomb?

Source: U.S.N.R.C. (United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

A "dirty bomb" is one type of a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) that combines conventional explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive material. The terms dirty bomb and RDD are often used interchangeably in the media. Most RDDs would not release enough radiation to kill people or cause severe illness - the conventional explosive itself would be more harmful to individuals than the radioactive material. However, depending on the situation, an RDD explosion could create fear and panic, contaminate property, and require potentially costly cleanup. Making prompt, accurate information available to the public may prevent the panic sought by terrorists.

A dirty bomb is in no way similar to a nuclear weapon or nuclear bomb. A nuclear bomb creates an explosion that is millions of times more powerful than that of a dirty bomb. The cloud of radiation from a nuclear bomb could spread tens to hundreds of square miles, whereas a dirty bomb’s radiation could be dispersed within a few blocks or miles of the explosion. A dirty bomb is not a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” but a “Weapon of Mass Disruption,” where contamination and anxiety are the terrorists’ major objectives.

Sources of Radioactive Material

Radioactive materials are routinely used at hospitals, research facilities, industrial activities, and construction sites. These radioactive materials are used for such purposes as diagnosing and treating illnesses, sterilizing equipment, and inspecting welding seams. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission together with 37 “Agreement” States, which also regulate radioactive material, administers more than 22,000 licenses of such materials. The vast majority of these materials are not useful as an RDD.

Are Terrorists Interested In Radioactive Materials?

Yes, terrorists have been interested in acquiring radioactive and nuclear material for use in attacks. For example, in 1995, Chechen extremists threatened to bundle radioactive material with explosives to use against Russia in order to force the Russian military to withdraw from Chechnya. While no explosives were used, officials later retrieved a package of cesium-137 the rebels had buried in a Moscow park.

Since September 11, 2001, terrorist arrests and prosecutions overseas have revealed that individuals associated with al-Qaeda planned to acquire materials for a RDD. In 2004, British authorities arrested a British national, Dhiren Barot, and several associates on various charges, including conspiring to commit public nuisance by the use of radioactive materials. 

In 2006, Barot was found guilty and sentenced to life. British authorities disclosed that Barot developed a document known as the "Final Presentation." The document outlined his research on the production of "dirty bombs," which he characterized as designed to “cause injury, fear, terror and chaos” rather than to kill. U.S. federal prosecutors indicted Barot and two associates for conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against persons within the United States, in conjunction with the alleged surveillance of several landmarks and office complexes in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Newark, N.J. 

In a separate British police operation in 2004, authorities arrested British national, Salahuddin Amin, and six others on terrorism-related charges. Amin is accused of making inquiries about buying a "radioisotope bomb" from the Russian mafia in Belgium; and the group is alleged to have linkages to al-Qaeda. Nothing appeared to have come from his inquiries, according to British prosecutors. 

While neither Barot nor Amin had the opportunity to carry their plans forward to an operational stage, these arrests demonstrate the continued interest of terrorists in acquiring and using radioactive material for malicious purposes.

How can I protect myself in a radiation emergency?

If an explosion occurs, it may not be known immediately that radioactive material is involved. If you are made aware that you are near the site of an RDD or potential release of radioactive material, you should:
  • Stay away from any obvious plume or dust cloud;
  • Walk inside a building with closed doors and windows as quickly as possible and listen for information from emergency responders and authorities;
  • If there is dust in the air, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, filter, clothing or damp cloth to avoid inhaling or ingesting radioactive material;
  • Remove contaminated clothing as soon as possible and place them in a sealed plastic bag. The clothing could be used later to estimate a person's exposure; and
  • Gently wash skin to remove any possible contamination, making sure that no radioactive material enters the mouth or is transferred to areas of the face where it could be easily moved to the mouth and swallowed. More on decontamination later.
If you are advised to take shelter, whether it is at home or in an office, you should:
  • Close all the doors and windows.
  • Turn off ventilation, air conditioners, and forced air heating units that bring in fresh air from the outside. Only use units to re-circulate air that is already in the building.
  • Close fireplace dampers.
  • Move to an inner room.
  • Keep your radio tuned to the emergency response network.

Impact Of A Dirty Bomb

The extent of local contamination would depend on a number of factors, including the size of the explosive, the amount and type of radioactive material used, the means of dispersal, and weather conditions. Those closest to the RDD would be the most likely to sustain injuries due to the explosion.

