07 September 2020

Getting the Most From Your Baofeng...

The novices love them and purists hate them but their usefulness cannot be denied. The little handheld Baofeng radios are dirt cheap, rugged, loaded with features and they just plain work! Whether you choose the 5-watt UV-5R, the 8-watt BF-F8HP (which is really nothing more than an upgraded UV-5R), the 5w UV-82 or 8w UV-82HP, you'll have a radio that will bring you years of enjoyment and potentially life-saving capabilities in emergency situations. The radios listed above are by far the most popular amongst outdoorsmen, preppers and survivalists and they are all dual-band radios, which means that they can operate on VHF which is, depending on model, 136 to 174 MHz and UHF which is 400 to either 480 or 520MHz. Understand that while you can listen to all of these, there is only a limited range that you can actually LEGALLY talk on.

Are there better radios out there? Of course there are, for 10 times the money and half the frequencies. You see, the U. S. government restricts domestic radios to a very specific range of frequencies, most of which require a license. I will post another article soon that will clear up some the whys and where-to-fores of some of the laws and restrictions imposed by our Federal Communications Commission and how they affect you but the purpose of this article is for all those that already have their radios and are trying to figure out what kind of accessories they need for them and brother, there are plenty to choose from!

Let's start with antennas...

Generally speaking, no matter what kind of radio you have, the higher you can get the antenna, the clearer your radio will sound and the farther that it will both transmit and receive. A 5-watt radio may talk 50 or even 100 miles from the top a 10,000' mountain but may barely reach a couple of blocks in town. The antenna is key.

Antennas used for two-way voice communication MUST be tuned to the radio that they are servicing. This means that the Standing Wave Ratio or SWR must be set to the radio. To accomplish this, one must have an SWR meter and the knowledge to use it. However, all of the antennas described below are tuned close enough from the factory and should work fine with the exception of the detached, base antennas. If your SWR's are too far off, you can fry your radio. Don't chance it. No matter where you live, there is most likely a radio shop, a ham operator or hobbyist nearby that can help you with this procedure.

  • The flexible "rubber ducky" antenna that comes stock on the radio lacks in performance but is sufficient for most day-to-day activities. It is flexible and handy for general, portable use like hiking, hunting, etc where your contacts are not too far away.
  • A step up from that is the flexible whip antenna which is nothing more than rubber ducky on steroids. Its quite flexible and is 15.6" long. The one I use is the Nagoya NA-771. The whip antenna greatly improves performance and range but is a tad awkward to carry in the woods. It works best sitting in a window sill at home or at a campsite or something like that.
  • The collapsible or retractable antenna is the best of both worlds. When it is collapsed, it is maybe 5" long and will do anything the rubber ducky will do. Extended, it is the equal of the whip antenna. A word of caution on this antenna... it is NOT flexible! If you drop it and it lands on the antenna, it will likely break. Carry a spare in your pocket or backpack if your going to be out in the boonies or carry a cheap rubber ducky as a back-up! Mine is a Nagoya NA-771R
  • Another option for rigorous, outdoor activities is the "tactical" antenna. They are very similar to older military antennas. They are flat, exceedingly flexible and actually fold for transport. Approximate lengths of the 3 that are commonly available are: + 18", 30" and 43". These will do almost anything that your radio is capable of doing. They are not at all expensive and very useful.
  • Looking for communication security? Well, practically speaking, there's really no such thing, but here's something that will help. The "stubby" antenna. The stubby is 1.5" to 2" long, depending model and manufacturer. Some of them are VERY flexible and pretty much indestructible. The fact that they are so short means that they will not transmit very far. Use one of these and turn your radio down to low power and you're not providing information to people across the valley or giving away that favorite hunting or fishing spot. You might squeeze a mile out of this antenna combined with low power on your radio if there is nothing in the way. In the woods or in town, you may only get a few hundred yards out of it compared to maybe 10 or 20 miles, depending on conditions, out of a whip antenna and a full power radio.
  • There are also magnetic antennas that you can sit on the roof of your car and turn your handheld into a mobile or set it on the rain gutter or a piece of steel on your house and have an instant base station. They vary in height from about 14" to over 30".
  •  With the right connectors, you can hook up a big base antenna to your little handheld and get performance out of it that will blow your socks off! That's right, turn it into a respectable, boomin' base station! 
  • You can also build effective, expedient antennas very easily and very inexpensively with nothing but a couple of connectors and a roll of wire. There are hundreds of examples on YouTube.
  • One last thing regarding antennas. Make sure your antenna is right for your radio! Just any old antenna will not work. For instance, CB antennas will not work on ham radios. You need to make sure the antenna will handle the power that your radio puts out and that it is specifically designed for the frequencies that you plan to use.
OK, let's move on...
Power and Charging Options
Of course, your radio comes with an AC cord and charging cradle to charge any place that there's AC current. But, behold the options!
All variations of the UV-5R and UV-82 (and some others) have optional extended batteries available for them. The extended battery for the 5R series has a built-in jack for a charging plug to allow you to charge the battery sans charging cradle. Some of these more than double the time you can spend on your radios. The less you talk on your radio, the longer the battery lasts. Talking uses much more juice than just listening. When I'm out in the field, I usually run the extended battery first. If I'm going to be out for quite awhile, I'll drop one of the stock batteries in my shirt pocket to get home on.
Another battery option is the battery pack which is available for both types of radios. A battery pack uses commonly available alkaline batteries installed in a case that is dimensionally identical to the stock battery. The 5R series uses AA batteries while the 82 series uses AAA. The idea behind this is to simply have one more option to keep your radio running in the absence of power to charge your batteries. 
Next up, we have a charger that plugs into your cigarette lighter or power source. The other end plugs into the charging cradle that came with your radio. Be very careful of 2 things here. Some of these really are chargers as described above but there are a couple of imposters. One of them is a charger alright but it has a smaller plug and works only in the extended battery of the 5R series, NOT the charging cradle! The other one is not a charger at all. It is a power source only. It plugs into the cig lighter socket but the other end of it is a blank case that installs in place of the stock battery in your radio. This allows constant power, enabling you to run your handheld radio as a dedicated mobile radio without using batteries. They have one for both series of radios. This little gem along with a magnetic antenna and a hand mic equals a mobile radio!

