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best ruger 10 22 upgrade

Like the occasional sore throat or stubbed toe, factory 10/22 triggers are just a fact of life we live with. They crunch and grind along through their take-up. Then they hit best ruger upgrades 10 22a wall until the pressure on the trigger shoe dents the finger pad. The kra-chunk of the release is less of glass breaking, and more of opening a can of beer. We lowered our expectations due to the reliability and durability of the 10/22 trigger, but never gave up hope. Ruger heard our cries for help and released the aftermarket BX trigger upgrade. Ruger’s drop-in trigger module swapped out completely the entire factory trigger unit. For those of us who drank the BX Kool-Aid, we were impressed. Not necessarily how good the BX replacement is, but more of how bad the factory trigger really was. And compared to other trigger upgrades in our ARs for example, we knew it could be even better.

By Doc Montana, contributing author to SHTFblog and Survival Cache

Enter the Ultimate 10/22 Trigger Upgrade from TandemKross. An exquisitely machined and presented trigger parts group that literally turns the 10/22 into an entirely new gun. From the aggressively textured wide flat shoe, to the polished tool-steel sear and hammer, to the precision spring, the entire Ultimate Trigger Kit is everything a top-shelf trigger must be. And the older your 10/22, the bigger the difference in upgrade experience.


By any standard, the aftermarket components for the Ruger 10/22 is deep. So much so that its easily possible to replace every single piece of a Ruger 10/22 with non-Ruger parts. Kind of like my favorite axe. It’s always been the best axe I’ve ever owned even though I’ve replaced the handle three times and the head twice. In fact, on one of my 10/22 builds, I’m just a few parts shy of a non-Ruger Ruger 10/22. And even if I swap out those final few parts, the non-Ruger will still be my favorite Ruger.

Also Read: Magpul X-22 Rifle with TandemKross Upgrades

One part in particular has always defined the 10/22 and that is its exceptionally consistent trigger. No, not that the trigger consistently delivers, but that it consistently disappoints. The crunchy 10/22 factory triggers were just something we put up with, likely leveraging the low 10/22 price point to defend our low trigger standards. Even Ruger seemed not to care. It was as if a poor trigger was just another part of the 10/22 Rite-of-Passage that nearly every gun owner passed through. The Ruger 10/22 snuggled in nicely between the Schwinn Varsity and the high mileage F150. You know, somewhere between grade school and your first real job. Iron sights and minute-of-tin-can accuracy were plenty for those days, but now that we know that precision and accuracy should be givens, not dreams. The dated philosophy behind the archaic 10/22 trigger has come to an end.

Modern Family

By using electrical discharge machining (EDM) for the finer points on the hammer and sear, TandemKross in collaboration with Brimstone Gunsmithing has brought the mid-20th century 10/22 fully into the 21st century. Brimstone Gunsmithing, located on the opposite end of country from TandemKross (in Washington while TK is in New Hampshire), has tremendous experience with triggers of the 10/22 variety among others. Compared to many aftermarket triggers, the starting price of $135 for the TandemKross Ultimate Trigger hardly induces sticker shock. Many triggers at twice that price are common.

Learn your Gun

The installation of the TandemKross Ultimate Trigger is straightforward with just a few places where choice matters. There is an excellent video on Youtube that walks you through the process. For those gunshy about the inner workings of your guns, I suggest two things: First, do work on your gun but start with the outside stuff and work your way to the inside stuff as you gain skill, confidence and tools. Second, anyone worth their prepper salt should have at least passing knowledge of how a bolt group and trigger system works in common guns like the 10/22 and AR 15. And the easiest way to learn them is by doing an upgrade.

The video for the TandemKross Ultimate Trigger walks you slowly through the disassembly and reassembly of the 10/22 trigger group. The only hiccup I noticed is the orientation of the hammer spring. On the video, the spring is blocked in view so it takes a moment of sleuthing to make sure it’s oriented correctly. It’s one of those things that makes perfect sense after you know how to align it.

Related: SW22 Victory Squirrel Pistol

The first time I installed a TandemKross Ultimate Trigger it took me about 25 minutes, partially to do it right, but mostly to savor the wonderful experience of upgrading a gun with my own hands. The second time I did it, again in no hurry, took about 15 minutes. The video does the main trigger work in about 12 minutes of the 19 minute video. And for those new to 10/22 disassembly, the trigger group/receiver assembly may not fit back into the stock unless the safety selector button is halfway between on and off. Forgetting that is a common point of frustration.

Upgrade and Up-Upgrade

Two version of the TandemKross Ultimate Trigger are available, each in two different colors, red and black. The standard TandemKross Ultimate Trigger is for the factory 10/22 trigger group. The other offering is a TandemKross Ultimate Trigger with an extra part for upgrading the Ruger BX Trigger group. Which of course begs the question of why upgrade and upgrade? Easy answer. Because it truly is an upgrade to the upgrade. The entire feel and operation of the trigger is improved including the aggressive and colorful flat-faced shoe. Sadly, the $89 BX trigger that Ruger sells within its own aftermarket catalog should really be the standard trigger that every 10/22 comes with. It’s a good starting point with still plenty of room for improvement.

Also Read: The Ultimate Survival Arm

The days of substandard out-of-the-box performance should be over. But alas, Ruger, like many gun manufacturers, still sleeps well at night knowing that many of it’s guns could be so much better with just a little elbow grease and a few drops of polishing compound. As evidence of this Ruger has no shame in comparing its stock 10/22 trigger with its own BX trigger in a graph that highlights just how bad their own original trigger really is. In fact firearms seem to be one of the last strongholds where our tolerance for low manufacturing standards are still alive and well. Imagine if your truck or phone or hiking boots had disappointing flaws from the get-go. And worse, there is an entire segment of the economy devoted to fixing your just-purchased gun problem.

Anyway, at least in our current 10/22 reality, that’s how it is. Or perhaps not? During my upgrading of two different 10/22 rifles with TandemKross Ultimate Triggers, I noticed that my most recently purchased 10/22 was considerably more polished and smooth in finish work that the other one that was from the 1990s. In fact the earlier one was shockingly crude inside compared to the more current one. So that means that the older your 10/22, the bigger the perceived upgrade.

10/22 Version 2.0

According to TandemKross, “The design of the factory spring and plunger requires a heavier spring in order to have consistent, positive resets. The “Ultimate” Trigger Kit does away with this design, replacing the spring and plunger with a single coil of music wire spring that flexes and rebounds with zero friction, binding or other trigger “noise.” This is absolutely true. In fact, so wonderful is the TandemKross Ultimate Trigger that it makes your 10/22 perform like an entirely new gun.

Also See: Best Water Filter Pitcher

In my scientific trigger pull tests, the TandemKross Ultimate Triggers constantly broke at 3.2 pounds with very limited take-up and almost no overtravel. Comparing the TandemKross Ultimate Triggers to the stock trigger was more Venus and Mars than night and day or apples and oranges. The factory Ruger 10/22 trigger broke weakly at almost twice the poundage, and three times the travel. And the ride was pretty bumpy along the way. In my force vs. displacement tests, the stock trigger broke at just under six pounds, and 0.15 inches of travel. The 3.2 pound snap of the TandemKross Ultimate Triggers happened at around 0.1 inches of travel (I forgot to zero the displacement sensor so the travel is from -.05 to +.05). Further, my graphs clearly show a distinct difference in break.

The TandemKross Ultimate Triggers is instantaneous while the factory Ruger trigger seemed to need some time to think about breaking as indicated by the slope of the line rather than a vertical drop. While the factory trigger may sound to your ear like it’s obviously made up its mind when it’s time to break, the graph shows some hesitation. Compared to the redesigned sear, hammer and spring of the TandemKross Ultimate Trigger, the Ruger trigger takes its sweet time to punch the firing pin while the Ultimate Trigger shows no detectable hesitation.

Related: How to Build a Hurricane Katrina Rifle

Furthering the TandemKross Ultimate Trigger experience is the glorious aluminium shoe. By increasing the face area as well as flattening it, the index finger has a solid and predictable resting position that can pull evenly with little risk of slippage or rolloff. The textured surface provides a solid purchase whether skin or glove, and ensures a defined trigger shoe edge to work with. The shoe is similar to other TandemKross offerings including the Victory Trigger for both Ruger Mark and 22/45 pistols and the Smith & Wesson Victory .22 pistol.