Will I Glow In The Dark?

Not really.  A dirty bomb is mostly a weapon to instill fear.  If you ever do find yourself in the vicinity of a dirty bomb explosion. First, DO NOT PANIC. 

Simple Steps Anyone Can Take To Protect Yourself and Your Family

Most citizens will not know the size of the explosion or amount of radioactive material used in the device, but there are things you can do just to be on the safe side.

Check the wind direction. After the initial blast, the radioactive material will most likely be carried by the wind and will create what's called an "ellipse."  

Source: Nuclear Secrecy Blog

If you are well upwind from the blast, you will most likely be fine.  But if you do find yourself downwind from the blast, there's still no reason to panic.  As radioactive material spreads, it becomes less concentrated and less harmful. 

Prompt detection of the type of radioactive material used will greatly assist local authorities in advising the community on protective measures, such as sheltering in place, or quickly leaving the immediate area. Radiation can be readily detected with equipment already carried by many emergency responders. Subsequent decontamination of the affected area may involve considerable time and expense.

Immediate health effects from exposure to the low radiation levels expected from an RDD would likely be minimal. The effects of radiation exposure would be determined by:

  • The amount of radiation absorbed by the body;
  • The type of radiation (gamma, beta, or alpha);
  • The distance from the radiation to an individual;
  • The means of exposure-external or internal (absorbed by the skin, inhaled, or ingested); and the length of time exposed.

The health effects of radiation tend to be directly proportional to radiation dose. In other words, the higher the radiation dose, the higher the risk of injury.

Protective Actions

In general, protection from radiation is afforded by:
  • Minimizing the time exposed to radioactive materials.
  • Maximizing the distance from the source of radiation.
  • Shielding from external exposure and inhaling radioactive material.
  • Deploy your gas mask if you have one. Radiation inhaled or digested is MUCH more dangerous that radiation on your clothing and skin.

Just To Be On The Safe Side - Down And Dirty Decontamination Procedure

Once in a safe area, decontamination can be as simple as stripping down (beginning from head to toe) and washing with soap and water.  Gas masks and clothing should be pealed off in a way they are turned inside out as removed.  Your gloves should be removed last to protect your hands from the rest of your contaminated clothing.  Removal of shoes and clothing can reduce contamination by as much as 90%.

Anything you were wearing should be treated as contaminated and should be placed in plastic bags or container that you can seal.  Once the event calms down, contaminated items can be disposed of by professionals.  Don't forget to used soap and water to decontaminate your gas mask as well.

Check out the REMM link above for more information. 

The complete instructions on decontamination procedures from Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) 

Perform two decontamination cycles if feasible, with a whole body radiation survey after each cycle.

Use tepid decontamination water.

Avoid cold water which tends to close skin pores, trapping radioactive contamination. Cold water may also cause hypothermia.

Avoid hot water which tends to enhance absorption of radioactive material through vasodilation and increased skin blood flow. Hot water may also cause thermal burns.

Add mild soap (neutral pH) to water to emulsify and dissolve contamination.

Direct contaminated waste water away from patient, rather than over the rest of the body.

Stop whole body external decontamination efforts after 2 decontamination cycles and handle patient with standard precautions if the second whole body radiation survey shows:
External contamination in excess of 2 times background radiation level

Additional whole body external decontamination efforts do not further reduce contamination levels by more than 10%.

Consider that attempts to remove all contamination from skin may not be feasible or desirable.
Some radioactivity may be trapped in outermost layer of skin (stratum corneum) and will remain until normal sloughing occurs (12-15 days).

Attempts at vigorous decontamination may result in loss of normal intact skin barrier and an increased risk of internal contamination.

Cover areas of residual radiation contamination with waterproof dressings/drapes in order to limit spread of contamination to other body sites, immediate environment, and others.

Persistently elevated levels of external contamination after adequate decontamination efforts may also be due to internal contamination, retained radioactive foreign bodies (shrapnel), contaminated wounds, or contaminated body orifices.

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

The sight of emergency workers wearing protective gear while you are not will most likely be the most frightening aspect after the initial blast.  If you are close enough to see them, you're probably too close to the event.

Should I purchase potassium iodide tablets for protection against radiation?

