Shotgun Combat Reloading: Should You Practice and What Exactly is It?

Shotgun Combat Reloading

This article is focused on combat reloading a pump action or even a semi-automatic shotgun. As is in all cases it is up to the shooter to decide based on their comfort level and other considerations.

A shotgun combat reloading is sometimes called a tactical reload. However, some consider a combat reload as a top off while a tactical reload is reloading when your weapon has been fired empty. In years past the military, and most law enforcement agencies trained shooters to fire dry and then reload under cover or do a tactical reload while still maintaining target discipline.

In some cases, a tactical reload means discarding a partially full magazine for a full one to ensure the firearm is always fully loaded. One hand is ejecting the partially loaded magazine while the other reaches for a full magazine then slaps it into place. The muzzle is always pointed at the target during this process

A combat reload when it comes to shotguns usually means to load a shell as one is fired to maintain full capacity. This takes a conscious effort until it becomes a habit and once it does, you will find your hands are moving to perform the task even when your mind and eyes are engaged on the target, here is one example below.

Reloading under cover requires more moves on the part of the shooter and this can cause the shooter to lose sight of the target. However, dropping to one knee, with the muzzle down range while taking fire is unnerving to say the least, but if you have the proper training, you can reload by feel while still maintaining sights on target.

Today shooters are trained to top off and many call this a “combat reload”, fire one, reload one, fire two reload two and do all this by feel while maintaining a “sight on target position”. Pulling the weapon up to reload means you have to reposition when ready to fire, so it is important you can reload by feel only.

You always want your firearm to be at the ready to fire position at all times and an empty firearm is not ready obviously. A shotgun can only hold a few rounds, so in some instances you will have to reload in the middle of the action.

Typically, your shotgun fully loaded would get the job done, but multiple intruders may mean you have to reload to neutralize the threat. Even if all aggressors are down you still need to reload while maintaining eyes on the target (s).

Receiver mounted shell carriers are ideal for combat reloading, and some carriers allow you to carry shells with base up or base down depending on your personal preferences. If you are just starting to practice combat reloading, then try various methods of carrying your shells to find out which ways feels best for you. Some find it difficult to get used to receiver mounted shell carriers, while others do not like stock mounted shell carriers.

Keep in mind you may have to reach for shells carried in a pouch around your waist, so become familiar with all methods of carrying extra shells. Always keeping your receiver or stock mounted carrier fully loaded means you have shells available whenever you pick up your shotgun however. You may not have time to secure a pouch around your waist when you hear the front door crash in.

Use your hand as a cage so when you “pop” a shell from the carrier it is held securely in the palm of your hand. This position allows you to “slap” the shell in essentially. It will take practice to make sure you always have the shell positioned correctly in your hand for loading.

Knowing your shotgun is important, so before trying a combat reload make sure you are proficient with your firearm and always practice with training dummy rounds on an approved firing range set up for combat drills. You cannot become proficient without practice. Those that fail to practice will fire their weapons dry and then fumble for shells to reload. Seconds matter and not being able to reload quickly means you lose.

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Water Can and Will Kill You Once the SHTF

Dripping Water

Water that has become contaminated by human waste and by other means can create over time as many deaths as the crisis itself.

First, let us start out with a few facts. The following facts are gathered from around the world.

  • Roughly, 783 million people do not have access to safe water on a daily basis, which is more than 2.5 times the population of the United States
  • Approximately, 3.5 million people die each year because of a limited water supply, and from contaminated water, there are numerous deadly diseases present in untreated water
  • Eighty percent of the sewage discharged in developing countries is discharged, without being treated, directly into water bodies, the same bodies of water that people draw their daily water supply from (Water.org, 2014)

Imagine if water treatment plants went off line today and your faucets only delivered air. What happens when the sewage systems in urban areas stop working, and your toilets do not flush?

How long before people start getting sick from contaminated water, because human waste will not stop flowing. Human waste will make its way into the local surface water sources, sources that can no longer be treated on a large scale.

Disease such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid will be present in many surface water sources in a matter of weeks after the infrastructure collapses, because of human waste contamination. Once a person gets a disease from contaminated water, they can spread that disease to others in their family and community.

The figures listed above would increase dramatically if the United States and other developed countries lost their ability to supply the populace with clean drinking water for an extended period. People would be forced to consume contaminated water, and they would die from it.

