View Full Version : real gear for self defense/survival?

September 16, 2002, 07:19 PM
One of the ways I waste time is thinking about what gear I want/need to carry with me. Not just for goblins, but for dealing with the challenges in life. What I should have in the car, what in the house.
Training and skills are important, but if you NEED a fire extinguisher you need it (or shovel with dirt/snow, etc).

Here is a partial list of concerns:
1 Goblins
2 fire (building/vehicals)
3 weather: flood, snow storms
4 Natural disasters: earth quakes, volcanoes, forrest/grassland fires
5 Medical: injuries, heart attack/stroke, shock, diabetic problems, exposure

One can't carry everything you might need. But some tools are very flexable. I always carry a pocket knife or mini multi tool and a cig lighter, my watch has an electronic compass, and I have one of those bright LED mini lights on my key chain.

I keep a Bug out Bag (BOB) in my trunk. In addition to tools and etc for the car.

I have noticed that many who seem concerned about self defense or survival get boggged down in one or two minor areas. They will focus on handguns or shooting or MA (ie empty hand) to the exclusion of all other skills & tools related to self defense/survival.

I am wondering what other TFL people think are some of the biggest or most common errors in preparing for self defense/survival? One of my favorite is taking a pistol to an expected gunfight (Miami-Dade shootout good example) when a long gun could be used as primary.

September 16, 2002, 07:22 PM
And what gear makes practical sense. A handgun, a knife, some type of light. Yes! Cell phone? Maybe.

Pepper spray?

September 17, 2002, 03:18 AM
Stick to the basics.
IMHO, I'd recommend:

Large/medium-sized first-aid kit.
Large flashlight (with spare batteries).
Candles and lighter/match.
Portable radio (with spare batteries).

Mini fire-extinguisher (regularly maintained).
Small first-aid kit.
Basic repair tools: flat-head screw driver, spanner, wrench, jump leads, and foot pump.

On person
Whatever is legal and appropriate for you. Cell phone is highly recommended.

Try to maintain a first-aid certificate, and keep in reasonably good physical shape. Obvious, but easily forgotten. It can help to save your life, as well as lives of others.

September 17, 2002, 12:06 PM
Make sure that you bring one person whose back is strong enough and don't eat too much so that they can pack the gear out for you while you carry out the stuff that's needed for the immediate threats.

Double Naught Spy
September 17, 2002, 12:18 PM
The biggest mistake I see the the decision that protection comes from the barrel of a gun and bigger protection comes from a bigger barrel or more guns. Gun defense works on the basic concept that the best defense is a good offense. Shooting bullets do not actually defend you, but stop somebody else. Sometimes it works, but most people in the business realize you need more than a gun. This is contrary to much of the private gun ownership doctrine.

A big part of defense and a mistake commonly made concerns preclusion of injury. People do not harden their homes in most cases, harden their cars, or harden themselves.

Contrary to popular ideology, guns are only defensive in that they may stop a person from future attacks on you only AFTER you have either displayed the gun to scare the bad guy or actually managed to shoot the bad guy. If you have tried the display and tried shooting, but maybe you didn't strike the bad guy, the gun is not actually protecting you.

Defense involves not just stopping the other person, but stopping whatever the other person throws at you until you get a chance to stop him. Drywall is a lousy barrier for protection in a home shootout.

People have "safe" rooms where they have installed a deadbolt lock on their bedroom door and maybe hardened the door, but have done zero to hardening the wall around the door. It is still drywall and an average guy can put a fist through it with some ease and shoot through it with no problem at all.

Last summer at Thunder Ranch, a local cop taking Defensive Handgun I class noticed I wore a ballistic vest. After the first day, he asked why I wore the vest and if I was paranoid. I explained that I was not paranoid. I had no reason to believe anyone in the class was going to intentionally shoot me. Then I pointed to his less than ideal target and noted that I had seen him handle his gun and shoot and that I would be keeping my vest on as long as he was handling guns. :p

A gun only provides defense in an active format. Barriers and vests are passive, but they provide some cover, either limited to near total depending on what is used. Gun classes, police academies, and military training all stress the use of cover in a firefight. There is a big reason for that and it should be a no brainer. Most gun folks who talk about getting prepared include nothing about increased cover type protection, only food and firepower.

No doubt guns and firepower are cool. Barriers and stuff are boring, not sexy, and have a low fiddle factor to keep interest. Guns are a fine defensive tool that may stop the aggressor at the source. Short of that, making the aggressors attempts to injure or harm you futile is a good idea. Cover works for this reason.

It does no good to deliver a lethal blow to your opponent if he too has managed a lethal blow to you or a family member.

