Warning- Climbing is dangerous and should only be undertaken with the proper equipment and under experienced instruction. The post below is for informational purposes only. What is Class 4 Terrain?   Class 1 Easy hiking - usually on a good trail.   Class 2 More difficult hiking that may be off-trail.  You may also have to put your hands down occasionally to keep your balance.  May include easy snow climbs or hiking on talus/scree.   Class 3 Scrambling or un-roped climbing.  You must use your hands most of the time to hold the terrain or find your route.  This may be caused by a combination of steepness and extreme terrain (large rocks or steep snow).  Some Class 3 routes are better done with rope.   Class 4 Climbing.  Rope is often used on Class 4 routes because falls can be fatal.  The terrain is often steep and dangerous.  Some routes can be done without rope because the terrain is stable.   Class 5 Technical climbing.  The climbing involves the use of rope and belaying.  Rock climbing is Class 5.  Note:  In the 1950s, the Class 5 portion of this ranking system was expanded to include a decimal at the end of the ranking to further define the difficulties of rock climbing.  This is called the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS).  The decimal notations range from 5.1 (easiest) to 5.14 (most difficult).  Recently, the rankings of 5.10 through 5.14 were expanded to include an "a", "b", "c" or "d" after the decimal (Example: 5.12a) to provide further details of the ranking.   Knowledge- Read the following books in this order- Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (the seminal text on...

  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...

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...

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 of the...

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 are encouraged...

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...

The internet is a wonderful tool but too many people noodle on it for hours and accomplish less than zero.  Here is the beginning of what I hope to be a long and exhaustive list of practicl sites on the web to get us better prepared for Ragnarok.  (Thanks to Gooch and Junker over at The Mental Militia). -BB So ...

Publisher’s Note: Attribution: I am indebted to my good friend Skip who has guided me through a FAL kit build and has patiently answered my numerous questions along the way. This article is as much his as mine. -BB I would like to begin with stating that accurizing is in quotes. The FAL, unlike its contemporary, the M-14, was developed from a different philosophy regarding the inherent accuracy of the MBR. Whereas the M-14 is a “product improved” version of the M-1 Garand, the FAL was developed with the intent of putting an MBR in the hands of a European conscript with little to no prior shooting experience. In contrast, the M-14 and its predecessor the M-1 were built with the somewhat unique American tradition of highly accurate battle rifles. To back up this claim, please refer to the 1912 edition of the USMC marksmanship manual where a 600 yard shot is considered “medium range”. It is more than likely that a stock, as issued, M-14 will outshoot a stock, as issued, FAL every time. It is also worth noting that “accuracy” as a concept is a completely human construct and not an objective standard, and the gulf between measuring groups punched out on a paper target and using a rifle in a high stress environment where the targets are shooting back is a wide one indeed. The FAL was designed to be “minute of a man” at 500 meters and that should be enough for practical applications. That being said, there...