According to the U.S.N.R.C. (United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission).  Potassium iodide (KI), which is available over the counter, protects people from thyroid cancer caused by radioactive iodine, a type of radioactive material that can be released in nuclear explosions, and depending on the amount released, can later cause thyroid cancer. KI should only be taken in a radiation emergency that involves the release of radioactive iodine. Since the use or release of radioactive iodine from an RDD is highly unlikely, KI pills would not be useful.

This is obviously controversial. My feeling is it would not hurt to have  potassium iodide tablets on hand.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Grid Down Scenarios, Sniper Attacks on Large Power Transformers (LPT) and Grid hacking


Most preppers already know about the dreaded EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) weapons, but how many people are aware that on February 5th, 2014, terrorists attempted to take down part of the power grid in California?  Probably not very many since the story was well under reported.

"The Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Smith reports that a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman is acknowledging for the first time that a group of snipers shot up a Silicon Valley substation for 19 minutes last year, knocking out 17 transformers before slipping away into the night."

"The attack was "the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred" in the U.S., Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, told Smith."

"A blackout was avoided thanks to quick-thinking utility workers, who rerouted power around the site and asked power plants in Silicon Valley to produce more electricity. But the substation was knocked out for a month."

"The FBI says it doesn't believe a terrorist organization caused the attack but that it continues to investigate the incident."

"Smith and colleague Tom McGinty assembled a detailed chronology of the attack that includes some amazing details, including more than 100 fingerprint-free shell casings similar to ones used by AK-47s that were found at the site and small piles of rocks that appeared to have been left by an advance scout to tell the attackers where to get the best shots."

Source: The Wall Street Journal / Business Insider

Snipers armed with high powered rifles would probably be the most likely and low tech way to take down sections of the power grid.  But what if multiple sniper teams attacked these power stations simultaneously?   

In a report published by the United States Department of Energy in June of 2012, it's clear the U.S. government is also worried about aging LPT's and the difficulty in replacing them.

Read the full report at the link below

"EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) assessed the procurement and supply environment of large power transformers (LPT) 1 in this report. LPTs have long been a major concern for the U.S. electric power sector, because failure of a single unit can cause temporary service interruption and lead to collateral damages, and it could be difficult to quickly replace it." 

"The rising global demand for copper and electrical steel can be partially attributed to the increased power and transmission infrastructure investment in growing economies as well as the replacement market for aging infrastructure in developed countries. The United States is one of the world’s largest markets for power transformers and holds the largest installed base of LPTs— and this installed base is aging. The average age of installed LPTs in the United States is approximately 40 years, with 70 percent of LPTs being 25 years or older. While the life expectancy of a power transformer varies depending on how it is used, aging power transformers are subject to an increased risk of failure. Since the late 1990’s, the United States has experienced an increased demand for LPTs; however, despite the growing need, the United States has had a limited domestic capacity to produce LPTs. In 2010, six power transformer manufacturing facilities existed in the United States, and together, they met approximately 15 percent of the Nation’s demand for power transformers of a capacity rating greater than or equal to 60 MVA. Although the exact statistics are unavailable, global power transformer supply conditions indicate that the Nation’s reliance on foreign manufacturers is even greater for extra high-voltage (EHV) power transformers with a maximum voltage rating greater than or equal to 345 kV."

 Let's hope that improvements have been made since the above report was published. 

Electrical Grid Hacking

Source: Business Insider

"Strong intent. Thankfully, low capability," John Riggi, a section chief in the FBI's cyber division, told CNN about ISIS' hacking attempts.

"But the concern is that they'll buy that capability."

"That concern is warranted, the FBI told CNN. Highly capable hacking software is available for purchase on the black market and could be used to hack networks associated with energy companies, fuel refineries, or water-pumping stations."

Unfortunately, ISIS isn't the only group wanting to do significant damage to the United States. Enemy states such as Iran, China, North Korea, and Russia are just a few countries that would love to cause chaos and destruction in this country. 

That doesn't even include left wing domestic terrorists that are indigenous to the U.S. that are working everyday to cause havoc by any means possible on a grand scale.

Real life zombies above compared with TV zombies below.

Results Of Such Attacks

Such attacks would likely not yield the immediate dramatic results of an EMP where most electronics would be destroyed. Planes wouldn't fall out of the sky and your car wouldn't just stop leaving you stranded. It is believed, however, that eventually, without emergency power, the results would be the same in the long run.

