Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday's Thoughts and Other Stuff, on a Saturday (AR-15 Magazines)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
United States Military

Before I begin today's article, I need to remind you: Without magazines, a semi-automatic rifle is a single shot rifle.

So, ... Stock up!

With that said, .. Let us begin.

photograph by
The M-16 rifle has been produced for over fifty years, same for the magazine. At first, the rifle was introduced with a 20-round magazine manufactured from stamped aluminum with a metal follower. A 30-round magazine with a plastic follower was later manufactured to provide higher capacity for the rifle.

Both sizes of magazine are still available from several sources.

But, ...  There were problems with the early magazines' reliability. It seemed the original follower would 'jam' or 'tilt' causing the rifle to malfunction.

These United States military developed a solution. They added a front 'leg' to the follower.

Like any good improvement, more followed.

These United States' military quickly learned that one 'leg' wasn't enough, so they added a second rear leg and improved the spring by making it heavier and more corrosion resistant. Needless to say, you can quickly tell each improvement by looking at the color of the magazine follower.

Black, Green, Tan, and ... Yellow
Originally, I was going to highlight each magazine follower with individual pictures. As you can see, it didn't happen.

So, ...

From left to right, a black magazine follower from an Adventureline magazine purchased around 1985. Center is a green magazine follower from a Parsons Precision Products magazine purchased early 2000s. Right is a yellow Magpul magazine follower purchased around 2012.

As you can see from the picture, I don't have an example of the military's 'new' tan magazine follower because I'm not in the military anymore ; - )

With that gleefully said, ... Here is a picture with different views of the various magazine followers.

As you can see, again, the magazine follower has been improved over the years increasing its reliability for combat.

But, ...What about for you, the prepper?

First, the black magazine followers should be replaced immediately with improved followers.

 Second, magazines with green followers are still serviceable (usable). They should still be used by you and your family.

Lastly, 20 and 30-round magazines with tan military or yellow (now in 'foliage green,' too) aftermarket magazine followers should be purchased in the future.

If you're like me, and bought a lot of magazines when they were inexpensive, you can purchase Magpul followers from several sources. (Brownells) (Midway USA)

Wikipedia - M-16 Rifle: Magazine

PEO Soldier Live - Army’s Improved Magazine Increases Weapons Reliability: “Tan is the Plan” for the New Magazine

Triangle - AR-15 Magazine Followers: Magpul vs. Brownells' USGI Tan

Midway USA - MagPul Enhanced Self Leveling Magazine Follower AR-15 Polymer Package of 3

Not Part of the Narrative
As always, some of the pictures didn't fit the articles.

Three sets of magazines with each color of follower installed in the magazines.

As you can see, the color of the magazine follower is easy to identify while it is still installed in the magazine.

Magazines with magazine spring and magazine follower removed. The magazine floor plate is to the right of each magazine.

Approximately 24 obsolete black magazine followers removed from magazines I purchased in the mid-80s.

They were replaced with yellow Magpul enhanced self-leveling magazine followers that I received as Christ's Mass gifts.

After replacement, these obsolete followers were thrown in the trash because they are less then useless. They are dangerous.

O.K. That's a little hyperbole, but you get the point. Right?

I forgot to mention, yesterday. You might want to stock up on a few extra magazine springs "If" you're planning for a longer-term event.

Say, ... one spare magazine spring per magazine that you own and one magazine floor plate for every five magazines you own.

Almost lastly, if you plan to buy magazine bodies, you might as well buy complete magazines with spare springs and floor plates.

Lastly, if you replace the improved green followers with the 'new' improved enhanced anti-tilt follower, you might want to save the green followers as spares ; - )

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday's Thoughts and Other Stuff (Firearms' Magazines)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class
Joan E. Kretschmer

Magazines for semiautomatic pistols and rifles are fragile, so you and your family will need at least five magazines for a pistol and ten magazines for a semiautomatic rifle.

It would be better to have ten magazines for each of your family's pistols and twenty for each semiautomatic rifle.

At $20 per pistol magazine and at least $10 for an AR-15 rifle magazine, now you know one of the reasons why I suggest a .357 magnum revolver and the SKS rifle in Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead for your family.

With that said.

Parts of a Magazine
There are basically four parts to a magazine.

From top to bottom, the magazine follower, the magazine spring, and the magazine floor plate.

The magazine follower and the magazine spring insert into the magazine body (left) and the magazine floor plate slides onto the bottom of the magazine holding all of the magazine's parts together.

The magazine follower supports the cartridge while the magazine spring provides tension to hold the cartridge in place and push another cartridge 'up.'

The magazine floor plate holds everything in the magazine body.

Simple. Yes?

But, ... Then there is ...

The Law
Depending on where you live will determine the capacity of magazines you may legally purchase and possess. There are serious penalties for failing to comply with these laws.

But, ... You may be able to legally own 'repair parts' for magazines; you can't legally own.

Let me explain.