So put a TandemKross Ultimate Trigger into your Ruger and fall in love with your 10/22 all over again. It really is that good.

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The post Survival Gear: TandemKross 10-22 Rifle Ultimate Trigger Upgrade appeared first on Survival Cache.

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Big game and waterfowl gets plenty of attention when it comes to hunting, but there are a lot of reasons to go big on small game, especially for preppers.

Right now, we have to check to see where our regulatory bodies draw the line between small game and fur-bearers, and which small birds are included in small game and which require licenses and tags under migratory or waterfowl regs. Assume I’m including them anytime I say “small game”, because they share a lot of the same benefits.

Those benefits are huge, from why we should focus on those rodents and birds to the hunting gear we need.

Evade (some of) the Hunting-Season Buzzkills

Who in the world decided that football should overlap good hunting seasons? Seriously, we’ve been in pursuit of game through the non-gardening and non-harvest seasons far longer than football even existed. Could football not start in the snow instead of ending up cold and wet?

Holidays, too. I understand how the timing of them started, but still. We have evolved. We have the technology for Turducken and pierogis. Can we not squish other stuff together?

Could we not wear costumes in Spring and trick-or-treat along with hiding eggs, or even just combine the biggies from November-December? How many holiday gatherings, outings, and parades do we really need in a 45-60 day period?

Happily, small game is there to help mitigate some of the painful overlap of hunting and football/holiday seasons.

Small game typically has fewer area restrictions, which increases the odds of sneaking in a hunt.

With the exception of rabbits and wolf worms, most of the reasons for hunting in cool/cold seasons are nullified by small game. (Look up wolf worms – very icky, don’t chance it.) So our seasons typically start ahead of others in autumn and even summer. Some of those small-game seasons then extend right through winter.

While I have taken a tongue-in-cheek look at why, longer and less restrictive season(s) really is one of the benefits to small game. It’s far from the only one.

Hunting Fees

There are still places where a large-game license and tag more than pays for itself by per-pound comparison, especially for residents. However, even ignoring the “lifetime” investments and man hours as cost, they’re becoming few and far between. Large game is pretty expensive meat in a lot of the U.S. now.

The why of it falls to the upcoming points, but by and large, almost everywhere, a small game and-or fur-bearer’s license will still pay for itself in multiples if not exponential’s due to potential yields from the initial costs.


Small game species need fewer resources to maintain individuals, so they’re adaptable to more and smaller areas, which extends their ranges. Lack of dietary and area restrictions prevents segmentation and genetic bottle necking, which helps them maintain healthy breeding populations.

Having litters vs. single-births and twins, and faster breeding cycles – earlier ages for independence and earlier ages for sexual maturity both leading to more litters per year – also factors.

Some species are dwindling (by area and for numerous reasons). Still, wherever we are, coast to coast, any climate, city to country, small game is going to outnumber the medium and large game. We can estimate the exact ratios by eyeballing the cost and take limits of various animals on state hunting websites. (And tallying the ones we’re allowed to trap/shoot as pests without restriction.)

Accessibility & Transit Time

The population densities and the enormous and diverse ranges means we don’t have to travel far to find small game. Many are right in our backyards and fields, and nearby parks. Small game animals are guaranteed to reside in any WMA that supports unglates, big birds, predators, etc. (check regs!).

Even if we do have to travel to find small game hunting rather than watch our gardens, orchards, and bird feeder, most preppers won’t have to go as far as we would for deer, pig, waterfowl, etc.

That reduces travel time, but it also reduces the “everyday” risks involved with going off beaten paths and away from home, both now and “after”.

Especially “after” – Many disasters will mean more property theft (of and from vehicles, home, and person), increased defensiveness of property owners, and more desperate animals willing to come at us while we’re distracted or overburdened, as already happens along the trash pits and city/village verges in some parts of the world.

Success Rates

The greater populations across more areas compared to large game animals also increases our chances of success. Because many seasons overlap, we can even use small game to prevent a total bust once we start heading home after a waterfowl or big game trip, or add to the meat taken.

Hunting Gear

It’s mostly competition with other humans in currently limited game areas that requires the “norm” of scent control, boatloads of decoys, blinds, bait stations and feed plots, and turkey-proof camo. That competition isn’t going away (a whole other reason to reconsider large game hunting for filling plates and jars) but it’s the effects of that competition on our gear I most want to poke.

If you want to hunt small game and fur-bearers, you’re almost ready, right now.

However you’re dressed is fine – work uniforms, holiday/football glad-garb, jeans, loungers/sweats. Really. Grab your sneakers or boots, and step off.

That’s a whole other world than prepping for turkey and waterfowl for many people. For some, it’s not even in the realm for deer or pig.

Hunting Platforms

This is just as easy and inexpensive, because you can humanely and responsibly take small game with almost anything.

Slingshots typically fail on “humane” and “responsible”, but there are whiz-bang sizzlers and sling bows. Some of the dart-harpoon mini crossbows hit hard enough for small-small game, too. Our shorty “tactical” shotguns will handle most brush and verge distances, and 10-25 yard #4 shot shells are available for many pistol-caliber firearms.

Our field shotguns, big-game bows and crossbows, and all .22 calibers are automatics for small-game platforms.

A $70-$125 pellet gun or .22 LR/WMR pistol will put meat on the table every single day of the year for less than $15-50 in ammo. (Airgun minimums: 600-800fps for .22, 1000+fps for .177)

There’s a particularly big bonus for some of those options: Noise. The pops, bwonnnggg’s, and snaps don’t carry far. We can also outfit our pistols with silencers and our .22 LR revolver, pump, bolt, and lever guns with sub-sonics to reduce audio alerts for them.

For End-Of-Days hunting, whether we’re homesteading, seasonal nomads, or wilderness bugout devotees – and even today – that means we’re less likely to attract attention from other animals or humans.

That also means we get more opportunities, hit or miss.

Now, there’s admittedly a big difference between city/suburban critters and woods/field critters. Wild-wild game animals typically react faster and longer. Even so, the area will settle faster with air gun and subsonic .22 pews and archery bwonngg-thwack’s than bigger booms and cracks.

It also means whole areas in really close proximity never went to high alert, so we can shift locations quickly, settle in again, and repeat the process.

Also huge is the portability of small-game takers.

Many small-game options are small/light enough to add to primary bugout, waterfowl, or big-game load outs.

Some of them would pack in a kiddie lunchbox for Hunter OpSec. The 10/22 Charger is a valid add-on option, especially in brush we can brace on. I’m partial to some of the long pellet pistols, but even they ride in a mare’s leg or standard “school” backpacks.

Continuing “Easier” & “Faster”

Small game also has advantages post-hunt. Hauling them home is a whole different world. Whether we use shoestring straps, a laundry bag, a bucket, or hold onto feet or tails directly, we eliminate the sheer work of hauling home animals that are 30-300+ pounds.

That means we move faster, and we move quieter.

As with platforms that reduce disturbances, stealth allows us more shots on other game. The faster-quieter aspect also further reduces our “after” risks from other humans.

Since we can move in and move back out really fast, and since it’s unnecessary to gut small game right away, we also seriously reduce our risks in areas where wild dogs, feral pig, and bear figure out that a shot means supper and draw in.

Butchering is a biggie, too.

One, because we can work one small animal at a time, and it’s pretty darn fast even starting out, we can bag it or bin it, and reduce the exposure of meat to flies compared to a bigger animal. Two, we can do it anywhere and we’re neither hauling to hang, nor rolling bodies back and forth.

It can be hugely satisfying to bag a biggie and tally the number of meals it will provide, but it’s also a lot of processing. That processing has to take place quickly, and usually involves extra butchering and some type of fuel for freezing, canning or smoking.

Many small-game species are pretty much serving-size portions. When we do get an abundance of small game, we can very easily and quickly quarter off the leg sections and breast/back strap for canning whole, and dine on the fine-picking portions like ribs.

Cleaning at home also means that we can ditch any organs we consider dangerous, but retain offal for our pigs, poultry, and fish – or keep choice bits in a jar and lay fishing and trap lines tomorrow.

From hiking in and the tools used to take, to hauling out and getting meat to plate, the low physicality allows more people to participate.