Immediate Results

The immediate results of a hacking attack could possibly be damage to electrical appliances that are plugged in at the time of the attack.  If the LPT's are overloaded, this could cause a huge power surge down the lines. It's possible and hopeful that relay stations would blow out first before reaching the consumer.

Either way, without power, significant damage would already be done to the infrastructure including no food, gas, and eventually water service.

Long Term Effects

I think we all know the long term effects would eventually be exactly the same as an EMP attack. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Truth About 9mm Silencers - 9mm Subsonic Ammo



Silencers, Not Just For Movies Anymore

Everyone enjoys watching movies with hit men using silencers.  I know I do. but in real life, what are silencers or suppressors really good for? Obviously, the FFL paperwork and background check plus the long waiting period for the federal tax stamp makes them not very worth while to use them like good old Mike Ehrmantraut in the clip below.

 Click to view

Mike Taking care Of Business In Breaking Bad

If you ever saw this episode of Breaking Bad, you would have heard that booster spring action which sounds exactly like my AAC Ti-Rant 9mm suppressor seen below.  One bad thing about suppressors which is also visible in the clip is the increased amount of blow back which often hits you in the face as you're shooting.

That being said, why should anyone go through all of the hassle to get one?  Here are a few reasons every responsible (and experienced) gun owner should have one, two, three or ten.

First, firearm sound suppressors are a lot of fun to shoot. Shooting with suppressors (with subsonic ammunition) are quiet enough where hearing protection is not needed. In fact, you can carry on a normal conversation with others while you're shooting.

Suppressors reduce the recoil from a 9mm by as much as 30% due to the innovative design of "boosters" built into the base part of the suppressors. The booster is a piston / spring combo that allows semiautomatic with free floating barrels to function properly without malfunctions.

Suppressors For The End Times? What Good Would That Do?

For preppers, having suppressed weapons could give you an advantage over marauders, looters, hippies, or ruffians.  Even though suppressors don't actually silence the weapon, they do distort the sound enough to make it difficult to pinpoint where it's coming from if it's heard by the bad guys at all.  This is because from the bad guy's position, they would likely only hear the displacement of the air as the bullet travels down range.  A way to test that theory is stand about 30 to 40 feet off to the side of someone firing a suppressed weapon and you'll notice the sound of the bullet as well as the bullet striking a paper target. Another advantage to the Prepper is that suppressors eliminate nearly ALL of the flash from a weapon being fired.  Also, it would be safer to hunt in the end times using a suppressed weapon as not to draw attention to yourself.

Sig P-239 9mm With AAC Ti-Rant

Unfortunately, it's a little more difficult to find threaded barrels for 9mm pistols.  1/2 X 28 barrels for Glocks are easier to find than for Sigs. Sigs use a different threading for the most part (13.5X1 LH - Left Hand Twist). You can find the correct threaded barrels  (1/2 X 28 RH - Right Hand Twist) for most suppressors sold in the U.S. at EKF I've bought two and have not had any problem with them.

Sig P226 9mm with an Advanced Armament Corp Ti-Rant 9mm Suppressor

Hunting with suppressed firearms is legal in many states in the country and allows for more than one shot when hunting pack or herd animals like wild hogs.  The 300 Blackout is a very popular rifle to hunt with due to the availability of hard hitting subsonic ammunition for that rifle.

Important To Know Before Purchasing A 9mm Or above Pistol Suppressor

Unlike .22 Long Rifle, you can't use a 9mm suppressor or above on pistols and rifles without changing the base of the suppressor. The booster for pistols can't be used on a fixed barrel like a rifle or it will damage the threads on your barrel. You also should not use a "fixed" suppressor meant for a rifle on a pistol with a free floating barrel which describes most 9mm's.

Most modern suppressors will come with, or will have the proper silencer bases to switch between the two.  The Liberty Mystic 9mm suppressor shown below came with a booster base and a separate fixed base for use with fixed barrels.

The Liberty Mystic 9mm / .30 caliber suppressor shown above can be used with a pistol, however, it is heavier that the AAC Ti-Rant due to its rating for use with full auto as well as 300 Blackout rifles.  I bought this suppressor specifically for this rifle. I'm not sure I would recommend this suppressor unless you are only planning on using it for a rifle.