September 17, 2002, 12:35 PM
I've got this thing about eating. Meal bars like Balance, etc., are good to have along.... :D

September 17, 2002, 04:16 PM
I've got this thing about eating. Meal bars like Balance, etc., are good to have along....
I was just scrolling down to mention FOOD! :D
I know they're not nutritious, but PopTarts last FOREVER in your car, just in their plain ole' box. I would imagine putting them in a small tupperware container would keep them even fresher. A can of peanuts, the aforementioned mealbars (I like ProMax, but they're not heat friendly) and even good ole' MRE's are a MUST have if you think you'll ever have to deal with adverse conditions in your vehicle for any length of time.
When my wife was finishing her graduate program in Maryland, she did lots of driving back and forth on some isolated roads during the winter in the early morning and late evening hours. She was kind enough to take her insulated hunting coveralls and boots with her, and kept them in a bag in the trunk of the car along with a can of peanuts in case she had an accident in the snowy conditions and couldn't get immediate help. Of course, she had the "roadside emergency kit" and a cell phone, in case a good ole fashioned screwdriver was needed.

I have an entire box dedicated to surviving adverse conditions in the back of my vehicle. Food, clothing, shelter, fire, water, hatchet, rope, cooking utensils... all sorts of camping/survival stuff one may never use, but if you need them....

have done zero to hardening the wall around the door. Hey, I'm into that sort of preparation... what do you suggest to "harden" the safe room walls?

September 17, 2002, 07:33 PM

September 18, 2002, 04:01 PM
Get in shape. Bein' able to shoot bad guy #1 isn't gonna do you much good if you have a heart attack running from bad guy #2-48.

Pop Tarts are bad for you. Try high-density stuff like beef jerky.

September 18, 2002, 06:38 PM
Gym membership!

September 18, 2002, 07:26 PM
I like to keep a stock of whoppers in my BoB,But that cheese is starting to look alittle green maybe.I guess I should rotate them more than once a year.:D

WR Olsen
September 18, 2002, 08:03 PM
I know it souds strange, but dry dog food will give you most of the nutrition you need to keep active.

Just remember to take a multi-vitamin at leat once a week in order to keep your body chemestry in balance

And before any one says :barf: I have tried it and while it is really really bland it will keep forever in a sealed container.

September 19, 2002, 11:02 AM
I like the way you waste time....

My thinking runs more to self-defense rather than survival. The immediate threat is self-defense. Survival indicates all hell has broke loose. In my area I choose not to keep a Bug-Out-Bag. In an urban area I might change my mind. I do not intend under almost any circumstances to vacate my home. Riots are not a threat here, key word "here".

My self defense thoughts are if I am in my home and I need a gun for defense, I'm grabbing the gauge. Piss on the pistol. My pistol (which I AM proficient with) is merely a tool to fight my way to my shotgun.

Pistols are made to carry, for times when you can't carry a shotgun. For the surprise attack. Then you fight your way to cover. COVER not concealment. Or fight to your long gun if possible.

You can spend a lot of time and money on bad training. Thunder ranch does an excellent job on training you to use a pistol. A valuable asset to have. But they don't train you on what to do if the bad guy has a gun and you don't. Or if an unarmed Goliath is fixing to beat you to a pulp. Yeah you could shoot him but I'll see you in 20 years. I think training like you find at Powderhorn Ranch in Colorado is the best you can get. Practical Tactical; if you will. They train people to handle any variety of confrontation, armed, unarmed, edged weapon, shotgun, pistol, impact weapon, etc. They also get detailed in what to expect psychologically and legally if you get into a shooting.

They cover safe rooms, room clearing, security systems, precision driving, post critical respnse, weapons retention and disarming, cover vs. concealment, etc.....I could go on.....

I've read similar reports about Ayoobs schools on other posts in this forum but have not attended one of his classes but they sound similar.

If you survive the gunfight or whatever threat you must face, then I will address survival.

September 22, 2002, 05:59 PM
My BOB (bug out bag) is in my car. My thinking is that while it is usually best to stay in place when you have problem and wait for help in civilian life there are occasions were that might not be best idea.

I live in the midwest and sometimes it REALLY snows here. If you get stuck or more likely get "trapped" by other idiots that can't drive in a couple of inches of snow, you might need to get out of the car to avoid being hit by car or plow.

Or if your at work or shopping or at a friends house and something happens...tornado, blizzard, fire...it is good to know you can pop your trunk and grab your pack and walk/run were you need to.

One thing puzzles me about people that prepare by having more than just a couple pieces of equipment but they don't invest in any type of LBE or equipment vests.

BTW generally I am not planning for TEOTWAWKI, I'll think about it if truly board :), I try to plan for things that have happened or that I think are going to happen sooner or later.

