All posts for the month November, 2013


By Josh

If there is one area where Hollywood does a major disservice to self-defense, it is in the way it shows a firefight. Any material the hero or major villains decide to hide behind becomes invulnerable to bullets, whether it is a table, a car, or a wall in their home. The proper distinction between cover and concealment is lost on the part of the scriptwriters and action choreographers, and unfortunately as a result many preppers who watch their movies have some misconceptions too! If you were put in a position where you had to defend your home, food, and family from looters you wouldn’t want to rely on faulty TV tactics, so it is important to understand the real differences between cover and concealment.

What is the difference?

Concealment only hides you from the enemy. It doesn't protect you from gunfire if they do spot you.

Concealment only hides you from the enemy. It doesn’t protect you from gunfire if they do spot you.

The names can give you some clue. Concealment is primarily able to hide you from prying eyes, keeping you from being specifically targeted in a firefight. However, if you tried to use concealment to protect yourself from stray rounds, you would turn into a lead depository pretty quickly. Cover, on the other hand is sufficient to protect you from enemy rounds winging their way towards you. It might also conceal you, but generally that benefit is secondary to the bullet protection offered. Furthermore, different kinds of cover protect from different levels of damage. A small caliber pistol round that hits you from a long range requires far weaker cover than a rifle round from point-blank range will.

The other key difference, and the one that most people tend to forget, is in how common they are. Concealment is almost constantly available in varying degrees, as every wall, piece of furniture, and tree could potentially hide you from the enemy. Obviously some means of concealment (such as a carefully designed ghillie suit) are better than others, but on the whole concealment is almost always at hand.

Cover protects you from bullets, and can also double as concealment in many cases.

Cover protects you from bullets, and can also double as concealment in many cases.

Cover by contrast is rather rare in most settings. Most furniture, walls, cars and smaller trees are not sufficient cover for even small caliber rounds, and so diving behind them in a firefight would serve only to conceal your position rather than protecting it. To be very clear, this includes metal tables and even small vehicle engines depending on the round despite what a thousand TV shows and movies may have shown you.

In most homes, cover is almost nonexistent unless there are concrete walls in a basement or a steel door to hide behind. Outside, unless you live in a city or town which has buildings with thick concrete/brick walls or other solid structures, your best bet will be to prepare earthen defenses like a foxhole, preferably surrounded by sandbags as additional protection.

Common types of concealment and cover that you’re likely to come across in a disaster

In order to further help you to tell the difference between these two concepts, here is are lists of the common kinds of concealment and cover that you’re likely to come across. If you’re having trouble shaking off the preconceived notions that endless TV firefights have given you, these may prove particularly helpful. Note that many items that qualify as cover also function as concealment, but for clarity the items on the concealment list only hide, not protect.


  • Tree limbs, leaves etc.
  • Bushes and brush, including tall grass.
  • Shadows and blinding light (if positioned so that the enemy has to stare into a floodlight or the sun in order to look at you).
  • Opaque curtains.
  • Drywall, wood, and other thin material walls.
  • Piled clothes, blankets, leaves, and other materials.
  • Small (under 2ft in diameter) trees.
  • Vehicles, excepting reinforced doors on squadcars and particularly large engine blocks.
  • Tables, desks, doors (excepting thick steel doors).
  • Ghillie Suit.
  • Window blinds and shutters.
  • Smoke
  • A corpse (even a particularly fat person will not stop most rounds)


  • Thick stone, brick, or concrete walls/buildings.
  • Large engine blocks.
  • Thick (over 2ft in diameter) trees and stumps.
  • Natural valleys, hills, holes, and craters from explosions.
  • Earthwork defenses, including several rows of sandbags.
  • A safe.
  • A steel door.
  • Piled rubble.
  • Concrete walls in a basement.
  • A freezer or refrigerator, assuming it is packed with food.

Make sure you know the difference between cover and concealment: it might just save your life in an emergency. – Prepared For That

Your Thoughts?

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Can you think of any other common types of cover or concealment?