In regards to sound suppression, the AAC Ti-Rant 9 is slightly quieter than the Liberty Mystic in my opinion.

Here is some excellent information on frequently asked questions pertaining to suppressors from Advanced Armament Corp (AAC).

Subsonic 9mm Ammunition I Have Tested

Generally, the magic number for subsonic 9mm to remember is 147 Grains.  There are some specialty rounds out there. Just check the specs to make sure that the muzzle velocity is 1,050 feet per second or slower.

Most of the ammo is for target practice / sport and hobby shooting. The ammo with JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) at the self defense rounds.  Generally, supersonic ammo will be rated higher in foot pounds per square inch (muzzle energy).

Liberty Civil Defense, 9mm +P, HP, 50 Grain, seems to be the best round coming in at 444 foot pounds per square inch.  This is a supersonic round that travels at around 2,000 feet per second giving it a longer maximum effective range at a greater distance will less bullet drop.

Speer Gold Dot, 9mm Luger, GDHP, 147 Grain, at 326 foot pounds per square inch is the round issued by a lot of police departments that use 9mm sidearms.

PPU, 9mm Luger Subsonic, FMJ, 158 grain

Bullet Weight: 158 grain
Bullet Style: FMJ
Muzzle Velocity: 950 FPS
Muzzle Energy: 317 ft.-lbs.

Federal American Eagle, 9mm Luger, FMJFP, 147 Grain

Bullet Weight: 147 grain
Bullet Type: Full Metal Jacket Flat Point
Muzzle Velocity: 1,000 FPS
Muzzle Energy: 325 ft.-lbs.

Speer Lawman, 9mm Luger, TMJ FN, 147 Grain

Muzzle Velocity: 985 FPS
Muzzle Energy: 317 ft.-lbs.

SIG Elite Performance, 9mm Luger, JHP, 147 Grain

Bullet Weight: 147 grain
Bullet Style: JHP
Muzzle Velocity: 985 FPS
Muzzle Energy: 317 ft.-lbs.

Speer Gold Dot, 9mm Luger, GDHP, 147 Grain

Bullet Weight: 147 grain
Bullet Style: GDHP
Muzzle Velocity: 985 FPS
Muzzle Energy: 326 ft.-lbs.

Liberty Civil Defense, 9mm +P, HP, 50 Grain, 20 Rounds 
Obviously NOT subsonic, but a powerfull 9mm self defense round.
Caliber: 9mm +P
Bullet Weight: 50 grain
Bullet Style: Copper Monolithic Fragmenting HP
Muzzle Velocity: 2,000 FPS
Muzzle Energy: 444 ft-lbs.

I have some Israeli and Swiss 9mm subsonic ammo I have not tested, but looks very interesting.  I'll post an update to this posting at a later date.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Truth About Silencers - Subsonic .22 Long Rifle Ammo


I briefly touched upon firearm sound suppressors (Silencers) in my previous post dealing with weapons and silencers.  In this post, I'd like to go into a little more detail specifically about .22 Long Rifle (LR) sound suppressors.

Are Silencers Legal?

They sure are! Here is a map of which states allow silencers to be sold to private citizens. If you live in a state where they are not allowed, move to another state.

Is It Legal To Hunt Using Suppressed Weapons?

It is legal to hunt in some states. Here are a list of states that allow hunting using silencers. Recently, the ATF administratively made it more difficult to use a trust, but it appears that will be reversed soon.  They almost raised the price of the FFL Tax stamp from $200 to $1,500.

How Do I Get A Silencer?

In states where silencers are legal, like Texas, you have to obtain a Sheriff's letter or a Trust.  Any store that sells them will help you with the ATF FFL paperwork.

Below is a link to "The Silencer Shop" in Austin, Texas. They always have great information on legal issues dealing with silencers.

Sig Mosquito .22 Lr

Beretta 71 .22 Long Rifle w/ 1/2 X 20 to 1/2 X 28 Adapter 

I bought my first suppressor in 2010 and it was the best experience of my life. I bought an NFA Investments .22 LR suppressor which turned out to be a really great suppressor. My first host pistol was a SigSauer Mosquito and I'm sad to say I was very  disappointed. It's such a cool looking pistol, but consistently had two or three jams with every magazine no matter what ammo I used.