Now That You Know What You Likely Already Knew What Do You Do

Knowing is one thing, and being able to do anything about it is another. Water stockpiles are essential, but stockpiles do not magically reproduce themselves. If the crisis is an extended one, you must have the ability to treat a contaminated water source. Keep in mind you will use more water than you had calculated, so your stockpile will dwindle faster that you had previously thought. 

You should not rely on just one method of purifying a water source. You need methods that can be used at home and along the trail, should you have to evacuate.

Water Filtration Devices

The ones on the market today have remarkable capabilities. However, filters are not perfect, so they are just one of several methods that should be incorporated. In some cases, you can replace the filter in the device when it has exceeded the number of gallons for which it is rated. Some filtering devices have a stated number of gallons they will filter, and when you reach that number you simply throw the device away.

It is important that you have a stockpile of filters for all devices that allow a change out, and track the number of gallons filtered when using all devices. Most are rated beyond what is stated by the manufacturer, so there is a margin of error, but in a life or death situation you cannot guess, you have to know it is still working.

Household Bleach

The water must be filtered first before purification. Filter using coffee filters, cheesecloth, charcoal, sand, cloth or gravel. Ideally, you would layer multiple filtering mediums in a device for best results.

Sodium Hypochlorite (bleach) has been used for decades to purify your tap water and common household bleach that contains sodium hypochlorite as its active ingredient is ideal for water purification. The bleach used should contain 5.25 to 6 percent of the active ingredient and not have any additives. The ratio is eight drops per gallon, and a wait time of 30 minutes is required before drinking. You can add up to 16 drops per gallon if the water is cloudy. The smell of chlorine should be slight when you open the container after mixing and letting it sit for 30 minutes.

Iodine

Filter the water first.

Two percent liquid tincture of iodine can be used, but there are health risks to certain individuals. Anyone with known or suspected thyroid problems should check with their health professional as well as anyone pregnant, nursing or with other health conditions before consuming iodine treated water.

Regardless of your health, you should only consume iodine treated water for a maximum of 14 days at a time. The ratio is five (5) drops per liter/quart of water if the water is clear and it is not cold, (below 50° F). You can add up to 10 drops per liter/quart if the water is cloudy even after filtering or if it is below 50 degrees.

Boiling

Filter First

Fire has been used for thousands of years and there is no reason why you should not be able to ignite a fire regardless of the situation. Given all of the tools and materials available on the market, you should always have the means of starting a fire in any environment. Boiling is the preferred method of water purification. All you need is filtering materials, and a suitable container in which to boil the water. Filter your water before boiling even if it is just through a bandana.

Purification Tablets

You can purchase iodine or chlorine based purification tablets and the directions may vary by manufacturer and by active ingredient. The tablets will have an expiration date, so make sure they are up to date before use. Filter any water source before adding any purification tablets.

Considerations

You may think you are dying of starvation after three days, but you are not likely to be dying from lack of food. However, if you are not being properly hydrated or if you drink contaminated water, you can die within three days.

You cannot filter out poisons or chemical toxins. Boiling and chemical treatments will not remove chemical toxins or poisons from a water source.

Everything it seems is a priority when it comes to survival but not having a clean water source once the SHTF means you will not live long, this is simply the facts. You need a foolproof plan in place to make sure you have a reliable way to purify a contaminated water source before something happens.

Water.org. (2014). Retrieved 2014, from http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/

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20 Bug Out Location Considerations

Bug Out Location

Photo Credit: TinHatRanch.com

A dream for some, a reality for others, owning a bug out location is on every prepper’s list. When the prepper twinkle first lights in your eye you begin to access the situation, for most, statistically speaking, we live in the cities or suburbs. These might not be ideal locations in which to find yourself during a grid down scenario. As we learn about being prepared, put together our first 72 hour kits and bug out bags, our plans begin to turn more long term. We start to think about a safe place for our families during crisis and that eventually leads us to the “Bug Out Location”.

Bug out locations can range from a fully stocked rural fortification to just a piece of land. Taking things one step farther, the mind begins to postulate that the bug out location can someday be a homestead, off the grid and self-sufficient. The problem is, even with careful forethought, costly mistakes can be made when choosing the location. One simple mistake, such as purchasing land in a 500 year flood plain, can lead to disaster if the 500 year flood occurs post apocalypse. There are many considerations in purchasing a bug out location, here are 20 to think about:

Read more at… 20 Bug Out Location Considerations

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Pepper Spray

Pepper Spray Does It Work and Do Preppers Need It

Pepper spray is also known as “oleoresin capsicum” or OC. The spray is made from the same chemical that naturally occurs in chili peppers. Capsicum makes them hot, and anyone that has rubbed their eyes or nose after handling hot peppers knows what the chemical can do to mucus membranes and even to skin.