By Ken Jorgustin

A night vision device is actually a image enhancement technology system. A NVD relies on a special tube, called a image-intensifier tube, to collect and AMPLIFY any available visible and infrared light (which your eyes cannot detect alone).

There are many advantages and applications for a night vision device, including uses for the military, law enforcement, security, surveillance, hunting, wildlife observation, navigation, hidden-object detection, entertainment, and more…

Although a relatively expensive addition to a prepper’s supply, a night vision device could prove itself invaluable under some circumstances.

Here is some information how NVD’s work, and the differences in technology of generations GEN-0,1,2,3,4…

Rob at distributes this… PVS-14 3RD GEN NIGHT VISION DEVICE

How Night Vision Works

English: Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging System...A lens captures ambient light and some near-infrared light. The gathered light is sent to an image-intensifier tube. In most night vision devices, the power supply for the image-intensifier tube receives power from batteries. The tube outputs a high voltage, about 5,000 volts, to the image-tube components.

The image-intensifier tube has a photocathode, which is used to convert the photons of light energy into electrons.

As the electrons pass through the tube, they are amplified by a factor of thousands.

At the end of the image-intensifier tube, the electrons hit a screen coated with phosphors which provides the image. These phosphors create the green image on the screen that has come to characterize night vision.

The green phosphor image is viewed through another lens, enables you to view the image.

Night Vision Devices (NVD’s) have been around for more than 40 years and are categorized by generation. Each substantial change in night vision device technology establishes a new generation.

Generation-0 Night Vision

GEN-0 The original night-vision system created by the United States Army and used in World War II and the Korean War, these NVDs use active infrared.

An IR (Infrared) Illuminator is attached to the NVD which projects out a beam of infrared light, similar to the beam of a normal flashlight, to ‘light up’ the area in front. This infrared light is invisible to the naked eye, but this beam reflects off objects and bounces back to the lens of the NVD.

These original systems (tubes) use an ‘anode’ and a ‘cathode’ to accelerate the electrons; but the problem with that approach is that the acceleration of the electrons distorts the image and greatly decreases the life of the tube. Another major problem with this technology in its original military use was that it was quickly duplicated by hostile nations, which allowed enemy soldiers to use their own NVDs to see the infrared beam being projected by the device.

Generation-1 Night Vision

GEN-1 The next generation of NVDs moved away from active infrared, using passive infrared instead. Once dubbed Starlight by the U.S. Army, these NVDs use ambient light provided by the moon and stars to augment the normal amounts of reflected infrared in the environment.

This means that they did not require a source of projected infrared light. This also means that they do not work very well on cloudy or moonless nights. Generation-1 NVDs use the same image-intensifier tube technology as Generation 0, with both cathode and anode, so image distortion and short tube life are still a problem.

Generation-2 Night Vision

As seen through a night vision device, U.S. Ar...GEN-2 Major improvements in image-intensifier tubes resulted in Generation-2 NVDs. They offer improved resolution and performance over Generation-1 devices, and are considerably more reliable.

The biggest gain in Generation 2 is the ability to see in extremely low light conditions, such as a moonless night. This increased sensitivity is due to the addition of a ‘microchannel’ plate to the image-intensifier tube. Since this plate actually increases the number of electrons instead of just accelerating the original ones, the images are significantly less distorted and brighter than earlier-generation NVDs.

Generation-3 Night Vision

AN/PVS-7 Cyclops 3rd generation goggle. The sy...GEN-3 Currently used by the U.S. military. While there are no substantial changes in the underlying technology from Generation 2, these NVDs have even better resolution and sensitivity.

The photo cathode is made using gallium arsenide, which is very efficient at converting photons to electrons, providing better resolution and sensitivity. Additionally, the micro-channel plate is coated with an ion barrier, which dramatically increases the life of the tube.

Generation-4 Night Vision

GEN-4 The military dropped the term, GEN 4, and instead refers to the technology as GEN 3 with “filmless” and “gated” tubes. The technology shows significant overall improvement in both low- and high-level light environments.

The ion barrier that was added to the micro-channel plate in the previous generation was removed to reduce the background noise and enhance the signal to noise ratio. Removing the ion film actually allows more electrons to reach the amplification stage so that the images are significantly less distorted and brighter.

