It's that time of year again. As this issue of SHOTGUN NEWS is headed to the newsstand, so is the Fall issue of our sister publication Be Ready!. As always, you can expect it to be chock-full of useful, relevant, detailed yet interesting information to help you prepare for sudden and unexpected emergencies and dangers.
I believe that's what sets Be Ready! apart from other titles: the depth of the information provided. It's unfortunate, but leafing through magazines on the newsstand today you'll find many with beautiful pictures printed on handsome paper ... and well not much else. Simply put, they lack substance.
That bugs me. So when I had the opportunity to edit Be Ready! I vowed it would be information heavy. This issue is no exception. Actually we continually strive to make each issue better than the last.
Perhaps you have never seen a copy and are unfamiliar with our sister title, Be Ready! Let me take a moment to tell you a bit about it. As its name suggests, it's intended to provide hard information to help prepare you and your family for realistic situations you may encounter. These may include natural disasters, acts of terrorism, power outages, violent crime and many other situations that threaten you and your family both physically and mentally.
However it is not filled with zombie fantasies or other far-fetched nonsense. Life can bring enough trouble without delving into fantasy. Instead we cover a host of practical and realistic topics. These are scenarios you might actually have to face.
What can you expect to find leafing through the pages of our Hall issue? Good question. To answer that, I've decided to give you a little sneak peek at what you'll find on the cover and inside. So follow along as we delve inside issue No. 5 of SHOTGUN NEWS' Be Ready!
Our cover photo was taken by Lukas Lamb and the corresponding article was written by John Peterson. His article is part one of a series on carjacking countermeasures. Peterson is a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier now serving as a contract instructor, government contractor and security specialist.
He is a combat veteran of the Global War on Terrorism and has worked as a firearms & tactics instructor for the Smith & Wesson Academy, SIG SAUER Academy, and the federal government. A talented instructor, he has spent a great deal of time studying carjackings and developing practical and effective countermeasures to them.
I thought this topic would be very relevant, as the vast majority of Americans travel by, and spend a great deal of time in their vehicles. Most look upon the car or truck as a safe place in which they should be secure, almost like the home. Unfortunately this can lead to a lax attitude which may cost you dearly.
Peterson writes, "It's technically far easier for a car thief to take the car when its driver is right there with the keys. Increasingly difficult-to-defeat car alarms and locking systems make it more likely that your car will be stolen in person, by one or more carjackers, than by any other means. Over 90% of the time, the driver is alone. Nearly two thirds of the time, it occurs within a few miles of one's home ... Carjackers do it because they are either after a particular high demand vehicle model, they need a car to escape from law enforcement, to commit a crime with, they are after money (via your ATM card), they are a rapist, and/or you are their mark for a combination of the above. Many a carjacking victim has been found murdered bound and gagged in some shallow grave or in their trunk. Carjackings have become a veritable 'growth industry' worldwide, becoming increasingly violent and sophisticated. Plus keep in mind, during a natural disaster or insurrection (Baltimore or Ferguson for example) there is a greatly increased chance that someone might try to take your car (and maybe you) as things get desperate.
Though the statistics on carjackings are not reliable, it is sobering to know that in the majority of attempts, the carjacker is successful and in the overwhelming majority of attempts, they are armed with some type of weapon. Nearly half of the time, it is with a firearm. Many of these times, there are multiple assailants ... But, in the majority of cases where the drivers were armed, they were successful in defeating the carjacker.
Why many a person has become a victim of a carjacking can be narrowed down to complacency and lack of situational awareness. This series is intended to change that. Some of this information came from a multi-year project of instructors from two highly reputable shooting schools who in 1997 formed an experimental 'Carjacking Countermeasures[TM] Working Group' whose goal was to find out what worked and what didn't in defeating carjacking attempts." Peterson covers prevention mindset, preventative actions, responses to carjacking attempts, fighting with the vehicle, going to guns, fighting around vehicles and much more. This is a very well written piece penned by a subject matter expert who has invested a great deal of time into this topic.