I have learned from personal experiance that I need AREA light sources (battery powered flourescent laterns best I have found so far) more when power is out than high intensity point sources (ie Surefire). I almost NEVER carry my surefire light, I have found that a good mini LED on keychain is all the light I need for most short term problems. It has red light so my night vision isn't totally ruined when I used it.

I have found reading/studying about older era explorers (Lewis & Clark for example) and such very education for learning the easy way, as opposed to the hard way, what types of gear is really useful.

September 23, 2002, 02:21 AM
Look through your local paper for a while, or go through your personal list of former acquaintances. How many people die in car wrecks as opposed to gunfights? Realistically, that's where you need to prepare.

One thing I like to carry- and have my wife carry- is a "cheater bar"- a piece of steel pipe about 1.5" OD by 24" long. Really helps change flat tires- the tire shops use air wrenches to put lug nuts on and that makes them nearly impossible to get off with just the little lug wrench that comes with most modern cars. Slide the pipe over the lug wrench and you have some serious leverage.

Also useful in a hand to hand fight if you have the bad luck to get hassled while changing your tire.

Joe Demko
September 23, 2002, 11:46 AM
Palatability aside, dry dog food isn't really something you want to eat. If you check the list of ingredients, you will see that it typically contains "meat by-products." That often means brains and spinal cords. Your chances of contracting "mad cow" are probably slim from eating such, but there are better choices available.

September 23, 2002, 04:04 PM
I am wondering what other TFL people think are some of the biggest or most common errors in preparing for self defense/survival?

I think that a common error is not practicing/using the gear that one has. From using that fire steel to start fires in less than perfect conditions to humping around in the wild with the gear on your back.

Also, checking the life of the items, from batteries and food to water filters to first aid supplies.

September 23, 2002, 10:31 PM
Hi,The most important piece of gear is your brain. Lots of toys are great but knowing how to adapt & improvise things around you are just as important . I was one of those people that prepared for y2k, come on admit it, Theres a few of you. I believe in better have & not need than need & not have. I've taken free courses offered at local schools for electrical repair & welding. Paid for a EMT certfication course & rock climbing/ropework classes. I like to know a little about alot of things & not the other way around. I see survivalism as a way to experience different things. Living in a restrictive city, I still learned how to shoot a bow(recurve) & firearms. I had way too much gear & in selling some of it off , I realized I wouldn't part with any of my "how to" books". In a SHTF scenario you could stay & play or load & go. I opt for the latter & reduced my gear to reflect that. Everybodies kits will be different depending on their needs. On a day to day basis, I have on my person, a gerber multiplier, spyderco police, zippo lighter ,cellphone,$2.00 in quarters, spacepen & pad, a minimaglite & bandanna. I have a larger kit in the car but feel what you have on your body is the primary kit. I would like to have a pistol, except this is NJ . Funny how after 911, friends that laugh at my unusual hobby wanted to know about NBC & getting a gas mask.

September 24, 2002, 03:04 PM
Hey, I'm into that sort of preparation... what do you suggest to "harden" the safe room walls?

Just take down the drywall, and put in some plywood underneath. You could also replace the drywall with cement backer-board, or add more 2x4 studs in the vicinity of the door.

For my external doors, I make a frame out of angle iron that is bolted into the brick of the door opening, and welded in to a single piece. I did this after a successful break in where they managed to gouge out the wooden frame around the deadbolt with a garden stake. I put a tack weld on each bolt to make it difficult to unscrew (a blob of epoxy or jb-weld would work about as well).

For the door frame itself, get an extended striker-plate, the flat metal plate that the dead-bolt goes into, and use nice long screws that go into the studs and not just the door frame. If it is an out-opening door, then get a plate that covers the gap between the door and the frame where the dead-bolt goes through. Home Depot has all this stuff.

You could still batter your way into my house, but not without making a hell of a racket for an extended length of time. That gives me plenty of time to settle into a nice defensive position and train my sights on the entry :)

November 12, 2002, 05:49 AM
Check this out for wall fortifying. (http://www.michaelholigan.com/Departments/TVShow/seg_tscript.asp?ts%5Fid=6021&text%5Ftype=M&text%5Fpage=1&mscssid=91ERMNAW269L8NTSKHMMSXJFFWTJ27C2)

Hard Ball
November 12, 2002, 10:27 AM
I trhink TFL needs a survival weapons and gear forum. :cool:

November 12, 2002, 12:20 PM
For me my daily carry when not in uniform is-

G19 W/spare mag in Blade Tec Rig on Wilderness Instructors Belt
Benchmade AFCK
Woo Neck Knife
Surefire E2EHA
Leatherman Micra w/two feet 550 coiled into fob
Seber Tool
Metal Kubaton with three keys and a handcuff key
Stormsafe Notebook w/ Pilot G2 Gell Pen
Cell phone
All gear carried in/on Royal Robbins 511s