The addition of an automatic gated power supply system allows the photocathode voltage to switch on and off rapidly, thereby enabling the NVD to respond to a fluctuation in lighting conditions in an instant. This capability is a critical advance in NVD systems, in that it allows the NVD user to quickly move from high-light to low-light (or from low-light to high-light) environments without any halting effects. For example, when someone turns on a light nearby, the new, gated power feature, the change in lighting wouldn’t have a negative impact; the improved NVD would respond immediately to the lighting change.

Many of the so-called “bargain” night-vision scopes use Generation-0 or Generation-1 technology, and may be disappointing if you expect the sensitivity of the devices used by professionals. Generation-2, Generation-3 and Generation 4 NVDs are typically expensive to purchase, but they will last if properly cared for. – Modern Survival Blog

Rob over at Ready Made, a long time advertiser on Modern Survival Blog, is well known for his distribution of the following GEN-3 night vision device. PVS-14 3RD GEN AUTOGATED 64LP ITT PINNACLE TUBE

Other Resources:

By Brian Edwards

A surge of moisture aimed at the Pacific Northwest will generate a bout of flooding rain before a massive Arctic air mass plunges into the West next week.

Rain will increase in coverage and intensity across much of western Washington late Saturday night, including in the cities of Seattle, Olympia and Vancouver.

The moisture will interact with the Cascade Mountains, effectively leading to dangerous rainfall rates of around 1 inch per hour throughout most of the passes.

For residents or visitors traveling through Snoqualmie or Stevens Pass on Sunday, be prepared for slick roadways and potentially blinding downpours.

Rainfall amounts in the central Cascade passes could reach 3-6 inches through Sunday night as snow levels remain on the high side above 6,000 feet.

RELATED Forecast Temperature Maps Winter Weather Center Cold Eases in East, Blasts Into West

Mountain rain of this magnitude can lead to sharp rises on area rivers with moderate flooding possible in some locations.

Meanwhile, for folks traveling back home from holiday festivities along Interstate 5 between Everett, Seattle and Olympia, steady to locally heavy rain will develop late Saturday night and continue through Sunday. Rainfall amounts through Sunday will average 1-2 inches, which can lead to some flooding of low-lying and poor drainage areas.

Arctic Air Blasts Southward Sunday Night

After the heavy rainfall that occurs through Sunday, temperatures will turn sharply colder Sunday night across the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies as a strong cold front slides southward.

Snow levels across the Washington Cascades will fall from around 5,500 feet on Sunday to 2,500 feet Sunday night and end up just above the ground on Monday.

Heavy rain in the Cascades will transition to heavy snow Sunday night with several inches of accumulation likely. Along with the transition to snow, a rapid freeze is likely across the passes of the Cascades as temperatures quickly fall into the 20s late Sunday night. Interstate 90 through the Cascades will become covered with ice and snow and extremely dangerous.

The air will be so cold that the rain could even mix with some wet snowflakes in places such as Seattle and Portland along the I-5 corridor Monday and Monday night. High temperatures by Tuesday and Wednesday won’t get out of the middle 30s in Seattle which is nearly 15 degrees below average for the time of year.

According to Meteorologist Michael Doll, “Several locations, including Seattle and Portland, will flirt with their record low temperatures both Tuesday night and Wednesday night.”

Farther east, blizzard conditions will develop Monday from central Alberta into northern Idaho and northwestern Montana as the Arctic air spills southward.

Travel will become extremely difficult Monday in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, as wind-whipped snow combines with temperatures falling into the single digits.