That means more people stay or become earners for the household. And that can make a world of difference, to those more-limited souls and to the success of the whole household or group, in any kind of hard times.

Go Big on Small Game

A lot of small game’s benefits makes them particularly practical for preppers, but the benefits extend to daily life. The low costs and ability to successfully hunt more places by more people, and the ease after success makes small game a great way to put food on the table even now.

Plus, don’t forget how small game allows us to sneak in hunts around family gatherings – hunts we wouldn’t manage if we had to haul decoys or travel far – and without intruding on football.

Even if you’re not ready to hunt, get out and find the game, learn the signs and rhythms of the area. Time outdoors is good for us – for-real science backed. It’s also scouting/intel we can apply if needed.

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Firearms for People Who Hate Them

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by Charles

As hard as this may be to believe for some of you, not everyone likes guns. I know, I know, sit down if you feel woozy. It’s true, though: some folks do not, in fact, take to the way of the gun like a duck to water.

This does not mean that a person is against guns, however. Big difference. I have known and helped a score of people in my career that were ethically and practically for firearms, but they themselves did not like them, were stressed out by them or otherwise somehow perturbed by them.

Every once in a while one of these folks has need for a gun and the whole process is a quagmire of fear, stress and uncertainty. Heck, you may be one of those people, and have come across this very article in your search for answers and relief. Whoever you are, reader, in this article I will be dishing up some straight answers and ace handgun recommendations to help ease the passage of a person from “gunless” to well-heeled.

So grab you note pad and let’s get into it.

The Conflict of the Pro-Gun Gun-Hater

“Pro-gun gun-hater” is my blanket term for the prospective new gun owner or shooter who is, for whatever reason, sort of being pushed into using a gun against their desires. They obviously are not an aficionado or connoisseur. They are not even a normal everyman shooter. Sadly, they are not even a hapless but well-intentioned amateur. The pro-gun gun-hater’s feelings against using or owning a gun are genuine.

These folks generally, sincerely do not like guns on a visceral personal level. They may be pro-gun rights. They might be pro-guns all the way around, but they simply cannot or will not get aboard that train themselves.

Their reasons vary: maybe it was a bad experience shooting that rendered them, literally, gun shy ever after. Maybe it is a crushing lack of confidence, or the feeling of already missing out on too much experience compared to peers who have been shooting for a while. Some may lack the strength or coordination to operate a gun well, and so have given up.

Some may even be naïve, to a degree: they are just fine with their neighbors, friends and relatives having and using guns, but they have never had need for one (“It won’t happen to me.” Or “bad stuff does not happen here.”) A few might simply be intimidated by the noise and blast of a gun, and their nerves cannot take the strain.

Doubtless there will be a few in there who are merely too lazy or unmotivated to invest the considerable time and effort it takes to master using a gun well and safely. A sorry, poor few in this lot might be victims of violent crime or a close call, and are revising their once-held beliefs to the contrary regarding guns in civilian hands.

Whatever the case, these people deserve help, guidance and the best chance to succeed at their new venture, and understanding their unique situations and attitude is important to kitting them out with the right tools.

Helping the Uninitiated and Unmotivated Get the Right Tools

This can present a unique challenge for gun sellers, teachers, experienced friends or family and so forth. Recommendations and decisions for firearm selection that are trotted out for enthusiastic or motivated beginners may not apply for our pro-gun gun-hater friends.

An honest assessment of their intent will likely reveal that even now, no matter what has driven them “upstream” of their personal values into getting a gun is not enough to get them regularly training, practicing and the like.

Overwhelmingly, these people will never consider anything at all beyond a handgun. A long gun is a “big gun” and they simply are not big gun people, no matter what with scarce exceptions.

For most of them, the handgun will be the equivalent of a fire extinguisher: purchased, given cursory investigation as to its use and then put away with the whispered prayer that they will never have to use it, even now. In fact, the less they have to think about the gun or be reminded of its presence, the better.

Why Should an Experienced Shooter Care?

For you seasoned shooters reading: Don’t roll you eyes at this! It is easy to launch into a diatribe about best practices, proper procedure and so forth, or issue the old “purity test” about how a serious gun owner would do this, this and this, etc. but it just isn’t helpful. Everyone must search their own soul and walk their path on their own. I can’t walk it for them, and neither can a significant portion of you reading.

All that is important is helping them, be as safe as possible with their new gun and enabling them to live armed against potential threats. So instead of lambasting these late-bloomers, let’s help them on their terms, and a big part of that is getting them the right guns that will work around their hang-ups.

The person described above may be someone you know and need to help, be they a friend, relative or acquaintance. Especially if you are known as the “gun guy” in your circles, your expertise will be eagerly sought out. If the extent of your care and insight is “Glock 17” or “Beretta 92” you are not doing your apprentice any favors; both are excellent pistols, but largely unsuited to the shooters we have been discussing.

Step away from the pulpit and assess the problem earnestly. Your preaching of the word may get you plenty of points and admiration among gunslingers like you, but is not applicable and lost on those who don’t even want to be where they are standing in the first place.

Dealing with Shortcomings

In no particular order of occurrence, your average pro-gun gun-hater will be suffering from one or more quirks that will impact what their ideal handgun may be.

Physical Handicap- Either from injury, disability or infirmity people in this category lack the strength, coordination or both to manipulate a handgun well enough to load and/or fire it. For many, this may be overcome by training. For a significant fraction, they will have a “hard” limitation and need a pistol that can be operated within the restrictions of their condition.

Autoloading pistols are often a notoriously bad choice for many of these folks, since retracting the slide to the rear is often the single hardest thing they will be asked to do with the pistol. Recoil may also be a factor.

Unwilling/Unable to Improve Skills- People in this category are either unable or unwilling to put in the time needed to run a given pistol with fumble-free certainty. No matter what positive gains they would enjoy from a little bit of additional training or practice, they aren’t interested. It is essential that their guns are as simple, safe and straightforward to use as possible.

This means that more complicated actions are out, as are any gun that is simple too easy to fire inadvertently. Yes, no gun will suffer a fool’s clumsy handling, but nonetheless we can reduce the chances of a tragic or costly accident with careful firearm selection.

Nervous Nellie- These shooters will be hampered by an acute fear or anxiety when handling the gun that clouds judgment and hampers critical thinking.

Some may become so nervous from handling the gun even in an administrative setting that their motor skills and coordination are affected. Exposure therapy is a must, but does not always produce the desired effect.

Guns for these folks must be very safe, but also easy to use, and should preferably be chambered in a cartridge with minimal report and recoil.

No Experience- Simply, these shooters have no trigger time. This means that establishing a frame of reference for them to make an insightful choice is difficult or may be impossible within their time constraint.

There are many guns that can serve these new shooters well, but care should be taken to ensure they get saddled up with one that will help them shoot their best and also not unduly hamper them.

Whatever their reasons, and whatever they are facing, rest assured that there are guns for almost everyone who has the will to equip themselves with one.

The Best Gun Recommendations for People Who Don’t Like Them

Below, you’ll find a selection of 5 pistols that are uniquely suited to our new shooters we have discussed above. Each one will have a short list of who it is best suited for among pro-gun gun-haters, and then a dissertation on its strengths and flaws.

Full disclosure: most of these guns will have something that is seen as a serious shortcoming when viewed in the light of the modern school of handgunnery. Yours truly will even have written about those specific shortcomings in previous work, advocating that your average shooter avoid choosing this caliber or that action.

That is my point today, though: these guns are special purpose choices for certain kinds of shooters, not Tactical Timmy who is working sub-second draws to first shot or Steve the Swat Cop about to blow through a single-wide meth lab.

For personal defense in a civilian context, any of these guns will work just fine: all are robust, reliable and more than capable of inflicting lethal damage to a determined assailant. Each also has in addition certain perks that will help make our newbies’ lives easier. More on those in a minute, let’s get to the list!

#5 – Ruger LCR, .22 LR

Best For: Physical Handicap, Nervous Nellies, anyone who needs a concealable, easy to carry pistol

Ruger’s LCR line of revolvers is excellent contenders among snubbies in all regards, but for our purposes today the .22 version deserves special mention. The LCR line as a whole is light, small and easy to shoot well, the latter being thanks to uniformly great triggers. Especially compared to competitors’ snubbies, the LCR is quite the shooting machine.

