This is the seventh installment of the Evacuation Preparedness Kit Series. The first post, on Evac Prep Basics is here, and the second post, which introduces the Evac Prep Master List is here. The third post, and the first post on the list review is here. This post will cover Combat Readiness.
Contrary to the belief of some, being a Prepper is NOT synonymous with being well armed and ready to protect yourself and your preps in a violent situation. However, this article is specifically about being prepared to defend yourself, your family and your preps if it comes down to it.
History shows us that when things go bad we can expect riots, looters, roving gangs of marauders and plenty of random acts of armed violence. We have witnessed this just this week with the riots in Iran that ended in violence. Or we can look at the looting during Hurricane Katrina, rioting and looting during the L.A. Rodney King riots, the French riots (pictured above) and several others.
If you believe that a TEOTWAWKI is rapidly approaching, if you believe in being prepared for economic collapse, civil war, or any other kind of uprising within the United States then you should probably be considering what has happened around the world in the last couple decades when the same kind of collapses happened. There is no logical reason to believe that if things collapse and your neighborhood can’t feed itself that you won’t become a target. History tells us that some will ask but others will try to take.
There are several good survivalist books that envision TEOTWAWKI situations and discuss possibilities of what may happen and show possible outcomes.
Survivalist Author James Wesley Rawles who wrote the novel “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse” about surviving a TEOTWAWKI situation envisioned many scenarios in the screenplay of Patriots called “Pulling Through”. Consider the following scenario from that screenplay (I strongly suggest you read the screenplay and the novel Patriots) This scene occurs as the main characters are trying to escape civil collapse in their cities and get to their Bug Out Location:
JACK MOODY and TIM WONG continue their drive toward Idaho.
We see them take the Highway 97 turnoff from Interstate 5. As the pass through Weed, they see that all of the gas stations have signs spray-painted on 4 x 8-foot plywood panels that read “NO GAS”. The stations are guarded by men with rifles.
The highway is now deserted. Jack is now in the lead.
As Jack rounds a sharp bend, he sees a truck blocking one lane of the road, and a pickup parked alongside it, blocking the other lane. Jack slows down. The truck is loaded with railroad ties. Realization flashes across his face: This could be a road block! By the time he figures this out, his Bronco is within 50 yards of the obstruction.
Jack has no time to call Tim on the CB to warn him. And with trailers on behind their pickups, they cannot easily turn around.
Jack hits the gas and swerves around onto the shoulder, and narrowly misses one of the trucks. Two men dive out of the way. Tim follows Jack’s lead, also accelerating.
As they skirt around the pile, two men armed with traditional long-barreled pump action bird hunting shotguns stand up behind the truck on the right hand side. Tim and Jack instinctively duck down and keep going.
Four blasts come at Tim Wong’s pickup. The first takes out the windshield The second hits the passenger-side window. The third and fourth shots pepper the camper shell–the pellets shatter the back window.
Just down the road, Tim often checks his rear view mirrors, to be sure that the ambushers aren’t following.
Now we’re going to talk about guns and combat readiness.
If considering the things in this post make you uncomfortable and you aren’t interested in learning how to overcome that discomfort, please checkout any other post on Utah Preppers.
If this is new to you and you don’t know much about guns or which type of gun you would want in a certain scenario, please check out this guide for first time gun buyers on GeeksNGuns.com before reading on. We’re not going to cover guns specifically in this post, mostly ammunition and other combat preps.
So what does all this have to do with 72 Hour Kits or Bug Out Bags or Get Out Of Dodge Bags? Remember that in the last post I didn’t show my 72 Hour Kit? That’s because my whole 72 Hour Kit is a little bit different than your normal bag. Here it is:
My 72 Hour Kit is a breakdown solution. The backpack pictured here is technically my 72 Hour kit but it is augmented with my combat vest which functions as a survival vest that I can survive for several days with. My overall system is designed to be able to support me in a combat type situation while getting my family to safety. My pack is loaded with everything I’ll need to be able to set up a camp for my family. However, it is configured to be able to dropped in an emergency to allow ease of movement while surviving off of my Combat Vest.
Here’s the breakdown of my pack:
There are 4 compartments in my pack – a top and bottom compartment and 2 side pockets. In the background of this picture is my pack, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, tent and canvas tarp, medical bag and rations bag.