Travel along Interstate 15 will also turn dangerous across the northern Rockies as heavy snow falls and the air becomes bitterly cold. Temperatures on Monday in cities such as Great Falls and Helena will start out in the 40s before plummeting into the 20s then falling close to zero Monday night. Highs by Tuesday will struggle to get out of the teens. – AccuWeather

By Suspicious0bservers

Penn State Habitable Planet Explanation (Opposing our own ideas – hear all sides of the story, even if they don’t match my own):…
China Lunar Probe:
24Hr Temp Delta:…


NDBC Buoys:
Tropical Storms:
HurricaneZone Satellite Images:…
Weather Channel:
NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory:
Pressure Maps:…
Satellite Maps:…
Forecast Maps:…
TORCON:… [Tornado Forecast for the day]

Precipitation Totals:…
GOES Satellites:
Severe Weather Threats:…
Canada Weather Office Satellite Composites:…
Temperature Delta:…

SOHO Solar Wind:
HAARP Data Meters:…
Planetary Orbital Diagram – Ceres1 JPL:…
GOES Xray:…
Gamma Ray Bursts:
BARTOL Cosmic Rays:…
NOAA Sunspot Classifications:…
GONG Magnetic Maps:…

MISC Links:
JAPAN Radiation Map:
RSOE: [That cool alert map I use]

Etna (Sicily, Italy): The New SE crater has calmed down. Only very occasionally, a weak glow appeared from the summit vent at night, suggesting deep-seated activity still occurs from time to time.

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): Activity has generally decreased over the past days. VAAC Tokyo reported a possible eruption early today, producing a small ash plume rising to 17,000 ft (5.1 km), i.e. a few hundred meters tall. Webcam images at that time are cloudy, but otherwise show the volcano is mostly quiet.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Activity seems to increase and decrease in cycles of approximately a week’s length. After the series of stronger explosions on 24-25 Nov, the past days have been calmer with fewer and less intense explosions (1-2 per day, ash plumes to 8,000 ft).

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): Visual activity has decreased. Ash emissions have become less intense and less frequent. However, this could be only a pause, and the risk of larger explosions that can occur unexpectedly remains high.

Dukono (Halmahera): A dense SO2 plume is visible on the latest NOAA satellite data, suggesting that (the ongoing) activity (weak to moderate strombolian explosions) is elevated at the moment.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): CENAPRED reports no changes in activity. The number of explosive emissions of gas/steam and minor amounts of ash is very low (less than 10 per day). Weak glow remains visible at night and SO2 emissions elevated.
A volcano-tectonic quake of magnitude 2.2 was recorded yesterday at 04:33 local time.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity has been mainly effusive during the past days; no or few explosions occurred yesterday. The volcano observatory reports abundant avalanches from the active lava flows mainly on the NE side of the Caliente lava dome.

Pacaya (Guatemala): INSIVUMEH reports continuing weak strombolian activity. Small ash plumes at altitudes of 2.5-2.7 km drift up to approx. 10 km mainly to the SE.

Fuego (Guatemala): No significant changes in activity have occurred. The volcano produces small to moderate strombolian-type explosions with ash plumes rising up to about 800 m. The lava flows are no longer active.

paracord bracelet

By Pat B

In prepping, we tend to put a lot of thought into big picture planning. We gather food supplies, medical supplies, fuel and water. We carefully rat hole these items at our chosen refuge, and continue storing, maintaining and rotating our stockpiles. We even consider the event that we may have to leave this refuge at some point, and assemble bug-out bags (BOBs) and off-premises caches for this contingency.

Many of us plan on the possibility that we may not be home when the balloon goes up, and we either keep our BOB in the car or assemble get-home kits for the stated purpose. But crises are a fickle lot, and the odds that they will be cooperative in their timing and have us handy to our gear when they take place are not particularly in our favor. Add this to the fact that there are a wide range of smaller catastrophes that can take place at any time and it becomes clear that keeping some amount of survival and emergency gear on our person at all times is not the worst idea we could have.

Unless you are in a position to carry your BOB on your back at all times, you should give some thought as to what you load your pockets or purse with each morning before you leave the house. Every Day Carry (EDC) items should be calculated to give you a survival edge and help meet basic needs if you are cut off from everything except what you have on your person at any given moment.

The backbone of my EDC gear is what I have come to think of as my “Caveman Kit”. This is a small selection of gear that can accomplish the three basic skills that have been helping humans to survive for untold millennia. These skills are cutting, tying and burning. With these skills covered, you can start a fire for warmth, you can cook, and you can make water safe to drink. You can improvise shelter, catch fish and small game, fix a broken shoe lace or pack strap, or create weapons to defend yourself. With these skills, and a well-stocked cranial survival kit (chock full of knowledge), you can improve your odds in almost any circumstance.