In .22 LR, even with its feathery weight made possible by a polymer fire control housing and alloy upper frame, the LCR has minimal recoil and with proper load selection little blast. This will no doubt endear it to folks who have a hard time tolerating the firing of any gun.

Those who struggle with their hands will find the loading, unloading and shooting process far more manageable than a larger revolver or a semi-auto thanks to the crisp, simple controls and the light weight of the gun and ammo. The trigger in particular, often hindrance on a small revolver, is of modest weight, exceptionally smooth for a stock gun, and easy to manage.

.22 LR is not renowned as a fight-stopper, but it is undeniably dangerous, and more than capable of inflicting a lethal wound. In this category it is valuable for producing minimal blast and recoil, which is more important than exemplary ballistics.

#4 – Smith & Wesson Model 10, .38 Special (or other medium frame fullsize .38 Spl. DA Revolver)

Best For: Nervous Nellies, No Experience, Unable/Unwilling to Improve Skills

The classic trope long associated with revolvers that they are simpler to understand, learn and operate compared to semi-auto pistols… is true! I’m not saying semi-autos are inherently difficult by any stretch, but when you are dealing with new shooters who are unlikely to or unwilling to put in the additional time to master a semi’s manual of arms a good double-action revolver makes the most sense.

More, the revolver, while more mechanically delicate than a semi, is also more forgiving of neglect when, say, stuffed into a drawer and forgotten. This is of significant interest for shooters who we know will not, right or wrong, be giving their pistols the regular care and feeding it deserves, if they even know how to do so.

A double-action revolver is a cinch to load and shoot, and also simple to verify the status of: press latch, swing out cylinder, inspect chambers, return cylinder. If needed, press trigger. That’s it. There is no loaded chamber to be forgotten or overlooked when a magazine is removed and no mechanical safeties or decocking to worry over.

The long, heavy trigger pull for each shot assures a certain degree of inherent safety and is more forgiving of wandering, misplaced digits than a striker-fired handgun, say.

A DA revolver is not the easiest thing in the world to shoot well, especially for beginners, but this is easier to work on in a short amount of time than ingraining strict trigger-finger discipline and rote memorization of a semi’s manual of arms.

.38 Special is more than adequate for defensive use, widely available and can furthermore be has in “powder puff” light loads such as wadcutters to reduce recoil and report even more.

#3 – Smith & Wesson M&P380 Shield EZ, .380 ACP

Best For: Physical Handicap, No Experience

The M&P series of pistols need no introduction for most of our readership, but for those of you who are new to the scene, they are greatly liked for their excellent shooting and handling characteristics. That being said, they also don’t do much to help the shooters we are trying to help, being typical fullsize or compact pistols, i.e. hard to load and operate, and unforgiving of errant handling. That is, they were.

Cue the M&P380 EZ, the newest family member in the vaunted M&P line, but one that takes some pretty radical departures from the usual feature set in the interest of significant ease-of-use enhancements, most notably a drastically easier to rack slide compared to its siblings.

This is made possible by a light recoil spring, extended “ears” at the back of the slide to help a shooter maintain their grip, and a revised fire control; this M&P, while appearing nearly identical to its bigger relatives, is actually fired by way of an internal hammer, not a striker.

Even better the, magazines are designed with followers utilizing small pegs on either side of the magazine body, not dissimilar to your average .22 pistol magazine. These pegs allow a shooter to place the magazine upright on a flat surface and pull them down to make room for the next cartridge to be loaded in the stack, versus trying to wrestle it in against the force of a powerful magazine spring.

The addition of a grip safety and optional manual safety provide an additional degree of assurance against unintended discharge. On top of it all, the pistol is a fine shooter, being inheritor to all of the other design features and control layout that make the M&P’s as a family such good guns.

As far as compact .380’s go, this is a good one, as most guns in this size class utilize a blowback action which is noticeably sharper than a rarer-for-caliber Browning-style locked breech as with the M&P380 EZ.

All in all, a safe, capable and easy to use gun, especially for a semi-auto of this caliber and class.


SIG Sauer P250 9mm

Photo by Joel7687Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

#2 – Sig Sauer P250, 9mm Para

Best For: No Experience, Unable/Unwilling to Improve Skills, certain Physical Handicaps (Low strength)

When the Sig P250 hit the U.S. market in late 2007, I was totally unimpressed by it except for its interesting and then unique modular design. The rest of the gun was uninspired: double-action only, a long, if light trigger, and that was pretty much it.

Shooting it did not yield any exemplary capability that made it anything more than a novelty to me, and much of the rest of the gun world responded in kind. It did see some government agency adoption here at home and abroad, but this was short lived in the face of other more capable guns.

All that being said, the P250 seems only a historical milestone, an also-ran on the path to the Sig Sauer P320 now newly adopted as the Army’s M17 handgun. This all hides one very pertinent perk, though: the P250 is very easy to load and shoot pretty well, while also being pretty dang safe thanks to its loooong, but smooth, trigger pull.

While it lacks a manual safety, seasoned shooters know that a “safer” trigger has more to do with the length of travel of the trigger than the weight of its pull; a longer travel means more feedback for a misplaced finger that something is happening, giving the shooter time to course-correct before getting to a bang, and also furnishing a degree of safety against an inanimate object entering the trigger guard and impinging on the trigger.

This is even nicer on the P250 because the trigger is otherwise pretty nice for a double-action only trigger, being smooth, hitch free and easy to manage all the way through the break. It is like the best of a DA revolver and semi-auto in one! In all other regards, the P250 is more or less a standard fullsize or service pistol: it carries plenty of ammo, has nice sights and also benefits from easily interchangeable grip modules that make the gun simple to tailor to most users’ hands.

While it is discontinued entirely as of 2018, there are still plenty of P250s, parts and mags floating around to make finding one comparatively simple and well worth your time if you or someone you know desires the perks of a service-caliber semi-auto pistol with an easy-to-use slide and trigger.

#1 – Ruger 22/45 Mark IV, .22LR

Best For: Nervous Nellies, No Experience

Ruger’s flagship .22 LR pistols are not just for plinking cans, punching paper and harvesting small game. The 22/45 series guns have always been vaunted because they combine the handling and shooting characteristics of a service handgun with the light recoil and easy operation of your typical .22. The result (though Ruger has delved into some pretty wild aesthetic choices) is a supremely capable pistol for anyone on our list of “needs help” shooters.

Instead of a slide, the 22/45 guns all utilize a bolt that features two prominent ears on either side of the gun. Combined with the easy cocking of the design and it will be a rare shooter that struggles with this handgun. 10 rounds of .22 LR are carried standard in the slim magazines and the entire package in most iterations is very slim and lightweight. The controls are easy to actuate with some practice, and a manual safety is standard.

The 22/45’s have always enjoyed a reputation as good shooters and the latest versions are no exception. Best of all, for those who may desire or require them from ailing eyes or concerns about bumps in the night, most variations can mount under barrel lights, lasers and optical sight as stock. All told, you enjoy the best in modern pistol design and theory in a light, easy-handling .22 LR.

Stoked with good, high-quality loads, these guns are surprisingly reliable and more than capable as defensive pieces. Don’t let the hot-rod looks and miniscule caliber fool you: these are serious workhorses.


No decent citizen who desires a gun for defense should be left out in the cold for lack of viable choices. Though they may be far from the mainstream shooting world’s conception of ideal defensive handguns, the choices presented above are all superb for overcoming common challenges faced by certain newcomers.

If you are a seasoned pro, take this knowledge and put it to good use should they turn to you for help. If you are a newbie yourself, have no fear: use what was presented in this article, head into your local gun shop and see which will work best for you.

With a little courage, a little practice and plenty of can-do, you will be getting rounds on target with confidence in no time.

firearms for people who hate them pin

Start Becoming Self-Reliant

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If you’re paying any attention to world affairs and particularly the current political condition of the United States, it’s obvious that trouble is brewing which could lead to economic collapse or some other SHTF event.

But even if you don’t believe that our world could change as we know it, there are still major benefits from becoming more self reliant. Independence from public utilities, the ability to grow your own food, and live off your land without depending on the outside world is a great way to free yourself from the rat race of The American Dream.