GSG 522 522P Light Weight Pistol 22 LR with Walther GSG 1911 .22  Adapter 
(Has to be the one with the flash suppressor)

The great things about .22 LR suppressors is they are all threaded the same in 1/2 X 28 and there are many, many .22 LR  host pistols and rifles that come with factory threaded barrels.  There are also many great ammo manufacturers that make subsonic ammunition.

HK (Umarex) MP5 A5 .22 Long Rifle with a walther P-22 adapter

One Suppressor Fits Pistols And Rifles Alike.  

Unlike higher caliber suppressors, you do not need a "booster" for pistols with floating barrels for the weapon to function.  I learned the hard way that when you buy a 9mm suppressor, the booster is not good to use with fixed barrels and visa versa.  I'll go into 9mm suppressors in another post.

How Loud Are They?

Rather than go into decibels, I'll say that firing a .22 LR with a suppressor sounds very similar to a CO2 BB gun, You can hear the bullet hitting the paper of the target.  If you step off to the side of someone firing a suppressed .22 LR, you can hear the bullet fly through the air. 

It does matter on the length of the barrel and the type of subsonic ammo you use. It also makes a huge difference if you "wet" the suppressor by using hand sanitizer, gun oil or even water.  Wetting the suppressor also eliminates the "first round pop" associated with .22 LR suppressors.  Rifles will be much quieter than pistols.  Suppressors for .22 LRs need to be cleaned every 300 to 500 rounds and "wetting" the suppressor can cause it to "gum up" more quickly, so keep that in mind.

Walther P-22 .22 LR with 1/2 X 28 threaded barrel.

What If I Use Supersonic Ammo?

I wondered that too so I shot some CCI mini mag ammo through my Walter P-22. If you shoot it directly at the ground with a few feet in front of you or dirt mound, etc, you'll find the bullet did not have enough time to reach the sound barrier, however, if you shoot out say past ten feet or so, the bullet will break the sound barrier and thus create the loud crack of the sonic boom. Once that happens, there's no significant difference in firing the .22 LR with or without the suppressor, 

There are two "booms" when a firearm is discharged. The boom of the primer igniting the power in the bullet casing and then the sonic boom of the bullet breaking the sound barrier. To the human ear, they sound like one loud boom. Suppressors can only suppress the first boom.

What's The Best Subsonic Ammo

Some the brands and grains of .22 LR subsonic ammo I've tested in several guns which consistently function well are as follows:

Gemtech Silencer Subsonic .22LR 42 Grain 

Bullet Type: Lead Round Nose
Bullet Weight: 42 Grains
Muzzle Velocity: 1020 fps
Muzzle Energy: 97 ft/lbs

Eley Subsonic

Bullet Weight: 40 grain
Bullet Style: Hollow Point
Muzzle Velocity: 1,040 F.P.S.
Muzzle Velocity at 20m: 984 F.P.S.
Muzzle Velocity at 50m: 922 F.P.S.
Muzzle Energy: 96 ft.-lbs.
Muzzle Energy at 20m: 86 ft.-lbs.
Muzzle Energy at 50m: 75ft.-lbs.

CCI Standard Velocity

Bullet Weight: 40 Grains
Bullet Style: Lead Round Nose
Ballistics Information:
Muzzle Velocity: 1070 fps
Velocity Rating: Standard Velocity (Subsonic)
Muzzle Energy: 102 ft lbs

CCI Hollow Point Subsonic

Bullet Weight: 40 Grains
Bullet Style: Subsonic Lead Hollow Point
Ballistics Information:
Muzzle Velocity: 1050 fps
Velocity Rating: Subsonic Velocity
Muzzle Energy: 98 ft. lbs.

CCI Quiet

Caliber: 22 Long Rifle
Bullet Type: Lead Round Nose
Bullet Weight: 40 GR
Muzzle Velocity: 710 fps
Muzzle Energy: 45 ft. lbs.
Note: 75% reduction in perceived noise of standard velocity 22 Long Rifle WITHOUT a suppressor. It's almost completely silent with a suppressor.
******CCI Quiet does not have enough power to function a semiautomatic so you'll have to do that manually Also, CCI Quiet is not recommended for rifles and can stop mid barrel.