1. Burning. Where burning is concerned, most experts will agree that it is a good idea to have at least two means of starting a fire with you at all times. I always keep a disposable butane lighter with me; these are a very inexpensive piece of equipment, and serve well until conditions get too wet or windy. As a backup, I keep either a blast match or other ferrocerium fire steel. These fire starters will throw HOT sparks in any conditions, and coupled with good tinder will get your fire going in no time. It is a good idea to have a couple cubes of wet fire, a trioxane fuel tab, or even a small bag of dryer lint with you to serve as tinder. If you opt for matches, make sure they are waterproof and strike anywhere; hurricane matches are as good as it gets. Practice making fire; it isn’t always as easy as you think, and fire steels in particular require practice. Fire building techniques are a must in the cranial tool box.

The pack for anybody who wants to be fully prepared for an unexpected emergency

2. Tying. For tying, you should keep a length of cordage with you. Paracord bracelets are a very convenient way to have 6-10 feet of 550 paracord with you at all times. I wear mine 24/7, even when I step into my pleated slacks and button down shirt to venture into the community college where I teach part-time. These bracelets go with just about any attire without looking conspicuously out of place, and paracord is truly the duct tape of string. I have used paracord to replace a broken boot lace, to fix a duffle bag strap that broke while I was rushing through an airport, and to fix the handle on a plastic pumpkin that broke on a trick-or-treat mission with my kids. In more extreme times, paracord can be used to make a tent out of a tarp, to catch a fish, or to lash together just about anything that needs lashing. Your ingenuity is the only limit with this stuff, and a good set of knots should be stored away in your knowledge base.

3. Cutting. I don’t even know where to start with cutting. To say that there are a million and one uses for a good blade is probably an understatement. I won’t even go into them because if you can’t think of at least a hundred in 30 seconds or less you should probably give up prepping! I tend to carry a pocket knife, and lean towards trappers or stockmen. These styles have been around a long time for a reason, they are terribly versatile. In addition to my pocket knife, I like to keep a larger fixed blade or folder on my belt. Even in professional attire, I don’t think that a three inch lock blade in a plain sheath is too out of place. When I am dressed more casually a medium sized, full tang (I am not a fan of hollow handled “survival knives”; I find them to be too weak) bush craft style knife seldom draws comment. Lately, I have become fond of karambits, as they are strong, functional and an incredibly effective cutting and slashing weapon. Aside from the utilitarian functions, never underestimate the defensive capabilities of your knife. When circumstances prevent me from carrying my handgun, you can bet I have a decent blade with me. Devote time to learning and practicing defensive blade work, and file these skills away in your cranial tool kit.

These items form the basics of a very effective survival kit, and rank even higher than a certain credit card on the “don’t leave home without it” scale. From here, you can add gear to suit your tastes, needs and pocket size. I feel that a Leatherman tool is a good addition, and keep one on my belt at all times. The trusty old P38 can opener is right at home on your key ring, and a handcuff key can live there too (just saying…). If you are permitted, a concealed handgun is also a very good idea. The pocket that doesn’t hold your wallet can hold a space blanket and/or an emergency poncho; these two items can be used to create effective shelter and body heat maintenance when combined with your paracord. A small flashlight fits easily in a pocket and could be invaluable if you are caught out after dark.

In addition to your gear you should always dress for your season and climate, even if you are planning on spending most of your time indoors. Always wear the sturdiest and most comfortable shoes that your dress code permits; your Italian loafers may look great but you wouldn’t want to walk 15 miles in them. You probably won’t be able to carry it at all times but keep a water bottle or two (at least one with a filter) close by, in your car or desk, along with a few thousand calories worth of rations (protein bars, jerky, trail mix, things of that nature).