So, if you’re looking to make a change, whether for economic reasons or some other reason, we’ve listed 50 excellent ways to start becoming more self reliant below. You certainly don’t need to do them all at once, simply choose a couple that fit your current situation the best and start there.

When you’ve completed or mastered those, choose a couple more and so on. Before you know it, you’ll be living self sufficiently and your family will be better prepared to handle whatever life may throw at you in the future.


Low Cost Ways to Start Becoming More
Self Reliant

If you’re just getting started on the
path to becoming more self reliant and are still working with a
limited budget, below are several different free or low cost actions
you can take. All of these are skills or actions that will put you
well on the path to self sufficiency, no matter where you live.

#1. Learn a Trade Skill Useful to Others which isn’t dependent on public power or other public services and can be used to barter for needed items, such as carpentry, plumbing, hide tanning, electrical, or woodworking.

#2. Increase Your Physical Fitness and Strength which will make doing daily physical tasks easier and will give you an advantage in a self defense or SHTF scenario.

#3. Master Fire Starting in All Types of Conditions so that you can cook and keep yourself and family warm in a grid down situation.

#4. Train to Forage and Identify Wild Edibles which can save you money in your food budget and be used to supplement your diet if grocery stores are shut down.

#5. Learn to Make Cordage from Natural Materials such as vines, grasses, tree bark, etc.

#6. Reduce Monthly Expenses by cutting out the services that you don’t absolutely need. Prioritize needs over wants and put extra money into savings or use to pay down debt.

#7. Practice Knot Tying which is useful if you have to build shelter, adjust fishing equipment, or for any number of different survival tasks.

#8. Begin Composting to lower the amount of waste that you must dispose of and to enhance soil for gardening.

#9. Master the Art of Negotiation by learning body language and other types of tells now so you can confidently barter with others during an economic collapse.

#10. Learn to Properly Purify Water because in any kind of economic collapse or SHTF situation, fresh water for drinking will be critical to preventing illness and to your survival.

#11. Stop Using Disposable Items such as paper towels, paper plates, etc. Although they are more convenient, they cost more money. Invest in linen napkins, hand towels, and washable plates and use these instead.

#12. Recycle and Reuse Items to create what you need which will save money and prevent waste from building up in a landfill or in your backyard.

#13. Bake Your Own Bread to save money and practice the skill to prepare for a time when grocery stores are inaccessible or shut down.

#14. Plant Berry Bushes and Fruit Trees and then dehydrate them for long term storage to save money and add to your family food stockpile.

#15. Master Use of Healing Herbs so you can grow your own and use these to keep your family healthy in an economic collapse or grid down situation.

#16. Replace Store Bought Cleaning Supplies with Natural Cleaning Methods which is healthier for your family and can save you tons of money which can be put into savings or used to pay off debt.

#17. Pay Down Debt as much as possible with a goal of becoming debt free.

#18. Cook from Scratch More Often which will save you money and be healthier for your family.

#19. Repair Broken Items instead of replacing them with new ones to save money and pay off debt quicker.

#20. Learn to DIY Things You Need so you can save money now and be able to make what you need in a grid down or economic collapse scenario.

#21. Get to Know Your Neighbors and form a plan to protect your local area and to barter skills and products.

#22. Practice Making Useful Items from Scavenged Items so that you can confidently make what you need if traditional ways of getting parts are shutdown.

#23. Eliminate Addictive or Bad Habits so that you won’t be dependent on something like cigarettes or alcohol which will be scarce and pricey in times of turmoil.

#24. Learn to Repair Your Own Equipment which will save you money on expensive repairmen now and can help you continue to be self reliant when SHTF.

#25. Enlist Family and Friends To Create a Mutual Assistance Group which can trust one another to share skills, barter, and join together for defense purposes.

food supplies 100 dollars stockpile

Ways to Start Becoming More Self
Reliant with Minimal Investment

There are a number of different ways to
become more self sufficient that have an initial cost for getting
started but do not require a significant investment. Look through the
list below and identify several methods that might work for your

#26. Plan for Alternative Ways to Cook without public power such as a wood cookstove, solar oven, or open fire, in case the grid goes down.

#27. Raise Poultry for Eggs and Meat to feed your family, sell, or barter with if needed.

#28. Store Water and Implement a Plan for Continuous Water

#29. Learn to Sew both cloth and hides so that you can make your own clothes, generate additional income, or barter.

#30. Plant a Garden even if you start small and then gradually expand it until you are producing most if not all of the produce your family needs. Extra produce can also be sold for additional income or used for bartering.

#31. Raise Rabbits for Meat as a supplemental protein in your diet. Rabbits can be raised in very little space and without drawing attention from neighbors which is safer in a SHTF situation.

#32. Stockpile Staple Foods and Supplies which you can’t produce easily on your property such as sugar, salt, rice, and flour.

#33. Master Home Canning and accumulate a stockpile of food in your pantry which can be rotated to save money now and to feed your family in winter months if grocery stores are shutdown or inaccessible.

#34. Learn Food Dehydration Methods so you can properly store fruits and other foods long term without refrigeration.

#35. Purchase and Learn to Use Manual Tools so that you are prepared to make repairs and maintain your home and equipment to save money or in a grid down situation.

#36. Stockpile Auto Supplies so you can maintain and repair your own car instead of paying someone to do it or having to rely on alternative transportation.

#37. Make Your Own Soaps to save money, reduce your use of chemicals, and to sell or barter.

#38. Reduce Dependence on Public Power by doing without power for increasingly longer periods of time. Can you survive without it for a weekend? A week? Longer?

a traditional cage trap

Additional Ways to Start Becoming
More Self Reliant

Below are still more ways to start
becoming more self reliant. Many of these require a significant
investment up front which will pay off for years by enabling you to
save money on public utilities or continue to survive when
traditional power is unavailable.

#39. Identify and Plan Alternative Heating Methods so you can heat your home, woodstove, solar power, geothermal, etc. without relying on power from the grid.

#40. Build a Traditional Spring House over a creek or well on your property to use for refrigeration of dairy products such as milk and cheese if power is down.

#41. Invest in a Backup Generator for times when you need temporary power such as charging electronics.

#42. Master Hunting and Trapping Skills to put food on your table but also to use any excess meat or hides for bartering.

#43. Learn to Properly Save and Preserve Seeds so that you can produce a garden year after year without dependence on purchasing seeds elsewhere.

#44. Build a Root Cellar to store root vegetables and other food for lean times.

#45. Make Your Own Cheese and Dairy Products from a dairy cow or goat to supplement your diet and reduce your reliance on grocery stores.

#46. Learn to Properly Field Dress Various Game so that you can provide food for your family that won’t make them sick.

#47. Practice Firearm Use and Self-Defense so you can protect your family and property from anyone who might try to do you harm.

#48. Create an Emergency Fund of accumulated cash to cover your expenses for 3 to 6 months or longer so you can survive any kind of short term personal economic hardship.

#49. Identify Additional Ways to Make Money or Produce Items to Barter from your property such as homemade crafts, beekeeping (honey), wormfarm (bait for fishing), etc.

#50. Learn About and Implement Animal Husbandry so you can be confident in your ability to continue to produce animals to raise for food and/or for bartering.

Which of the above ways to start becoming more self reliant have you mastered already? Which one will you start next? How far have you come on your journey to becoming more self reliant? Let us know in the comments below.

The post 50 Excellent Ways to Start Becoming More Self-Reliant appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

911 Outage Was Much More!

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A large-scale Centruylunk outage has knocked out internet, 911 cal centers, ATMs and banks throughout the country. […]

The post Nationwide CenturyLink outage knocks out 911 service, ATMs and Internet in several states appeared first on Off Grid Survival – Wilderness & Urban Survival Skills.

Top 20 Survival Gadgets !

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Want to know what the most popular outdoor and survival gear is? We put this list together to show you what your fellow outdoorsmen and preppers have been buying. Grab some of this gear for yourself or give them as gifts to friends and family.

#1 – Ultimate Access Lock Pick Set

When SHTF, you don’t want to be restricted in where you can go or what you have access to, which is what makes a lock pick set so special. When you get the hang of lock picking, nothing is “off limits” anymore. It’s like having VIP access to anything you need. Use responsibly!

