American Partisan: Making the “Lightning”

JC Dodge has an article up at American Partisan about keeping your batteries for various important devices charged up when you can’t just plug in an AC adapter –Making The “Lightning” For Your Force Multipliers.

Making The “Lightning” For Your Force Multipliers
Winter ruckin'16

Charging the large fold up solar unit on top of my pack in the field.

Since the 90’s, I’ve carried a small solar charger for AA batteries in my kit. This was for keeping certain devices I had, like flashlights and PVS-7 NOD’s, operating in the field when there was no chance to get new batteries or charge the rechargeables I had on household 110 system. I started using CR123 batteries in the early 2000’s when I bought an IR laser that used a single 123 battery, and shortly after, I upgraded my weapons light to a two celled, CR123 powered, Surefire.

Solar post07

The DBAL and Surefire light on this M1A Socom both use CR123 batteries

THE PROBLEM

The use of CR123 batteries put a gap in my preps because, at that time, no one was selling 123 rechargeables. Oh well, guess when they’re done, the IR laser and Surefire is done, right? I made sure I bought a lot of CR123’s for storage. Back in 2013 I found CR123 rechargeables that were made by a company called Tenergy, and I’ve been using them ever since. The caveat to using Tenergy 123’s is that their charge is a little higher than a normal CR123’s 3.2 Volts and two together will burn out a standard Surefire bulb immediately upon hitting the switch (ask me how I know…). No problem, I also ordered some programmable bulbs for my lights and I was back in business.

Last year I decided to get with the times and see if I could come up with alternative charging means to recharge not only my AA’s and CR123’s, but also my 9 Volt batteries for my laser range finder and heat (game) detector. My FLIR 24 which has an internal battery and recharges via micro USB also needed a way to get a boost in the field…

Click here to read the rest of the story at American Partisan.

AmPart: Gear for Operating in Cold Weather

Baby, it’s cold outside. But cold and wet or cold and dry, you’ve got to away or at least outside and get some stuff done. JC Dodge at American Partisan discusses options, mostly from military surplus, that can keep your both warm and functional while you are out in the cold – Basic Strategies and Gear for Operating in Cold Weather.

The recent extreme cold weather has made survivalists all over the US realize that whether they’re in a “warm weather” state or not, having the gear and “know how” to operate in extreme cold weather is a necessary reality. I laughed when I got an alert that Tallahassee, FL had 21 deg. Fahrenheit (all temps listed in this port are Fahrenheit) and snow the other day. Why did I laugh? I laughed because I knew a guy in that area years ago who told me he didn’t have to worry about cold weather gear in the area he lived, as they never got real cold weather.

Cold weather has a number of categories that have to be addressed withing their own niche. I usually just go through them as such: “Cold/No Precip,” “Extreme Cold/No Precip,” “Cold/Wet,” “Extreme Cold/Wet.”

Staying warm starts with understanding what takes the warmth away when you are in any of the above environments. This starts with doing what you can to stay dry. Not sweating or staying out of the precipitation is your best bet to accomplishing that. Barring the ability to stay dry, having an out layer that is windproof, relatively waterproof and breathable (and with the ability to vent as much heat as possible) is your best bet. This is used in conjunction with under layers of clothing that either wicks away the moisture (like polypro and fleece) or retains its insulative qualities when wet (like wool)…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

American Partisan: Realistic Redundancy

JC Dodge of Mason Dixon Tactical has a brief article up at American Partisan entitled Realistic Redundancy: Prioritization and Selection about the gear for which you should have a spare.

It was a dark and stormy winter night in Northern Iraq. My patrol had just been ambushed by bad guys, and we had casualties. Guess what “Patrol Leader”, you’ve got to call in the 9-line, ASAP! I hurry up and fill it out with a grease pencil, and start to relay the info to higher via radio. Guess what? While reading off line three, my headlamp died. “WHAT THE HELL DO I DO NOW!” is the first thought, which is immediately replaced with “Wait, I have a clip light in my front gear pocket.” I get it out, clip it to my helmet band, and am able to continue transmitting. Why am I telling you this? I bring up this example to point out why redundancy in certain areas of your gear is CRITICAL, and how you might want to prioritize what should have redundancy.

Nine line

When people in the Civilian Survivalist/LEO/Mil arena think about redundancy, it’s usually tied to the phrase “Two is one, one is none.” There’s a lot to be said for that mindset, but taken to the extreme, it will do nothing but add extra crap (that you don’t need readily available), and probably slow you down in the process, due to the extra weight it adds to your gear. Whether you are a Civilian, LEO, NPT (Neighborhood Protection Team) member, or member of the Military, understanding the need for redundancy in you essential gear, and how to prioritize it is essential to giving yourself the best chance at survival in a non-permissive environment. First we will talk about prioritization of gear that needs redundancy, then we will talk about a method to use when looking for redundant gear options.

How do you prioritize what needs redundancy? Here’s the questions I ask myself to make my decisions. 1) If I lose use of the item while in the middle of using it, could it drastically alter my chances of surviving? 2) Is the item of such importance in my line gear (1st on person, 2nd is load bearing gear, 3rd is your ruck), that not having it alters my chances of success and/or mission accomplishment? “Mission accomplishment” being different things to different people. An example of this for Survivalists would be surviving a life and death situation, whether it is natural or man made. For the LEO or legally armed civilian, it could be an “Active shooter” situation. For an NPT (Neighborhood Protection Team) member, it might be conducting operations in your AO after your area has devolved into TEOTWAWKISTAN, whether those operations are purely defensive, or what I call “Aggressive Defense”. 3) Is the weight of the redundant item that is added to my gear offset (less important than) by the importance of that item?

Let’s discuss them in order,

1) If I lose use of the item while in the middle of using it, could it drastically alter my chances of surviving? As I illustrated in the first paragraph, having that extra light (same type, a hands free design) was critical to mission success, which at that time was callin’ in the status of some of my patrol’s wounded soldiers.

2) Is the item of such importance in my line gear, that not having it alter my chances of success in mission accomplishment? Due to the “priorities of work” being done at the time, It would have been “less than optimal” to pull one of my other soldiers off of their assigned task, just to hold a light for me.

3) Is the weight of the redundant item that is added to my gear offset (less important than) by the importance of that item? In the case of the hands free light HELL YEAH! Those clip lights from a number of vendors are very small, lightweight, and can be tucked almost anywhere for a future need. The only downside is their proprietary type of small watch battery (my normal headlamp uses AA, along with almost all my electronic gear, except for a few 123’s).

Things that I think are good candidates for redundancy…

Read the entire article by clicking here.