In the left pocket I keep:
- Sewing kit – taped to prevent breakage and filled with cotton to prevent noise
- Red lens flashlight
- Hand Warmers
- Emergency Blanket
- Combat Survival Knife
In the Right Pocket:
- Quick Access Toilet Paper
- 30 hour candle
- Small Flashlight
In the Main Compartment – Top to bottom:
- Water Bottles
- Pack Lantern
- 10 ea Ramen Noodles
- 10 ea Instant Oatmeal
- Leather work gloves
- Playing Cards
- Hydration bladder
- N95 Masks
- Backpacking stove
- Batteries (D & AA)
- Insect Repellant
- (2nd Row) Cotton Balls soaked in Vaseline
- Towels & Washcloths
- Hand Sanitizer
- Lighter & Matches
- 3 Sporks
- Toilet Paper
- Metal Mug & Bowel
- Contact Case/Saline
- Duct Tape
- Hand Free Talk for FRS radio
- Soap Dish
- Collapsible shovel
- Ice Treads (for boots, winter item)
- Heavy Duty Rain Poncho for backpacking
- Elbow pads
- Knee pads
- Neoprene Gloves
- Jungle hat
My combat vest is put together as a multi-day survival kit. It contains all the tools I need to protect myself and to survive alone for several days.
When fully loaded, my vest can carry 12 magazines for my Battle Rifle, 5 magazines for my sidearm and 12 shells for my shotgun. It also carries my FRS radio and a survival pouch. On the belt I carry a combat/survival knife, my sidearm in a drop holster and a leg magazine carrier. Since I use this regularly to practice and train with, it also has my hearing and eye protection in the black cases on the belt (these would come off in a combat type scenario).
In my survival kit are:
- Altoid tin containing Cotton Balls soaked in Vaseline
- Emergency Blanket
- First Aid Kit
- Hydration Adaptable Straw Filter
- Camouflage Face Paint
Nearly every item that I carry in my EDC kit would be transferred to this vest if I was bugging out.
This is a MOLLE ration bag that is normally attached to my backpack but can be removed and attached to my combat vest as needed.
- 2 Katadyn filtered water bottles
- 6 MRE packets
- 1 Energy Ration (tastes like coconut chalk but keeps you alive)
You’ve likely noticed that all my gear is of the same camouflage pattern – it’s called the ACU Pattern. It’s simply one that I like, there is no particular reason that I chose that pattern other than several of my friends use the same pattern. I do have full body coverage in ACU though this includes camouflage pants, undershirt, overshirt, coat, hats, gloves, and boots. I like having the ability to completely conceal or camouflage myself if I need to, it’s not necessary for everyone to do so though. The rest of my gear matches that pattern so that everything is able to blend together. I keep my camouflage uniforms hung up near my go kit so that everything is ready and available if I need it.
This is really a topic for another post but it should be said here that all of these physical items are useless to me unless I am mentally ready to use them. This means training and a certain mindset. Just owning a gun doesn’t make you capable of shooting it. It is paramount that you get out to the range regularly and shoot several rounds through each of your weapons. This helps keep you familiar with their actions, helps condition you to the sound, feel and smell of gunfire and keeps your mind sharp on how to function your weapons. I strongly recommend getting out at least once a month and putting 20 – 30 rounds through each of the firearms you intend to use.
Mental Preparedness is also about coming to terms with yourself of what you are willing to do to protect your family. It means picturing scenarios in your mind of what you think may happen and working through them – even practicing your reactions so you have trained your mind to respond the way you want it to. Time at the shooting range should not be limited to standing and firing at a fixed target. Put yourself in different positions, even uncomfortable ones, and practice shooting from those positions. Stand, kneel, squat, sit, and lay down and fire. Practice firing and reloading with both hands in case your dominant hand is injured.
For handgun target practice, one of my buddies recently introduced me to Pistol Bowling as a moving target practice. Purchase several bowling pins at a sporting good store (real ones that are solid wood) and set them up down range. Practice shooting at one and when you knock it over, try to hit it again before it comes to a full stop. Work your way through the pins doing the same thing. This will give you good experience in tracking, correcting and quickly aiming your pistol.
If you are inclined to defend yourself, your family and your preps, you need to make sure that you have thought through combat readiness as part of your survival planning. Failure to do so will result in you not being able to defend at all. My setup is what is right for me – yours may be very different. What matters here is deciding what you’re going to do.
In the next post in this series, we’ll be talking about Bug Out Locations and Retreats.