Federal American Eagle Suppressor AE22SUP1 .22lr 45gr CPRN Subsonic (Copper Jacket)

Bullet Type :Copper-Plated Round Nose (CPRN)
Bullet Weight :45 GR
Muzzle Energy 94 ft lbs
Muzzle Velocity :970 fps

Federal American Eagle Suppressor 22 LR rounds feature a heavier, 45 grain, copper plated solid bullet, leaving the muzzle at subsonic speeds, for increased accuracy with a greatly reduced report.

These rounds are also perfectly fine to fire in your standard 22LR firearm and thanks to their sub-sonic velocity, they won't be nearly as loud as a standard 22LR round
since you won't have the supersonic crack as the bullet leaves the muzzle.

CCI Hollow Point (HP) Subsonic

Special 40 grain lead hollow point nose at 1050 ft/sec
Trajectory matches most target loads to 50 yards
Large HP cavity for reliable expansion at sub-sonic velocity
without fragmentation
Muzzle Energy: 98 ft. lbs.

Aguila 22LR Ammunition Sniper Subsonic 60 Grain Lead Round Nose

Bullet Weight: 60 Grains
Bullet Style: Lead Round Nose
Muzzle Velocity: 950 fps
Muzzle Energy: 120 ft. lbs.
I have test fired this round through my HK (Umarex) MP5 A5 .22 Long Rifle with a walther P-22 adapter with no problems. I would recommend using this with rifles only.

Note: personally, I would not fire this through a pistol with a suppressor as short barrels may not stabilize the the 60 grain round and could cause a baffle strike.

I welcome all questions or comments regarding suppressors.

Next Post: The Truth About (mm Suppressors - 9mm Subsonic Ammo

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Electromagnetic Pulse, Fact or Fiction?

Electromagnetic Pulse,  Fact or Fiction?

The Electromagetic Pulse (EMP) is very real and was discovered during W.W. II during the testing of the atomic bomb which eventually ended the war with Japan. One atomic bomb tested in the Pacific Ocean blew out electrical transformers over 1,000 miles away in Hawaii.  Today, the electromagnetic bomb is also very real and have already been developed by Iran, North Korea, China and Russian to bring our country to it's knees.

Keep in mind, there are many factors involved such as terrain (mountains), distance from ground zero, weather conditions, construction of your home, etc. The problem is there could very well be multiple EMP bombs detonated over the country.

Most experienced preppers know all of this so this is so I'm mainly targeting newer preppers and folks that may not even realize the dangers of such an event.

Below are a couple of interesting videos describing how the EMP was discovered and how it could be used to destroy this country.

Youtube video on an Electromagnetic Pulse Bomb

ANONYMOUS - 2017, The Year The EMP Will Be ACTIVATED

In the video above, Anonymous believes an EMP will be deployed in the United States during 2017.

An EMP is desribed as a high intensity burst of electromagetic energy nuclear emitting radio frequency resulting in the change in the magnetic field in the atmosphere which can disrupt electrical systems.

Studies have shown that a relatively small ten kiloton EMP bomb could wipe out the electrical grid on the eastern seaboard of the United States. The Russians have developed and tested a sixty megaton weapon which detonated at high altitude (over 20 to 30 kilometers), could wipe out all electrical grids in the United States.  China, North Korea, and Iran are also reported to have or are in the process of developing the EMP bomb. Not good considering current events.

Studies have also shown that the resulting chaos could cause 90 percent of the citizens in this country to parish within one year.

EMP, Is There Anything We Can Do?

Yes, you need to prepare NOW! With no trucks available to restock grocery store shelves, there will be no food within a couple of days if that long.  Most homes will no longer have water and sewage could very likely back up into houses.

One thing you can do to protect your communications and other electronics from an EMP attack would be to build what's called a Faraday Cage.  This can be a simple metal box that is lined with material that will not conduct electricity such a foam rubber. I have found such metal military surplus containers on

A grounded metal trash can lined with material that will not conduct electricity is another cheap and easy way to protect electronics such as radios, emergency battery packs, night vision gear, etc.

Here are a couple of excellent articles on building a Faraday cage and how they work from The Survivalist Blog.

A great idea from the Survival Blog's story is using your microwave as an emergency Faraday cage.

Next Blog:  The Truth About Silencers - Subsonic .22 Long Rifle Ammo

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Keeping Cool In The End Times


Some may look at this

A relatively inexpensive, but effective item we stumbled upon is the Arctic Cove portable fan with a built in pump that creates mist blown by the fan.