Mike Vanderboegh penned this awhile back and it still bears repeating.  If you are not reading dusty old tomes and newer books alike to steep yourself in the soft and hard war that is beckoning, you are setting yourself up for failure.  I have been reading Heinlein since I was a wee lad and can't help but recommend it for young and old alike.  This is the warfare coming to America whether you are prepared or not.  Scroogle or startpage 4GW and you will find countless mountain of information.  In addition to the essay below, I would direct your attention to the bottom for additional reading lists I have posted. -BB Robert Heinlein: Pioneer Thinker in Fourth Generation Warfare (Y)ou can forget all that dreck about 4GW and RMA. They are just Madison Avenue terms designed to extract a few more bucks from the taxpayers' pockets. War has always been about will. Weapons, tactics, strategies are just tools used to affect the enemies will. Of course the ulitmate tool for that is a nuclear weapon. Nothing effects an opponent's will more than killing him. And rumor has it that the long term effects are just as good as the short term ones. I assure you Custer will never again burn any Indian villages. -- Tomanbeg on Strategy Page Military Science Fiction Discussion Board, 26 Sept 2003 "To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting." -Sun Tzu, the Art of...

Publisher's Note: " Skip is one of my best friends and he is our Village Armorer.  He is quite expert in the technical and arcane aspects of building and maintaining the teeth of Liberty.  He compiled this brief but detailed primer on building one of these handy little rifles.   I am an Appleseed Instructor in the state of Arizona (there are two of us now) and we urge those who wish to husband their ammunition with the prices they command now to maintain their skill set with modified .22 rifles to ensure the edge does not dull for the Riflemen standing up across America.  The main platform we use is the Ruger 10/22 and modify it fairly substantially to better replicate the handling and characteristics of a Main Battle Rifle or Carbine much like the purpose built rifles that festooned colonial mantles in the 18th century here in America.  It is an implied task that once you build the rifle, you go out and practice and become proficient.  While the primer below is by no means exhaustive, it will give you a terrific head start. You will notice some tabs above which speak to the Appleseed program.  I would urge you to explore the RWVA and Appleseed pages and sign up for an event near you. -BB Yes...

Publisher's Note: Okay, time for a deep dive into the tactical. The point of departure is this paper by Army Maj. Thomas Ehrhart, Increasing Small Arms Lethality in Afghanistan: Taking Back the Infantry Half-Kilometer (.pdf), written last year at the Command and General Staff College, that says fighting in Afghanistan has exposed the fact that American infantry are poorly equipped and trained for long range firefights. -BB In Afghanistan, the infantryman’s “weapons, doctrine, and marksmanship training do not provide a precise, lethal fire capability to 500 meters and are therefore inappropriate,” Ehrhart says. Unlike on the streets of Iraq, where firefights were few and were typically fought under 300 meters, insurgents in Afghanistan skillfully use the wide open rural and mountainous terrain to stretch the battlefield. The following excerpt sums it up pretty well: “Comments from returning non-commissioned officers and officers reveal that about fifty percent of engagements occur past 300 meters. The enemy tactics are to engage United States forces from high ground with medium and heavy weapons, often including mortars, knowing that we are restricted by our equipment limitations and the inability of our overburdened soldiers to maneuver at elevations exceeding 6000 feet. Current equipment, training, and doctrine are optimized for engagements under 300 meters and on level terrain.” There’s a lot to unpack in this paper, the author gets into the relative merits and disadvantages of the 5.56mm round, reliability of the M4, the rifleman’s standard ACOG site, basic training, adding more marksmen to the squad and even the shortcomings...

Publisher's Note: I have often had a sneaking suspicion that big business is a creature and consort of big government. As Armentano has taught us, monopolies cannot exist absent government intervention to erect legal barriers to competition. It is becoming increasingly evident that this may be truer than I initially suspected. A revolution is brewing in people's homes and garages. The DIY craze that has always been an American preoccupation is coming back with a vengeance in these challenging economic times. I found the following article instructive. -BB The door of a dry-cleaner-size storefront in an industrial park in Wareham, Massachusetts, an hour south of Boston, might not look like a portal to the future of American manufacturing, but it is. This is the headquarters of Local Motors, the first open source car company to reach production. Step inside and the office reveals itself as a mind-blowing example of the power of micro-factories. In June, Local Motors will officially release the Rally Fighter, a $50,000 off-road (but street-legal) racer. The design was crowdsourced, as was the selection of mostly off-the-shelf components, and the final assembly will be done by the customers themselves in local assembly centers as part of a “build experience.” Several more designs are in the pipeline, and the company says it can take a new vehicle from sketch to market in 18 months, about the time it takes Detroit to change the specs on some door trim. Each design is released under a share-friendly Creative Commons license, and customers...