If you go to Brownells and search for "magazine body" (30 round) (20 round), you can purchase a repair magazine body. The same goes for replacement magazine springs (30 round), repair magazine floor plates (both capacities), and replacement magazine followers (both capacities). These repair and replacement parts would be used to repair your existing magazines, increasing their service life.

Now, let me warn you. If you live in a state that prohibits your freedom to own standard capacity magazines, you can't assembly these repair parts into a magazine, depending on the law. You may even have to store the repair parts in separate containers.

Needless to say, if you go this route, you, your partner, friends, and other family members need to be registered to vote.Talking to others about these repressive laws and the politicians that support them. Making sure you vote on election day.

And, ...

Supporting groups that are challenging these oppressive laws, such as the Second Amendment Foundation.

Lastly, ...
Tomorrow, I have another article about ... Magazines

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday's Thoughts and Other Stuff (Apartment Prepping, Part Three)

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Lewis Hine

Last week, I showed you some of the solutions that I have used to store supplies for an event, in my apartment. I even suggested some ideas from other preppers.

Today, I am going to talk about some issues with apartment prepping.

I Was Wrong
As I said earlier, you and your family can't survive a long-term event in an apartment. There is just too much stuff you need to survive, one, two, or five years.

If, ... it is a rare and extreme event similar to the events in Walking Dead.

Now, ... If we (you and your family) are more realistic and you're planning for an economic collapse, then surviving in an apartment might be doable. You will just have to be realistic.

First, your landlord may increase the rent, so you need an emergency fund. Or, ... Be prepared to move when lease renewal time comes around.

Second, have a quality water filter such as the Berkey or Katadyn. You can save money by buying several replacement filters and improvising a "Home-Made Filter" either brand of filter will work.

Because, cities and towns will have to cut their budget, and one way to do that might be water quality.

Third, have an extensive food supply, using buckets for furniture, that you only used during an emergency such as a labor strike, civil disturbance, or other disruption. Your family also needs to start your own garden and make contact with other folks that produce food.

Why? Folks need food and food will be scarce or the money to buy food will be scarce.

Fourth, have an extra supply of needed medication like blood pressure, blood thinner, and insulin. This 'extra' medication is used just like your stored food, only during an emergency.

Fifth, you guessed it. Have a handgun, holster, and some speed strips or speed loaders. Don't forget the ammo, semi-jacketed hollow points.

For you folks with pistols, you need extra magazines, too

I could go on listing the needed supplies, but that's the reason why you bought the e-book Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead ; - )     (Smashwords) (Barnes and Nobles), so you and your family could make informed decisions about your preps.

Lastly, during an economic event, especially living in an apartment, you and your family are going to adapt the strategy of always maintaining enough money, water, food, medicine, and other items, so when the event happens, you have a full pantry.

Real quick, let me explain.

Say you have decided to store 150 pounds of various dried beans and 500 pounds of long grain white rice in plastic buckets. This stored food is never eaten. Your family always eats what is available from the local market or grocery store. This stored food is only used when no other food is available giving you and your family the maximum amount of food for the event.

I made a Mistake
You don't hear this from many folks writing about prepping, but I made a mistake. I didn't mention storing items 'offsite' in storage lockers. These lockers are used by most families to hold excess furniture, clothing, and ... broken, worn out, wasting money paying storage fees, junk.

Needless to say, you can use this to your advantage by piling useless, worn out stuff in front of your extra blankets, extra clothing, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene supplies, and ... long-term food storage (If it's a climate controlled facility)

Remember, the landlords creed: If you can't drive by the rental property every day, don't buy it. 'Cause, the tenants will trash the place and skip out on the rent.

Or, ... In this case, someone may steal your stuff.

Next Up
You need a place to run to, preferably a place with more land, so you can plant a garden, have a wood stove (heating and cooking), and other things you can't have in your apartment.

This place doesn't need to be owned by your family. It could be owned by a friend or a group of families, such as a club. It could be something similar to Great Britain's allotments or Russia's dachas, allowing you and your family the ability to grow some of your family's food.

Another idea, you and your family could 'double up' or 'triple up' by moving in with your brother-in-law, mom and dad, or close friend. Yes, it would be difficult, but you're trying to survive.

It's Been Done
Many families have and are currently surviving living in an apartment..

So, ... Don't feel like you and your family have to own a rural retreat.

Lastly, ...
I have to go, so come back for more suggestion on how to survive the coming tough times.

Oh, ... purchase a copy of Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead (Smashwords) (Barnes and Nobles)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday's Thoughts and Other Stuff (Apartment Prepping, Part Two)

13 February 2015 (Apartment Prepping, Part Two)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photgraph by

Last week, I talked about approximately ten general areas; you and your family need to think about for apartment prepping and some of my solutions. Today, I'm going to discuss storing all of that stuff.

One of the first places, you may think about using for storing your family's supplies, are your family's closets. It's a good idea; however, you need be 'practical.'

First, don't go crazy, filling the closet. Remember, your family needs space for their clothes.

Second, place the supplies in boxes then label the boxes. This will allow your family to stack and track the supplies.

Of course, boxes of heavy canned food go on the bottom with lightweight and easily damaged items go on top.