#2 – Solo Bivvy Camping Tent 

Some people go camping in a group with friends or family, but others prefer to go it alone. If that describes you, then check out this one-person camping tent. You don’t need to go through the work of setting up a big, bulky tent just for yourself anymore. The Solo Bivvy Camping Tent is small and easy to set up.

#3 – Essential Tactical Machete

Take a look at this deadly weapon and try telling me it isn’t badass! You can have so much fun with a machete while messing around in the woods, not to mention how much you’ll need it after the apocalypse. You can find “tactical machetes” for sale at places like WalMart, but they can’t compare to this one in terms of quality.

#4 – Armament Systems (ASP) Tactical Flashlight

You’ve seen tactical flashlights before, but you’ve never seen a tactical flashlight quite like this one. ASP is one of the most trusted names in tactical gear. Law enforcement around the country trust and use ASP as their tactical flashlight of choice, and if it’s good enough for them then it’s good enough for us.

#5 – BioLite Camp Stove 2

Have you ever recharged your phone’s battery with fire? It sounds crazy, but that’s what you can do thanks to the BioLite Camp Stove 2. This is an incredible piece of camping gear that serves two purposes. First, it regulates the heat that the fire is burning at to make it last as long as possible. The other incredible thing it does is convert that heat energy into usable electricity. It sounds strange, but everyone who uses the BioLite Camp Stove 2 falls in love with it!

#6 – BaoFang Portable Ham Radio

We’ve all been frustrated by bad reception with our phones before, and during an emergency situation that lack of reception could get you killed. That’s why you need a backup communication plan. Ham radio is used by radio enthusiasts and preppers alike. It’s a reliable way of getting in touch with emergency help and other like-minded people.

#7 – Tactical Pen Knife

Personal safety is becoming a huge issue with our country becoming a more dangerous place by the day. If you’re unarmed, you’re putting yourself at risk. The thing is, not everyone wants to be seen carrying a weapon. But with the Tactical Pen Knife, that’s no problem. It looks like an ordinary pen, but take off the cap and you have a deadly self-defense weapon ready to go at a moment’s notice.

#8 – Emergency Folding Camp Stove

Can you keep an entire stove in your pocket? You can with our folding camp stove! Don’t be fooled by its small size. This folding camp stove cranks out enough heat to cook regular meals just like at home. You can boil water, heat up food, and cook meat whether you’re in the thick of the wilderness or just backyard camping.

#9 – Emergency Car Battery Jumper

As preppers, we like to be self-reliant…but if your car’s battery ever dies then you suddenly become dependent on someone else to give you a jump. We don’t like feeling dependent on other people, which is why we came up with the Emergency Car Battery Jumper. This little gadget stores a powerful electric charge so you can self-jump your own car by yourself. No more flagging down a stranger to help you out when your car battery dies!

#10 – Tesla Plasma Arc Lighter

Unlike most lighters, this futuristic-looking gadget doesn’t rely on butane or any other flammable liquid to start fires…it uses electricity! At the push of a button, the Tesla lets out a powerful stream of electricity that burns much hotter than traditional lighters. This makes it windproof and makes it even easier to light tinder on fire. Don’t worry, it comes with built-in safety features so it only works when you want it to work. It’s fully rechargeable, so you can use it again and again without a trip to the store.

#11 – Pocket Light Solar Lantern

If you’re having trouble lighting up your campsites at night, it’s time to switch from a flashlight to a lantern. The Pocket Light Solar Lantern provides 360 degrees of light so you can see everything around you. But the coolest part about this lantern is that it’s solar chargeable, and once it’s charged you can use it to charge other electronics such as your cell phone. Definitely worth packing in your camping bag.

#12 – QuickHeat Electric Hand Warmer

This is one of those pieces of gear where once you see it, you think “I’ve gotta get one of those!” If you ever get cold hands, or if it gets chilly at night where you live, then consider getting one of our electric hand warmers. Unlike disposable hand warmers which get thrown out after one use, the QuickHeat Electric Hand Warmer is rechargeable and can be used hundreds of times. Bring it in your tent, under your bed covers, or by your keyboard while you’re at the computer. You’ll love it!

#13 – Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

There’s water all around us, but hardly any of it is safe to drink. That’s a big problem because when SHTF utilities like running water won’t be around. With the Sawyer Mini, you can drink from nearly any water source without risking your health. It’s certified to remove 99.99999% of harmful substances from the water it filters and has a lifespan of 100,000 gallons (more than an adult male will drink in their lifetime).

#14 – EasyPower Rechargeable USB Batteries

Batteries are such a pain, aren’t they? They’re heavy, take up space, and are useless junk after they’re used. The EasyPower Rechargeable USB Batteries are different. Not only are they rechargeable, but they don’t even need a special charger. Just plug them into any USB port and they’ll start charging back to full. This is a must-have in any preppers loadout.

#15 – Carson Digital Night Vision Monocular

Is there anything cooler than night vision? Night vision is one of those things that everyone wants to try, but think is too expensive. The Digital Night Vision Monoculars by Carson are a fully functional night vision tool thats affordable enough for most people’s budgets. It has a digital display, so it shows in crisp black & white instead of that blurry green light you’re used to.

#16 – EasyPower 6-in-1 Car Escape Tool

One area that tends to get overlooked while prepping is car preparedness. Most people have cars these days, and driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do. It only makes sense to have a good survival tool in your car. The 6-in-1 Car Escape Tool is useful during emergencies and during routine driving. It can shatter windows, cut seatbelts, and charge your cell phone. What’s not to love?

#17 – Modular Stealth Tactical Shovel

At first glance, the Modular Stealth Tactical Shovel might just look like any other tactical shovel…but the real magic happens on the inside! It has detachable segments so you can set the shovel length how you want it, and inside each segment are other useful tools that you might need after SHTF.

#18 – TACT Bivvy 2.0

Hypothermia is a big threat to your survival. Whether the power grid went down during winter or you’re lost in the woods at night, you need to have something to keep you warm. The Tact Bivvy 2.0 is great because it’s small and lightweight, but will keep you warmer than any other sleeping bag you’ve ever seen before. You can get the Tact Bivvy 2.0 in bright orange to help rescue teams find you or get it in green to blend in if you don’t want to be seen.

#19 – EasyPower Portable Solar Charger

Full-scale solar panel setups are expensive, but you can still use solar on a smaller scale with the EasyPower Portable Solar Charger. It’ll generate enough power to charge small electronics like cell phones even if you’re in the middle of the woods. It’s a small panel, so it takes a while to charge up, but if you strap it to your bag and leave it for a while it’ll be ready to go when you need it.

#20 – QuadraPro Portable Solar Charger

Similar to the EasyPower Solar Portable Charger, the QuadraPro Portable Solar Charger gives you a way to turn solar energy into usable electricity. The big difference between them is their size. The QuadraPro is like having four EasyPower chargers chained together. It absorbs more sunlight so it chargers much faster. If you’re an avid outdoorsman or prepper, you owe it to yourself to add this amazing solar charger to your gear collection.

The post Top 20 Outdoor and Survival Gadgets of 2018 appeared first on Survival Frog Blog.

Must Have Info For Producing Your Own Food!

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Survival Prepping

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A guest contribution from Cat Murphy to The Prepper Journal. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share then enter into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies!

Having the knowledge to grow and harvest your own food is an important part of being prepared for the future. Not only is home grown produce healthier for you, but it also can create quite a staple of energy that you can be shelf stable for many years to come. Knowing what growing zone you are in, as well as what grows well in your area, is important to getting the most out of your garden. Consider this guide to understanding your growing zone for a bountiful harvest this next year:

Find Your Zone

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a useful tool in being able to understand the growing zone that your home is in. This map takes into account the minimum low temperature in your area and then categorizes that into different zones. You’ll see that lower zones are located North in colder climates while higher zones are located in the South. A scale from one (1) to thirteen (13) is then color coded and further classified into two parts: A and B. These classifications relate to slight differences within the same growing zone that could be important to know for certain plants.

It is also important to locate your specific area. The zones are not defined by straight lines and you can see many areas that are a different growing zone due to their elevation and proximity to other factors. Microclimates occur all around the country so make sure that your check your exact location to find the correct growing zone for your area. Just because your home is in the South doesn’t mean that it has a very high growing zone.