Pepper spray has a higher concentration of the chemical, so imagine the effect at more concentrated levels. Its effects include temporary blindness, coughing and skin irritation. Typically, the chemical is combined with glycol and water, and some type of propellant.

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Night Navigation SHTF

Navigating Effectively and Quietly In the Dark When the SHTF

When the lights go out the looters and other criminals come out to play. Daylight is reserved for resting up after a night of pillaging and plundering. This means that once the SHTF the darkness becomes dangerous.

You may have to navigate at night, and at the same time avoid those that would do you harm, such as marauders or looters. You may also have to avoid groups that have targeted you or your Prepper group specifically, so you will have to be able to move silently and effectively through the darkness.

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Sugar for Wounds

Sugar for Wounds: Do You Have It in Your First Aid Kit?

Sugar for Treating Wounds

The following is for informational purposes only. The information provided is not medical advice, and should not be considered as such. Any wound, cut or abrasion has the potential of becoming infected if not treated promptly and effectively. Certain wounds that become infected can be serious leading to loss of limb and possibly loss of life.

For over 4,000 years, medical practitioners have known about the wound healing properties of sugar. Now in Europe and in the U.K. in particular doctors, nurses and others directly responsible for the treatment of wounds and burns are bringing back this 4,000-year-old treatment.

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Game Fish Diseases

How to Recognize 9 Common Game Fish Diseases

The grid’s been down for months and you have resorted to fishing to feed your family. Unfortunately for you, the fishing has been bad. You finally pull one out of the water and it has a strange cauliflower like growth.

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Turkey Frying Safety Tips

Turkey Frying Safety Tips: Stay Safe This Thanksgiving

Just in case you have forgotten, the following is a reminder. Every year deaths are attributed to turkey frying, but injury and death can be prevented with some common sense and attention to detail and by knowing the facts.

In the days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving there are television ads warning of the dangers of turkey frying, the Allstate Insurance ad comes to mind. Despite all the warnings on television and warning labels on fryers, people still manage to ruin their turkey, destroy their fryer, burn themselves and in some cases even burn the house down.

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Bug Out Bag Too Heavy? Well Maybe You Should Stay Put Then.

Bug Out Bag Too Heavy

What you think you can carry and what you actually can carry are usually two different things. Typically, you should be able to carry 25 percent of your body weight in a pack. This of course assumes you are relatively fit. Some simple math calculations will tell you how much you should be able to carry. Of course, there are numerous factors involved, so the only way to know what you can actually carry for any distance is by going out and doing it.

Water weighs roughly 8.5 pounds per gallon (3.8kg), and water needs to be a priority so start there. A gallon a day for 72 hours means you are already at 25lbs plus in your pack starting out. You can cut this amount in half if, you have the means to collect, filter and purify a water source along the route.

There of course has to be a water source you can collect from, so planning is important. You need to know there are sources along your bug-out-route. Good planning means you can adjust the volume of water, to reduce the initial weight in the pack. Water will be consumed reducing weight, but also remember you will have to replenish your water supply so consider water a fixed weight. Once a bottle is empty, it needs to be refilled and carried with you as you move on from water sources.

Canned foods are heavy and they take up space, so they are not recommended for backpacks. Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) are ideal because they can be eaten from the package. They are fully contained meals, and they are lightweight and they do not require special openers like canned goods would. Keep things simple and use what you know works, remember you are not heading out on vacation.

People tend to over complicate things, they over analyze and dither and waffle over the simplest of things. Put MRE’s in the pack and move on, simple right?

There is debate on carrying extra clothing, because on one hand, everyone likes clean clothes and clean clothes are better insulators against the cold but on the other hand, clothing is heavy. You do need extra socks and underclothes, so put them with water, a must have in other words.

You will need clothing for the seasons and for the changing of the seasons but really how long do you expect to be wandering.  If it is cold out when you leave then your winter clothing should be worn. Assume the weather where you end up at is similar to the weather you left behind because you are on foot and exactly how far do you think you can walk in three days. In some situations, it may take a day or even longer just to get clear of a large city that has collapsed because of a disaster.