Linda was kind enough to respond to the MZB article two weeks ago in her inimitable and prodigious style. Where she finds the time to pen these insightful ripostes, I don't know. I take minor issue with the readiness condition of "Erma" but Linda provides yet another mountain of food for thought. -BB A great article, even though I think you were over-intellectualizing MNBZ. I saw that first in Lights Out, I think, and supposed it to be meant as an amusing quip of the sort people under stress come up with. I like your presentation better. Yes, the hatred and the anger show more every day, but the ones who are going to be most riled up haven't felt the pinch yet because they are living as they always have on food stamps, their families, and/or the proceeds of crime. At present we're the focus of those who have finally exhausted all sorts of "unemployment compensation," or didn't qualify for it or any other sort of statist largess. Preppers turn away some of the anger by babbling cheerfully about family reunions, office picnics, bake sales, and anything else we can come up with to explain why our carts are full. It is demeaning, annoying, and the better part of wisdom. We have times when we'd like to read the riot act about how we have worked and saved to be able to take care of ourselves and we refuse to feel guilty because...

Publisher's Note: Linda and I are friends and I love her writing. She subliminally channels the connection between slavery and the state; the confluence between abolition and the necessary move toward secession. This is a divorce from evil and tyranny, the very muse which caused me to start the site in the first place. Read and enjoy. -BB Shooters, Ron Holland is the most reading fun I’ve had since discovering C. S. Stirling, and a couple of more articles like the last two may set that mark back to C. Northcote Parkinson. Dear glory, a man who writes elegant prose, has a brilliantly logical mind, and understands the true causes of the War of the Rebellion?! I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he keeps goats, smokes, and had served with the French Foreign Legion or with our guys in Viet Nam as a gunny, making him practically perfect if anything happens to my darling Charles. (I know…odd, the things ladies find attractive…) Ron also introduced a subject I have been itching to discuss here for at least six months, bless him. Strangely enough, given that paean, I’m going to begin by disagreeing with my new candidate for hero. He wrote, “We need to forget the causes of the earlier War Between the States, regional differences, slavery, tariffs and other related issues.” No, no, dear man, we must not forget the causes of the First War of the Rebellion because we are still at odds over precisely the same issues. We still have very strong regional differences and an even larger one of city rats and illegals vs. country mice; slavery now comes in the form of wage and welfare plantation, tariffs are still a big issue (see my modest archived discussion of the nasty jump in the price of tires), and consider that now, as then, the root cause was a corrupt, big money-controlled Congress that had out-run what it could confiscate from the citizens easily. Two ways of solving the problem occurred to the in-crowd back then, the first being to declare that the western border of the US was the Mississippi River permanently and pluck those caged off at their leisure, while the second was to conquer and rape the Southern states which were the wealthy area at that time. No contest. A population-dense industrial nation expected to find the less-populated agrarian portion of the nation far easier pickings than they turned out to be, a mistake Washington continues to make in backwaters ranging from Viet Nam to Afghanistan. Slavery was being phased out as quickly as was feasible primarily because slaves are the most expensive–and least productive–form of labor, and let us not forget that all of the slavers were Yankees, who not only had virtually all the shipping but a great many slaves themselves. Yankees are the ones who came up with a solution to King Cotton’s demand for employees; we didn’t like it, but we had no alternative; everybody down here was already working. Lincoln’s (in)famous “Emancipation Proclamation” didn’t free a single slave in Yankee-held territory and it didn’t free any in the South at the time, either. I am not a fan of the original Illinois politico (or any of his successors), and Lincoln used the slavery issue cynically for emotional effect and spin. READ his opinion of blacks; it is well documented. (Ronald and Donald Kennedy’s The South Was Right is meticulously documented and official correspondence between Lincoln and his generals will turn your stomachs. Their idea, carried out brilliantly in war efforts and “Reconstruction” was to beat the South so far into submission that it would never recover. They were quite successful.) Ah, yesss, the Rothschilds and similar friends have made out well for centuries by funding both sides of wars while Krupps et al. provided munitions to both combatants and both stirred up conflict. That’s why I suggested investing in “defense” stocks in “Juggling Act.”
Publisher's Note: I thought this was exceptionally well crafted by the author. He poses in stark and rather alarming terms the framework the Doomsteaders will face in the comping collapse. We have existed in a society for so long informed by the creed of living on other people's wealth without their consent for so long that any patina of self-determination and pride in self-provision has vanished for all but a few. This will be yet another rumination to put in your already full kit-bag as we prepare for the inevitable calamity known as the fall of these united Sates. -BB MZB! Those three letters are enough to put a healthy dose of doom-enriched fear into any well prepped doomer right? It took me a while just to learn what those letters meant; when I did finally look them up in the acronym appendix of the doomer's bible I was silent. Mutant-Zombie-Bikers? What kind of fantasy freak group was I associating myself with? I just disliked the term because I couldn't get over the strange thoughts being conjured up in my head of a pack of deranged bikers on dirt bikes, old Harley's, quads, you name it with bleeding flesh and hollowed eyes all coming to attack us after a collapse. We would be all snug and happy in our doomsteads and BOLs but these MZBs would seek us out to destroy us. So yeah, I just couldn't deal with the term and didn't care for it much because it was too abstract and unrealistic. As time went on and my doomerish view