Know Your Plants

Many preppers will know the native plants that are common within the area. These are the plants that grow in both wild locations as well as cultivated gardens. Native plants are always the best choices to use when choosing plants that will produce a bountiful harvest. Plants like berries or fruit trees that are easily grown in your area make a great addition to a garden. These plants won’t be easily damaged by weather and will require little added moisture making them a great option.

Other plants that are great for a bountiful harvest will be fruits and vegetables that you can grow in the garden. Many of these plants will state a wide range of zones that they can grow in. If your zone is located within the middle of the range,you should have little problems growing the plant. However, if your zone is located at either the high or low end of the range stated for that particular plant, you may have more trouble getting a good harvest. It is important to remember that the USDA Zones are just a recommendation and are no guarantee that plants will do well in your garden.

Pay Attention to Conditions

It is also important to take into consideration the unique characteristics of your home and land when planning a garden. If your soil is usually wet and you have little drainage you may need to build a raised bed garden to keep plants from drowning. Other homes may be in a high growing zone but located next to a very windy area that will greatly affect plant growth. Even small things like the sun reflection from surrounding buildings can increase the heat and humidity of your garden. Consider keeping an eye on the spot in the yard that will become the garden and note different conditions during different times of the day. This will help you better understand the growing conditions of your particular yard as well as tailor your plants to those that will enjoy said conditions.

Know Your Weather

If you’ve lived in any area for a long amount of time you will be able to start to understand the weather patterns. The small differences in the growing zones vary greatly and you are the best person to compare how the weather looked last year in compared to this year. Pay attention to weather patterns and note when certain times of the year were rainy or dry. This experience that you have with your land is second to none when knowing your specific growing location.

This includes knowing when the last and first frosts will be in your area. Last frosts can vary greatly between the growing zones with many southern locations not having a frost at all. Last frosts will tell you when it is safe to get seeds into the ground to have the maximum amount of time in the garden. First frost dates that arrive in the fall or early winter are also good to know when trying to stretch your fall plants to create more of a harvest. Knowing both of these dates is essential in growing a garden and being able to create a bountiful harvest.

Plant Cool and Warm Season Plants

Check the labels and information on every plant that you plan to plant in the garden. These labels will help you identify when the seed should be sown as well as how long until it will be ready to harvest. Seed information is incredibly helpful when planting a garden and keeping tabs on the seed specifics will easily increase a harvest.


Understanding the difference between cool and warm season plants is also important in gardening. Many preppers will start their gardening season with cool season plants that enjoy the cooler temperatures of spring. Once the summer hits warm season plants will take over with their love of plenty of sun and hot temperatures. Cool season plants are then planted again in the fall to take advantage of the cooling temperatures.

Examples of cool season plants include lettuce, peas, broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower. Warm season plants include tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, squash, melons, peppers and potatoes. Berries usually bridge the gap between cool and warm season plants as strawberries are usually harvested in May-June and blackberries are harvested in late August. Raspberries come in two season varieties that are either harvested in early Summer or early Fall.

Best Produce Per Region

Preppers located in the Northern regions of the country will have more luck with cool season fruits and vegetables like lettuce, peas, and broccoli. Carrots are also a cool season vegetable that do very well canned and stored long term.

Southern preppers will see more success with warm season fruits and vegetables like melons, citrus, and tomatoes. These acidic foods also do well when canned and stored for the future.

Those preppers in the Western portions of the country will have a fair mix of cool and warm season produce from their garden. The Pacific Northwest area lends nicely for great berry produce as well as prime conditions for apples. California preppers will enjoy almost year-round growing conditions with little chance of frost.

East Coast preppers will also find a fair share of warm and including many vegetables that will do well in certain conditions. A fair amount of rain from the Atlantic will help provide these areas with enough moisture without the need for much irrigation.

Growing enough food to feed your family now, as well as later, is as important as a prepper. Understanding your growing zone is the first step to creating a garden that will not only do well in your climate but also become a substantial part of your plans for the future. Consider all of these tips when understanding your growing zone for a bountiful harvest this year.

Cat Murphy is a gardening and landscaping writer, and outdoor extraordinaire. She enjoys cooking for family and friends and going on long hikes anywhere and everywhere in nature.

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The post Understanding Your Growing Zone for A Bountiful Harvest appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

You really should take a close look at this!

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by Charles

Handgunners today enjoy a market crowded with excellent options. Some writers and experts have dubbed the current era of firearms a second golden age at least so far as refinement, if not innovation is concerned. You cannot walk into a gun shop anywhere without tripping over stacks of handguns that are so good in so many ways we flat would not have believed it possible even 30 years ago.

Thanks to the increasing synthesis of social media for entertainment as well as advertising and other commercial purposes, it is easy to get caught up with the notion that highly customized, expensive or exotic foreign pistols are the only options for the discerning shooter. Seeing a stock gun adorn the feeds of anyone on social media is rarer and rarer.

But is that true? Are you hopelessly outmoded and outmatched if you do not spring and shell out a mortgage payment for a tricked-out handgun? Happily, absolutely not! In fact, there are more excellent, high-performance stock handguns to choose form than ever before, and what’s more, there are a slew of options under $500 that will serve you dependably and not bust your piggy bank.

A reliable handgun and plenty of practice turns out results that never go out of style. In this article we’ll be showcasing a brace of 10 great handguns that you can trust without spending a ton of cash. So grab your notepad and let’s get to the list!


All of the handguns on this list are good, dependable handguns suitable for a variety of tasks with one hard requirement: they must all be solid enough to be relied on for self-defense, in keeping with the purpose of this site, which is to help you be prepared for whatever life throws at you.

So while they may have other attributes that make them better or worse for competitive shooting,  target shooting or some other activity, you can be assured that any gun on this list is reliable enough to bet your hide on when the chips are down, first and foremost. So no matter how good some other handguns are purported to be in the “budget” or entry level category, if you don’t see them on this list, you do not want to take your chances with them!

Below you’ll find fullsize pistols and compacts, revolvers and semi-autos, but the one thing they have in common is that they are an excellent bang for your buck. They are also all available new production, and were chosen for a consistent street price of $500 or less. You can get some truly excellent handguns used for less than $500, especially if you are willing to track down certain out of production models, but that is not keeping in the spirit of our list.

That’s all the preamble out of the way. Let’s get to the list!


Springfield Armory XD 9 fullsize

Springfield Armory XD 9 Fullsize, 9mm Luger

The 3rd sister in the Great Striker-Fired Pistol Race of the early 2000’s, the XD has stuck around and developed a loyal following despite the best efforts of the Glock and M&P to completely supplant it. Springfield Armory’s premier polymer handgun is well known for its nice control layout, general reliability and good trigger.

Its standard loaded chamber and striker status indicators, trigger safety, and grip safety ala the 1911 have endeared the XD to fans of redundant passive safety systems. While the grip safety in particular is a love-or-leave-it feature, as long as shooters take care to maintain a full grip on the gun it is a non-issue.

The XD is a nice shooting pistol, and though not quite at the same level of quality as the Glock and M&P, the vast majority of prospective purchases will find it a dependable pistol, easy to shoot and very worthy of your hard-earned dollars.


Smith and Wesson SD9VE

Smith & Wesson SD9VE, 9mm Luger

A direct descendant of S&W’s Glock rip-off, the Sigma, the SD9VE series guns have come into their own after that contentious copycatting incident eventually bore sweet fruit in the form of the M&P. Comparing the cruddy Sigma to the SD9VE will show the latter’s considerable refinement over that earlier polymer gun, refinement it has in spades.

The SD9VE is a no-frills striker-fired gun, but one that is reliable, durable and packed with plenty of smart features. The frame is aggressively textured on all sides, and also has matching texture “finger locators above the trigger guard on both sides to help the user remember, and keep, their finger outside the trigger guard when the pistol is in hand.

The standard 3-dot steel sights will present a familiar sight picture to new and beginning shooters alike, while the stainless slide is adorned with wide, but ample, serrations fore and aft, both furnishing shooters a sure grip no matter how they prefer to charge the slide, and also while conducting press checks.

Most importantly, the trigger is far, far improved over its clunky ancestor the Sigma, and the SD9VE is another surprisingly good shooting pistol made better for its (typically) under $400 price tag.