Secure a heavy coat to the outside of the pack and have gloves, hats and scarves inside the pack but otherwise you can forgo extra jeans, extra heavy shirts and so on if weight is going to be a factor.

Lace your cold weather boots together and hang them off your pack or simply wear them. Extra shoes/boots are nice, but again you have to prioritize. What you may think you would need could fill a pickup bed. You have to separate need from want and face reality, you cannot bring it all with you.

Having the means to make a shelter is important, but keep in mind you are not heading off to some campsite, you will be on the move and you may only shelter in one place for a few hours, until you do get to your pre-determined safe haven. Tents are nice but do you have the room in your pack and do you really want to be caught inside a tent if your camp is overrun.

Tarps, ponchos, and even Mylar survival blankets can be temporary shelters and they can easily be packed or secured to the pack.

Tents are ideal for base camps, and if you do not have a base camp already planned for ahead of time, with supplies already there what then are you doing wandering around. Are you hoping to stumble upon one? This is why bugging-out has to be planned for, and it will take months to put together a livable plan, because you have to “live the plan” first to make sure it works.

Water, food, some clothing, shelter, fire/energy and then add medical supplies, illumination, cutting tools such as a hatchet/ax/machete, multi-tool, cordage, blanket or poncho liner and/or sleeping bag and so now you probably have more than you can carry. You will need a fixed bladed knife, personal protection, portable radio, extra batteries and well we can stop here because your bag is now full, probably to full.

Do You Really Need To

Bugging out is a last resort attempt to save your life, so it is not for the faint of heart, it will be grueling, and in some cases, it may even put you in a worse situation? Some may even call bugging out an act of desperation, but only you can decide that, because it may be the only option available during certain situations.

Bugging out is temporary and should be planned that way. Either you will be able to return home or you have taken up residency at another location, meaning you will need shelter and resources stockpiled at another location. In other words, you cannot just wander for days on end hoping for a solution, you need a plan before you have to leave.

The items in your bag either gets you there or gets you back, again simple, so do not over complicate it. Those that think they can head off with their bag and survive by their wit and wisdom for weeks or months on end had better plan a little better, because it is not happening.

The reality is bugging-out is not ideal, and is not recommended unless you do have a place to bug-out to and a way to get there that does not take days of walking. If you have to bug-out with no place to go you will have to remain close to populated areas in hopes that emergency aid organizations get up and running, but if they are able to get up and running then you probably did not have to bug-out to begin with. However, it is something you should consider. Populated areas for the time being will be where the needed resources are. Unless of course you have a safe haven that has shelter and supplies.

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5 Basic Survival Skills You Can Practice In Your Backyard Now

Backyard Basic Survival Skills

Most of the survival reality shows would have you believe that you could awaken one day to find yourself in the middle of a jungle or in a vast wilderness area with nothing but the clothes on your back, and with shoes in some cases. You may be expected to survive with nothing more than flip-flops, a piece of Styrofoam and your PJ bottoms.

Of course, the shows are all about ratings. The reality is however, that you left home for a mountain bike ride and the tire blew out 12 miles from home and the fall makes it hard for you to walk. A few hours day hike turns into a nightmare of days wandering lost, or you got lost on a hunting trip, camping trip or your vehicle breaks down in some remote area. This is how you end up lost or stranded in most cases.

The point is you arrived there somehow, in something, on something and with something such as a backpack with a few essentials. The deciding factor on whether you survive or not, are the things you arrived with for the party. Will you be empty handed as well as empty-headed if you find yourself lost or stranded?

You need materials for survival but the thing you need the most are skills. The knowledge and the skills you carry in your head may very well decide your fate.

Knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge will keep you alive. Skills will keep you alive when your gear fails or materials are not to be had in your backpack. Watching videos of how it is done is not applying knowledge, but practicing is applying knowledge and you need to practice in a controlled environment before it is a life or death situation, were mistakes are a learning tool and not a death knell. Your backyard is the starting point.

Basic Survival Skills You Can Practice In Your Backyard

It is now backyard adventure time, where you can hone your skills to gain the confidence and know without hesitation that you can survive if you become lost or stranded in a wilderness environment or in any environment for that matter.

1.) Shelter

Pull out your tarps, ponchos and even an old parachute and start practicing. Look at various ways of using your tarp or poncho as shelters. You can even use a Mylar blanket as emergency shelter along with certain plastic sheeting.