Third, have a plan to rotate the items that will go 'bad,' such as canned food, bottled water, and triple antibiotic cream because, most of the time, these items are going to have a shelf life of a couple of years.

Yes, the can of food might say 'Expires by 8/2015' but we know that most food will last one or two years, beyond that date, if the can is kept in good shape. Yes, the water may taste 'flat.' But, ... if the bottled water is protected from sunlight and strong odors (bet you didn't know that ; - ), it will be good to drink (to get rid of the 'flat' taste, open the bottle, let a little air in, close the top and "Shake It, Shake it like a Polaroid Picture." ; - )

But, ... Tetracycline (Expired tetracycline can cause a dangerous syndrome resulting in damage to the kidneys) and other medical items will need to be disposed of after the expiration date.. Of course, you and your family will need to do some research.

Under the Bed
Depending on your resources, will determine how much space you and your family have under your beds. Let me explain.

I made a bed frame for the apartment. I built it using 2X12 and some plywood. This would allow a large quantity of boxes to be stored under the bed.

Of course, I added a 'secret' compartment to hold some money and guns; however, the secret compartment limits how much supplies I can store under the bed : - (

For folks that don't want to go through the hassle of building a bed (with a secret compartment) you can use a regular metal bed frame with short plastic boxes placed under the bed. Katniss and I do that at home for extra shoes, bedding, and other stuff.

You can find these plastic boxes at the local China-Mart. Just make sure to measure under the bed first. We ended up making two trips, one for the initial purchase and the second to return the first set of boxes and purchase another, different, set.

Of course, I'm trying to do this a cheaply as possible, so I have re-purposed some appropriately sized cardboard boxes. These boxes hold excess beauty items, like bodywash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, dental floss, and what ever your family uses.

I also made two boxes out of excess plywood from the bed frame build. These wooden boxes hold candles (heat and light) and some sentimental items. (love notes from Katniss ; - )

Around the Apartment
Of course, there are other areas in the apartment to store your family's supplies. One of these is under tables.

When I moved into town, I sought out the local charity stores. I knew, if I waited long enough, I would find all kinds of useful stuff. Two of these items were matching side tables.

The side tables (end tables) allow me to store supplies, in plastic boxes. The plastic boxes can hold all types of supplies for your family, bulk food in mylar bags, medical supplies, or winter clothes when cold weather is over.

Speaking of winter.

Another method of storing supplies around the house is to use storage containers as furniture. I use this method to store winter blankets during warmer weather.

I do this by using a metal box, about the size of a coffee table. This metal box is covered by a floral pattern curtain used as a table cloth. It acts as camouflage, to hide the green box.

I am thinking about repainting to look like a wooden trunk. I'll see.

Add Storage Space
Another method is to add storage space.

An example is this picture of some shelves; someone else added to a closet. The shelves allow us to organize miscellaneous stuff. I would suggest, if you have the money, to place smaller items in baskets. Placing them in baskets helps to organize the items and increases the amount of stuff you can store on the shelves.

Another method is using existing storage spaces.

Usually, the 'nicer' apartments will have these storage lockers, in the the form of cages, in the basements or garages. If your family's apartment doesn't have these, you might be able to talk to the landlady about using part of the garage or basement.

Either way, try to be organized.

Oooh, ... Remember, OPSEC, OPSEC, and OPSEC

What Others Have Done
Now, some of y'all are going to try and prepare for a medium or longer term event, despite my warnings, and that's o.k.. You're thinking for yourself and that's good ; - )

Under the Bed
Some other folks have suggested using 5-gallon plastic buckets as the base for a bed. Add a properly sized sheet of plywood (to cover and protect the buckets) with a bed skirt to hide the buckets, and place the mattress on top of the plywood. Voilà, you and your family have enough storage space for about thirty buckets, under a queen sized bed. That is 750 to 1.050 pounds of food.

Be warned, check with your landlord because the apartment's floor may not be designed to hold all that weight in one place.

As Furniture
Some folks have suggested doing something like the metal box but using plastic buckets as furniture. Your family would take two or three buckets, stack them on top of each other, place a round or square piece of plywood on top the bucket, then cover with a large cloth. The cover should just barely touch the ground.

This stack would act as a corner table holding a decorative vase or other item, maybe a weather alert radio ; - )

Another, as furniture, method is using similarly sized and stacked boxes, covered with a table cloth. Just like the buckets. This 'table' could be used as a coffee table, side table, or as a table behind the couch (between the wall and couch). All you would need to do is add a piece of appropriately sized plywood to cover the top of the boxes to safely place items on the stacked boxes.

Furniture as Storage

photograph by
Lastly, I was looking for a picture, and I found this.

Needless to say, you and your partner need to talk about the style of these storage solutions, the compromises you're willing to make, and other family issues.

P.S. You may need to go to the link to see the items, under the kitchen table.

Lastly, ...
That's it. If you would like to know more about preparing for a wide range of potential disasters, you will be interested in purchasing a copy of Prepper: Surviving the Tough Times Ahead