Taurus Model 65

Taurus Model 65, .357 Magnum

Sometimes you just need to get back to basics. If what you are hankering for is a potent, well-balanced, fullsize revolver, the Taurus Model 65 is just the ticket. Packing 6 rounds of the legendary .357 Magnum in a svelte medium frame, this revolver will satisfy your wheelgun jonesing.

This classic configuration is no throwback; it has all the features discerning revolver fans expect on the best of modern actions. A transfer bar safety, integral locking system and ergonomic rubber grip and a nice trigger, though not quite at the level of their inspired and legendary competitor Smith & Wesson.

This revolver can be loaded with barn-burning .357 Magnums for serious effectiveness, or loaded down with the more sedate .38 Special for those who like a little less blast and recoil. All around a great entry-level revolver: fine balance, packs a punch and a good trigger.


Ruger LCR, .38 Special

Ruger LCR, .38 Special

The second revolver on our list, only where the Taurus Model 65 is a fullsize powerhouse, the Ruger LCR is a flyweight concealment piece. But don’t be fooled; it is no pipsqueak! Firing +P .38 Special, this little five shot is snub nose is more than capable as a defensive piece.

Ruger has long made darned tough revolvers in all sizes and calibers. But before the advent of the LCR they all shared one character flaw: they are all heavy! Even the small SP101 was a tiny tank of a handgun, but the LCR has bucked that trademark for the better with its use of polymer and lightweight alloys. Weighing in at just 13 ½ ounces, you’d be forgiven for forgetting you were even carrying this airy revolver!

But the LCR is far more than just a lightweight last-ditch blaster. It has one of the best stock triggers on any production revolver from any manufacturer; smooth, virtually hitch-free and with a clean break. Combined with the better than average sights in its class the LCR is a pocket rocket, a snubbie that can be shot nearly as well as a fullsize revolver.

For concealed carry or backup purposes, the LCR .38 Special is tough to beat at any price.


Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield

Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield, 9mm Luger

The baby brother in the M&P family, the Shield only gives up size to its larger siblings, not performance. Slimming down to a 7 or 8 shot single stack frame did nothing to dispossess the Shield of any of  the strong characteristics of the M&P line- good trigger, good control placement, rugged reliability- and adding also a manual thumb safety to the bargain.

Ideal for deep concealment or backup use, the Shield fits nearly in the palm of your hand, but handles and shoots like its fullsize brethren. Included are two magazines, one that fits flush in the frame to maximize concealment and another, extended magazine that allows one additional round and extends the grip a smidge. Besides giving you one backup magazine to carry off the bat, this setup also allows you to tailor the gun slightly to your carry position.

Dead tough, durable and a superb shooter, the Shield is a strong contender for the best shooting handgun on this list.


Ruger Security-9

Ruger Security-9, 9mm Luger

Ruger’s latest autoloader offering is a revival of their legendary Security livery last seen on the classic and beloved Security Six revolver. The Security-9 is about as far away from that pistol as it gets, though: a thoroughly modern polymer handgun packing 15 rounds of 9mm in a magazine, this new self-protection piece packs in lots of features at a jaw-dropping price.

The action is somewhat rare among semi-autos today. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Security-9 is a striker fired gun, but it isn’t. Instead it is a single-action pistol with an internal hammer, ala its smaller cousin the LCP and F.N. Five-Seven. This provides a couple of perks: first, the trigger is a fair bit nicer than most competing striker-fired handguns. Second, it is much easier to charge the slide compared to a striker fired gun. This makes the Security-9 especially nice for those with less strength who may struggle with other semi-autos.

All of this is rounded out by nice sights with interchangeable colored inserts, full-length guide rails and an accessory rail that will fit nearly all lights or lasers. Even better, the Security-9 is available with an integrated Viridian laser sight and is still under $500. A tough pistol to beat by feature set, and all backed up by Ruger’s legendary customer care.

Beretta Tomcat Inox, .32 ACP

Sometimes it just has to fit in your pocket. If you need a truly tiny gun to ride where others can’t, and you don’t want to sacrifice quality, look no further than the mini but mighty Beretta Tomcat. This iconic .32 features the distinctive tip-up barrel of most Beretta small frame pistols that allows simple loading and verification of the chamber and a   corrosion resistant stainless finish that is classy and practical.

The Tomcat is a petite DA/SA gun that features a manual safety. Besides blocking the fire control, the safety also locks the slide for the ultimate assurance that even fully loaded this little pocket gun will behave itself and you can carry with total confidence, free from worry of any accidental discharge (so long as you don’t screw up).

Guns this size are never easy to shoot well, and the .32 ACP is not on anyone’s list of man-stoppers, but when one really needs tiny pistol for whatever reason the Tomcat is one ferocious feline.

Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight, .38 Special

Long the standard in double-action revolvers, with a proud history stretching back to before the 20th century, Smith & Wesson know wheelguns. Their 642 Airweight is no exception. This slim, slick .38 is a perfect example of a snubbie.

The 642 carries 5 rounds of .38 Special in a form factor that is just about as slender as you can make a revolver this size. Impeccably finished and fitted, the 642 is heir apparent to the legendary excellence that has see S&W endure well into the 21st century. The trigger is smooth, but a little heavy with some pronounced stacking near the end of travel, but it is very manageable, especially when shooting at typical distances where a handgun of this nature is likely to be employed.

Reliable to a fault and a joy to carry, the 642 is a perfect companion for those who want to carry a classic defensive gun on their travels.

Sig Sauer SP2022, 9mm Luger

Long viewed as the stepchild of the Sig Sauer pistol line, the SP2022 is actually an excellent DA/SA handgun in all aspects, one more than worthy of being venerated right alongside its classic P-Series peers. Way back in the late 1990’s, Sig, was one of the first major manufacturers to go “all-in” on turning out a modern take on a combat handgun rendered in polymer, this was the SP2009 and SP2340, in 9mm and .40 respectively.

The controls were instantly familiar to anyone who had user one of Sig’s P226’s or P220’s. The internals were different, but this new gun was light, and it could shoot. It also featured a (proprietary) light rail on the dustcover and interchangeable grip shells for fitting different shooters. Fast forward a decade and change and the SP2009 has evolved slightly into the SP2022: same great concept, only with a modern accessory rail.

The SP2022 is a dynamite traditional double action pistol: ultra-reliable, a super trigger on any DA/SA, shockingly accurate and very easy to carry thanks to its light weight. This has been a sleeper for Sig for a long, long time, and only in the past several years have they started to catch on in America. Europe, for once, was on board with these guns for some time since.

If you want A-tier reliability and durability at a budget price, this is your pistol.

Ruger 22/45 Tactical, .22 LR

Ruger’s 3rd entry on our list, and a special purpose handgun without peer. Most shooter’s see Big Red’s classic rimfires as training, plinking and target shooting guns, but for those who have difficulty running larger, service caliber pistols or those who need to stay really, realllly, quiet, they can work wonders.

Couple reasons why this is so. First, for anyone, the 22/45’s handle and shoot much like a similarly sized “full power” pistol. Form factor, handling and control layout is very much like it would be on another handgun its size. Second, for those who may struggle with another semi-auto, loading the thin magazines with an integrated follower peg and charging the bolt is far simpler than other pistols. Third, for Sneaky Pete-types, the threaded muzzle, under barrel and receiver top rail allow mounting of silencers, optics and lasers or flashlights, same as any “real” pistol.

What’s more and most important, the 22/45’s are renowned for their unflinching reliability with almost any kind of .22 ammo. That is no mean feat, as owners of little rimfires will attest. Combine this dependability and feature set with high-quality .22 LR loads and you have a rimfire that can serve as a primary defensive gun for certain applications.

Underestimate this one at your own peril; this .22 has the genes of bigger, meaner guns.


You don’t have to spend a thousand bucks or more to get a quality defensive handgun in this day and time. You don’t even have to go perusing the bargain bin or pre-owned case at the local gun shop. Plenty of manufacturers are turning out great guns at fair and modest prices, ones that are suitable for defense and a whole lot more.

If you are on a tight budget, or just don’t like the notion of dropping $800 large on a pistol, give this list a look and you are sure to find a pistol to fit your preferences and purpose.

top handguns under 500 bucks

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