of the world became more and more into focus I kept revisiting the MZB concept. What if the zombie in them didn't refer to some ghoulish character but rather someone who had lost everything and gained the 100 yard stare? Someone who has lost all sense of purpose but still feels the need to move forward? What if the mutant part referred to the transformation some unprepared over-suburbanized schmuck goes through as they realize everything they had worked for, all their competing with the Jones', all their mass consuming waste was all for naught and now had nowhere to go, nothing to live off of, and no knowledge of how to begin to survive? What if the biker part didn’t represent the biker gangs of today but rather the same misguided victim of suburbia taking their hobby bike with the last bit of gas and hitting the road in search of food for their overweight, weak, and defenseless family to never return? What if a MZB is simply a former misguided suburbia rat who is now discovering what it means to live and is angry at himself, angry at the world, and especially angry at those who are living a more comfortable post-collapse existence because they were prepared? As we move closer to the point where a total societal breakdown occurs one way or another it will become very apparent who is prepared and who isn’t. My head has been filled with fantasies that when the day comes when anarchy dominates over civilized life that those who weren’t prepared would be begging for help, doing anything they could to survive, but for the most part not resorting to violence. I stand corrected. A casual dinner visit with some close friends was my point of awakening to how ugly everything will be. We were having beers and discussing how we keep getting warning article after warning article but nothing ever happens. Something commonly discussed here. We are tired of the warnings; we are tired of prepping for something that will never come; we are starting to not believe that there will be a collapse. At this point the brother of my friends comes in. He had been a former employee of mine during a construction project five years ago. During that there had been a conflict whereas he thought he was owed more for his efforts than we had paid him (bonus pay). Over the years it had seemed this rift had healed. He joined the conversation and then boldly stated, “if there is a day like you guys describe then I’ll just hit the road and take whatever the f*** I want. I’ll finally get to get back all that the rich f***s like you have taken from me! F*** you rich bastards! You guys have only gotten ahead because of the sweat from people like me! The day you describe when payback will finally be here!” We just sat there stunned! I had never considered myself rich. I had started my business with maxing out one credit card, buying used salvage equip and rehabbing it, and sold off all my furniture to buy opening inventory. I worked over 80 hours a week for the first several years while working another full time job. For all of the risk, hard work, and sacrifice for 10 years we make a nice comfortable living; my friends I was visiting had worked equally hard towards becoming a professor. All this time my friends brother was partying, in and out of jail, playing, playing, playing but now as he has nothing and we are comfortable there is an incredible anger and rage within him! Behold the birth of a MZB! I don’t know why but that moment brought together a flood of memories over the past few years of isolated events that I put no thought into. Working in the garden while a pickup truck of loud and obviously drunk guys driving by along the irrigation ditch road, as I looked up they flipped us off yelling obscenities; being threatened by employees that were being fired; being flipped off and cussed at by the low rider crowd (Bienvendos a Nuevo Mexico). All of a sudden what I thought were isolated incidents of angry individuals not to be taken seriously transformed into everything I thought that MZBs could never be. The day is coming when the collapse does occur and that day will represent freedom by all those who have not prepared and those who have not been fortunate to make it. That day will represent the day that they can begin exchanging their anger for all the pieces we prepared ones have carefully put away safe and sound. There will be no begging for help by those angry hordes; we will be the ones begging for mercy as we give up all we worked so hard for and thoughtfully put away. These people who you see now at the bar at 5, those people you see wasting their few dollars on the bread and circus shows like Nascar races, football games, strip clubs, malls; those people that have invested more money into their vehicles than their vehicles are worth with stereos, chromed rims, oversized exhausts, etc.; it is these people that are the ones who we will be fearing. They have been undergoing a professional training in instant gratification and the day of collapse will be the moment when the supermall of mass instant gratification opens its doors: That supermall will the homes of the prepared. Are you ready for that day? I know I’m not. I have plenty of supplies, firearms and ammo, water, fuel, you name it but I am not ready to defend it from masses of the angry hordes staking claims on all we have worked for. The day I saw the rage in my friends face I realized I wasn’t ready. I had considered needing to defend myself from some abstract threat as foreign and vague as the term MutantZombieBiker; I hadn’t considered needing to defend myself from what I bet is 85% of the mass population. What happens when collapse comes and total anarchy let’s go and you are one out of 10 families who is prepared and able to be comfortable. My 6+months of food, water, fuel, ammo will be taken by force and I will only be hoping that my family isn’t brutalized. Take a piece of paper; make a grid of 3 dots by 3 dots. The dot in the center is you; the dots surrounding you are your unprepared neighbors who have always waved hello but who now realize you have what they need and are pissed off that you unfairly sacrificed your wages and effort to be prepared while they partied and played. You will not hold these people off at bay whether you are surrounded by 10 acres or are smack in the middle of suburbia. The only way you stand a chance is to begin converting those surrounding dots into equally prepared families who will stand strong with you. The problem is that each one of those families will have friends or families who will ultimately not have any preps and will come to claim their share and consequently part of your stores.