Speaking of subject matter experts, at the top of the cover you'll see Kyle Lamb's name. I was very lucky to be approached by Lamb, who liked what we are doing with the magazine and offered to write for us. If you are unfamiliar with him, Sgt. Maj. Kyle Lamb (Ret.) is a veteran of U.S. Army Special Operations with over 15 years with a Special Mission Unit. He has also written Green Eyes and Black Rifles, Stay in the Fight!!, and Leadership in the Shadows. He is the president and founder of Viking Tactics, Inc. and a highly sought-after shooting and tactics instructor. Plus, like Peterson, he is a heck of a nice guy who is dedicated to helping people.
For this issue he shows step-by-step how he gets rigged for a fight when traveling in a vehicle. This includes where he carries his pistol and why he carries in this manner. Then he goes over step-by-step his method for ensuring his pistol remains concealed yet is instantly accessible while wearing his seat belt. Next he covers how he performs his draw while sitting in a vehicle with the seat belt strapped in place. It's excellent information which may make you go, "Hmmm" and re-evaluate how you carry your concealed pistol.
Nicely complementing these articles is a piece by Tatiana Whitlock. I first met Whitlock at an industry event and was immediately impressed by her. She's intelligent, articulate and very focused. A small business owner with a number of patents to her credit, she comes across as someone who takes the protection of her family and herself very seriously.
The more I spoke with her, the more I knew there had to be a Genesis moment in her life. She was gracious enough to share why she takes self-defense training so seriously. And make no mistake, she does take it seriously. The end result is not just a great read for your spouse and daughter, but for your son and yourself.
Speaking of spouses, Be Ready! is intended for the whole family. In previous issues, we've covered children and pet issues. Plus in each issue we cover topics of interest to our female readers. In this one, Peggy Robinson takes a look at situation awareness. At first glance, Robinson appears to be just a mild mannered mother and housewife. But there's much more to her and her writing really reflects that. Here she covers why situation awareness is so important and goes over how to be aware of your surroundings and what's happening around you.
It is an especially valid piece in an age where most, including many who should know better, mindlessly go about with their noses stuffed in a cellphone. Remember, being aware of your surroundings is your first line of defense.
While this issue has a lot of excellent information on self-protection, we cover a lot more than just that. For example we finish up Alfredo Rico's series on the usefulness of a mountain bike as a bug-out vehicle. Being mobile is important. In certain situations, though, especially in a city, roads can quickly become unpassable in an emergency due to traffic.
If you are faced with the option of walking to safety carrying your supplies on your back or riding a bike, which is the better option? To find out, Rico packs 45 pounds of gear onto his bike and puts it, and himself, to the test. He uses the common US Army standard for carrying 45 pounds for a 12-mile ruck march that must be completed in less than three hours. The goal is to see just how viable a properly rigged mountain bike might be compared to traveling on foot. The results of Rico's test may make you consider acquiring a mountain bike in case you are ever facing a long walk.
How-to articles are a big part of Be Ready! We strive to bring you interesting and useful projects you can build yourself. In this issue, we finish up Ben Winslett's series on building an Emergency Communications (EMCOMM) box. This is a self-contained emergency radio system built inside a robust waterproof container.
He not only completes the assembly of the radio box, but he covers building a suitable antenna. Then he finishes up with putting together a support kit with everything you might need to keep your short wave radio up and running. This has been a great two-part series for anyone interested in emergency communications.
Winslett's EMCOMM box build isn't our only how-to article though. Richard Venola tackles the problem of overpriced ice coolers by building one from scratch. Sure we'd all like to have a Yeti or two kicking around, but their jaw-dropping price is a turn-off to many. In an easy to follow photo-essay Venola shows you how he built a useful and effective ice cooler from scrap.
Venola has trekked all over the world, including Afghanistan and Africa, in search of adventure. He is well versed in making do with only what's available. The end result not only looks great but also performs surprisingly well when compared to a factory ice cooler.