You can string a line and drape the material over the line and stake down for a classic pup tent style, or gather some saplings and construct a teepee using the tarp, poncho, plastic or parachute as cover for it. Know that you can construct a shelter to cover you from rain, snow or sun, before you find yourself lost or stranded.

2.) Archery/Slingshot/Spear Skills

Safety first, and this means no children or pets in the backyard, while practicing and that you have sufficient backstop materials for the projectiles. Firearms are not always available but you can make a longbow, slingshot and spear from materials on you and from what you find in your environment.

Obviously the way to ensure you have the means to hunt is to make sure you never leave on an outdoor adventure without a longbow (folding ones are available that can be carried in a pack), without a slingshot and the means to cut a sapling and sharpen into a spear.

Can you hit your target with an arrow, or do you only think you can, so find out if you can. Then make sure through practice that you can always bring game down with a bow if needed and the same applies to the slingshot, practice will make perfect.

Spears in most cases would be ideal for “spear fishing” or for self-defense against animals or humans. Unless, the spear is well crafted and balanced properly throwing a spear to kill game is not very productive, but it is one more tool in your survival toolbox and you never will know until you do practice.

3.) Fire Starting

Practically anyone can start a fire on a nice sunny day, with matches and a lighter, but can you do it when the wind is blowing, when it is raining, snowing, or icing out. Can you make a fire without matches or a lighter? Now is the time to find out before you need too.

If you do not have a magnesium stick and/or a Ferro rod, you need to get both and begin practicing. Practice starting fires using a Ferro rod and cotton balls soaked in alcohol based hand sanitizer, or use alcohol wipes from your first aid kit.

Know what works best for you. Petroleum jelly, cotton balls, dry tinder, char cloth, flint, and steel can all be used to create fire under any weather conditions. Make sure you know how to start a fire with any materials available to you. Make sure all materials are available by making sure they are in your pack.

4. Foraging For Food Edibles in Your Backyard

Unless you routinely spray herbicides to kill weeds in your yard, you can find edibles weeds growing at practically any time of the year.  These same weeds can be found in a wilderness environment as well, and what better place to learn to identify the edible ones than in your own backyard.

The following is just a sampling of what you may find in your backyard. The list is common weeds and even flowers that are edible and can be found in your yard and in many wilderness environments. Make sure you research carefully before picking and eating any plant and have reliable pictures for reference of all the plants.

  1. Dandelion – Most everyone can identify a dandelion and the plant can be eaten at any stage of growth. The roots are edible as well, and many make tea/beverages out of the roots.
  2. Plantain – Not to be confused with the banana shaped fruit. Plantains have medicinal properties according to many, and it can be used as a topical treatment for many skin aliments, and of course can be eaten as well.
  3. Miners lettuce – Can be found growing in flowerbeds, sidewalk cracks or even in the middle of your yard
  4. Lamb’s-quarters – Commonly called wild spinach
  5. Burdock – People spend countless hours and money trying to eradicate this invasive weed, which by the way, is grown in many parts of the world for eating and is considered a delicacy. The roots are especially sought after in many cultures.
  6. Stinging Nettles  – Delicious eaten or brewed into a tea, just are careful of the stinging nettles.
  7. Purslane  Is very common and no doubt, you can find some growing up through a crack in the sidewalk, in stoned areas or even in your flowerbed.
  8. Cattails – Can be found near water in many parts of the world and if you have a pond on your property, you may find some.
  9. Daylilies  Can usually found in flowerbeds but also can be found growing wild in ditches and around country lanes and all parts of the plant are edible. The roots are especially sought after.
  10. Primrose  Some consider primrose evasive while other encourages it for its white and yellow flowers, but the flowers can be eaten or steeped to make a flavorful tea as well.

5.) Outdoor Cooking

If lost or stranded, you will have to cook over open flames so what better place to practice than over a campfire in your own backyard. Food cannot just be tossed into the coals or flames and then dragged out when you think it may be done. Learn how to fashion cooking grates using green saplings, or use flat heated rocks as frying/cooking surface. You may think you know how to cook, because the microwave is handy, but it takes some knowledge and skill to cook over an open flame in all kinds of weather.

The above list is just a few of the skills needed to survive. With some imagination, you can come up with other skills that maybe needed, and when you do, start practicing them so you can master the art of survival.

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