If you haven't, please review Part 1 of this series. Section I: Basics, Basics, Basics No matter what occurs, you are going to need water, food and shelter. For water and food, you must determine how much per person, per day and how many days of supply should be required. Keeping bottled water on hand is great. Also, have the ability to purify water of unknown provenance- boil, chemicals or filtration. Have a capability to store the water you’ve purified, both in bulk and in ready to carry containers. Food is a little trickier. Once again, you’ll have to determine how much you will need, per person, per day and for how long. I won’t get into ration planning and preparing food for long term storage as others have covered it much better than I can, notably Jim Rawles. A good place to start on nutrition outside of normal refrigerator, freezer and canned fare is NOLS Cookery. This book is a little gem on ration planning, nutrition, staple foods that will keep without refrigeration and recipes (that taste pretty damn good) prepared in one pot on a single burner stove from basic foodstuffs. Shelter can be the toughest basic of all to accurately assess. Is your dwelling hardened against natural and manmade disasters? If not, do you have building materials and tools on hand to repair any critical damage? Or do you anticipate relocating to a planned fallback position? If so, by vehicle or by foot? How does your region’s climate affect your choice in shelter-...

Pivoting off our last post in the series, let's talk today about assessing your required capabilities. Jim Rawles, who puts the style in the preparedness lifestyle, has had many articles that touch on specific capabilities assessments, such as this one and this one. What we'll be talking about today is the general theory and practice of how to assess a given situation and determine, based on conditions, what your required capabilities are. First things first, identify your particular situation. For example, a person living in a rural area will have vastly different needs that someone living in an urban environment, while a suburban person will have different needs than either a rural farmer or an urbanite. I highly recommend including climate, terrain, population density, demographics (population age distribution, etc), unemployment statistics, local fabrication capabilities, water and sewer infrastructure, transportation infrastructure and other pertinent data. Now that you know what your local physical and human terrain looks like, assess the most likely threats and scenarios that could impact you and your area. There are two broad categories, natural (hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes) and human (riots, civil unrest, infrastructure collapse) and that affect and interact with each other. A localized "grid down" scenario driven by a hurricane can influence secondary, human driven scenarios. For each scenario,I recommend analyzing it by comparing "Probability of Occurrence vs Impact if Risk is Incurred". Please see the following graphic for an example of how to do this: For a particular potential event, determine the probability of occurrence, for example, if you live...

Under pressure from Congress, and complaints from those on the pointy end of things, Natick Soldier Systems undertook a study to evaluate current camouflage patterns and the results have just been published. The results may shock a few of you. The stunningly obvious comment, via Soldier Systems,  from a retired SF Warrant: “Nothing earth shattering; desert shit works great in the desert and green shit works great in the green area.” Practically speaking, and this report is sure to generate a lot of lathering in the preparedness and  gun-o-spheres, what does this mean to me? I would suggest the following salient points, from particular to camo to more general in nature: Universal camo is a jack of all trades and master of none. It does "well enough", but it shouldn't be shocking that it doesn't lead the pack for a specific environment. Evaluate where you reside- If you live in a woodland environment, and your retreat, hunting cabin, etc is in a woodland environment, do you really need a universal pattern? Or would a surplus set of woodland BDUs (currently dirt cheap) suffice? Most importantly of all- evaluate potential kit based on your needs and not how well your purchase will go over on the gun boards. We're human, most of us have a "status" need, whether you care to acknowledge it or not. Far too often one eschews practicality and what works for the "latest and greatest". Develop a "needs assessment" and base the assessment on your required capabilities for the conditions you...