Richard Seaton is a lawyer from the great state of Kansas who specializes in firearm matters such as NFA Firearms Trusts. For this issue he tackles what you need to know about creating an NFA Trust, also known variously as a National Firearms Act Trust, a Gun Trust, a Firearms Trust or an NFA Firearms Trust.
If you have always wanted to own a machine gun, short barreled rifle, short barreled shotgun, silencer (suppressors) or an AOW (Any Other Weapon) you will want to read this article. Seaton goes through the ins and outs of an NFA Trust and what one entails and points out why you might want one.
Common reasons include not needing the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of your jurisdiction to give you approval in advance and no requirement that you provide fingerprints or photos when NFA items are transferred to a Trust. Another advantage of the NFA Trust is that more than one person can have access to and the ability to use and possess the items owned by the trust. But there's much more to a Trust than this and Seaton does an excellent job of shedding light on this subject from the perspective of a lawyer.
During Part 1 of Rico's Bug-Out Bike article, we did a great deal of research into the military use of the bicycle dating back to the 19th century. During our study we were impressed by how the Viet Minh, Viet Cong and NVA were able to transport huge quantities of supplies over vast distances using modified bicycles.
Vietnamese sources claim loads of over 400 pounds were moved using modified French and Czech bikes. Now understand, these were heavily loaded and pushed rather than ridden. Basically, since bikes were readily available they used what they had on hand and modified them. These were then pushed down narrow foot paths.
The amount of supplies hauled in this manner was staggering and they played a key role in the siege of Dien Bien Phu. Intrigued by the concept, Doug Streeton took a broken bike, suitably modified it and put it to work. Loads of 300 pounds were hauled on two examples and the results were a bit surprising. His article will come in handy if you ever need a simple solution to moving a heavy load by hand.
Speaking of moving a heavy load, Don Grover looks at winch accessories in this issue. There are certain items that will make vehicle, recovery easier. One of these is a winch. However to get the most out of it, you'll need the proper accessories. So Grover covers snatch blocks, recovery straps, D-ring shackles, manual winches and how to use them all safely.
Grover worked in the Maine woods professionally as a lumberjack and he knows a thing or two about properly and safely retrieving mired vehicles. His article is chock full of good info in a well written and easy to read style.
Todd Jaderborg is always testing new gear, and for this issue he takes a look at some interesting eating utensils. These include ultra-light titanium sporks, chopsticks and cutlery sets. As usual he puts everything to the test and provides his thoughts on what works well and what doesn't.
Jim Benson is back in this issue. Those of you who have been around a bit will remember Benson as the Editor of American Survival Guide. Many moons ago he helped me get my start writing before I made SHOTGUN NEWS my home.
In this issue, he looks at mass shootings perpetrated by mentally ill people. Benson delves into how these people slip through the cracks and what you can do so you don't become a victim.
No matter what you do, bad things happen. In certain situations you might be forced to be the first responder to someone badly injured. What do you do if there's no other help available? Bryce Towsley headed off to a SOLO Wilderness Medical Course to see what type of medical training is readily available to anyone interested. The course he attended was taught by Dr. John Kascenska and his review provides an excellent insight into what is taught. A course like this is definitely something to consider and there is much to choose from if you know where to look,
I talked Richard Venola into sharing some more of his wisdom by doing a second article for this issue. In it he throws some ideas for Life Hacks at you. This includes step-by-step instructions on how to make a surprisingly effective knife from scrap pallet banding and some electrical tape. This could come in very handy if you ever found yourself in need of a knife.
I will admit to being more than a little surprised at just how nice of an improvised blade you can make from simple steel banding material. Another project for you to learn and stick back in the recesses of the hard drive until needed. This one, like most of our How-To projects is also a good one to do with your kids. Get them away from the TV, computer and cellphone for a bit and out working with their hands. Mentor them and teach so they'll be ready when they get older.
Our next issue of Be Ready! hits the newsstands August 26. If can't find one at retailers like Barnes & Noble or Walmart, you can purchase it online at www. shotgunnews.com by clicking "store." If you missed any previous issues, you can also purchase back issues online as well.