Preparedness is a full-time occupation. With a little forethought you can load your pockets with the basics, without loading them down. Most importantly, never forget that your most important survival tool rides under your hat. Make sure it is full at all times. – Off The Grid News

barter new graphic


Whether people realize it or not, the bartering system is still alive and well. We do it every single day, when we go to the grocery store, the gas station, and when we pay the rent. In case you aren’t familiar with the barter system, it’s pretty easy to understand. It can be defined simply as the exchange of goods or services between two people. For example, if you needed your car repaired, you would go to a mechanic who would require some form of payment in exchange for his services to fix up your automobile.

Today, we barter with paper money issued by the government. At one time in history, not all that long ago, this paper currency was backed with gold, giving it real value. Since leaving the Gold Standard, the currency issued by the government basically only has value because the Treasury says it does. In a SHTF-type of scenario, paper money is completely and utterly useless. In order to survive in a world without government backed currency, you will need to be able to barter with other survivors to get the supplies you and your loved ones need to survive.

Most people today feel safe and sound in the current government issued currency situation, and don’t believe that anything is going to happen to upset things. However, all one needs to do is look at what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. People were stuck without any access to funds or outside help, so they were strictly on their own for survival. In order to get what you need in that type of crisis, you must know how to get supplies from those who have them, by having something they need in return.

Here are a few rules to live by when it comes to bartering with other survivors in a SHTF situation. Keep in mind that your life may depend on your ability to barter and acquire food and other supplies, so take these to heart.

Items That Are Absolutely Essential

barterThe type of items you need to make it through a SHTF situation can be broken down into two groups. The first group is made up of items you absolutely must have in order to live. The second group is creature comforts.

Two things you must have in order to survive are food and water. These two are your number one priority. Since you need these items to live, that means others do too. If you have livestock and crops, these can be as good as gold in a bartering situation. By trading food and water you can almost guarantee you will get whatever you need from someone looking to trade. Make sure that you have a way to replenish your supply before you begin to trade these items, otherwise you will be in big trouble.

Another important group of items you will need is camping and hunting gear. Hunting will be one of your main sources of getting high protein food to eat and sustain your strength. Any item that can be used to survive away from urban areas will be great for trading with other people. Be sure to visit local hunting and outdoors shops and stock up on supplies when they are putting items on sale. This will make sure that when things go south, you will have “currency” to trade with those who don’t have the means of hunting or finding suitable lodging.

Creature Comforts

The second group of items both to barter with and for are comfort items. These are items that aren’t necessary to sustain life, but they do make things more comfortable, and a little less dark.

Hygienic supplies like soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper are some of the best supplies to trade with. Staying clean is incredibly important to your health and safety. In a SHTF situation, a cut or scrape that gets infected could lead to death. Stock up on soap and toothpaste and you will have commodities that everyone needs, making you “wealthy” in this type of world.

Another comfort item that is good for barter is alcohol. People love their booze, even in a world that’s fallen completely apart. You will be surprised at the great lengths individuals will go to in order to get a cup of moonshine.

Tips to Knowbarter a-n

  • If you are bartering with someone, it’s like playing a game of poker. You don’t want to give away too much information in your body language or facial expressions. Keep a straight face! Do not let the other person see that you are in desperate need of the items they have. If someone sees that you need something badly, the price of the exchange will go up.
  • Always ask the individual you are bartering with what type of items they are looking for. You do not want to show off your entire inventory to someone you don’t know. Start with the items that are of lesser value and work your way up to the valuable ones. Showing off the best you have first could cause you to be harmed by someone who is desperate for that item.
  • Avoid trading with weapons at first. While items like guns and ammunition can be extremely valuable in survival situations, they can also be deadly. Trading with someone you don’t know well could lead to someone taking the weapon and using it on you. At that point they will also have access to your entire inventory, leaving you with nothing.

While no one wants to have a situation like this occur, the reality is that we never know what is going to happen day to day. It is better to learn these skills and be prepared, so that if that day comes, you aren’t the desperate one roaming around for the basics of life. Stay well supplied and stocked with the materials mentioned above, and you will be well ahead of the curve when the SHTF. – SurvivoPedia

Find out more about long term survival on Prepper’s Blueprint.

Photo sources: 1, 2, 3.