OK, let's see what else we have here... Oh! Here's something, a USB charger. This little $10 accessory lets you charge your radio any place you can charge your phone. Plug it in to any USB power receptacle in your car, home or your PC. You can also use one of these to plug into one of those little solar phone chargers. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR HAVING A DEAD RADIO!

Next order of business is microphones. Four choices, really. Quite naturally, you can just use the built-in mic in the radio. Next choice is the little headset that comes with the radio. They work ok but they not my favorites. For recreational purposes, they're fine. Next is the hand mic or collar mic as some call it. This is a separate mic that plugs into the side of the radio like the stock headset. You know, like the cops use. This is a must if you are using your radio for a base or mobile. Lastly is the throat mic. Hands down my absolute favorite. As the name implies, it wraps around your throat and places two sensors right beside your larynx. The throat mic picks up vibration, not sound. This means no background noise to clutter your transmission and you don't have to holler to talk over the noise on your end. You can even whisper and still be heard!

There's probably something that I'm leaving out but this should keep you busy for a little while!



In Liberty, Cope Reynolds (Desertscout) 

 Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona 

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05 August 2020

Dark Times


by Cope Reynolds

I posted something on Facebook a few days ago that some of you may have seen. It was about my childhood. It was nice to reminisce and I think many of you felt the same way. However, the more I think about it, the darker it becomes.

A recently married young friend of mine texted me not long after I posted that with some serious concerns. This young lady is on the young side of Generation Z Millennial age but she was raised right and she gets it. She's desperately concerned about the upcoming election. She understands that if we lose a couple of seats in Arizona, we turn Blue. She understands that if Trump loses, the Nation turns Blue and she understands what that means. She understands that widespread violence in this country is inevitable and all of this disturbs her deeply. But the biggest thing that concerns her is bringing children into this world in its current state of affairs. Oh, how I grieve for her and those like her! Kids her age should not have to worry about such things.

I know times change and things evolve. This has been going on since the beginning of time but I don't believe that any generation in history has witnessed as much deterioration of morality and loss of human values in such a short time as mine has.

Every generation in history has witnessed a certain degree of evolution in technology. But mine? I can remember fresh milk being delivered to our front porch in glass bottles with cardboard lids. I remember party lines and phones with dials and cords. I remember mercurochrome and merthiolate. Roller skate keys, church keys and bicycles with steel frames, fenders and one speed. Etch-a-sketch, Spirograph and Slapjack. No digital watches, cellphones or portable computers. Word processors were called typewriters. 

I remember going from no such thing as automobile air conditioning to having a little plastic unit with a fan that sat on the transmission hump that you filled ice cubes. Virtually no 4-lane highways, no radial tires and the standard car warranty was only good for 1 year/12,000 miles. Yes, I remember when postage stamps cost a nickel and all long-distance calls went through an operator. I remember when gas was 19 cents a gallon and a new car cost around 2500 bucks. Minimum wage was a buck and quarter and a dozen eggs was about 40 cents.

I could go to the Sunday matinee at the Allen Theater with a quarter and that would get me into the show with enough left over for a coke and popcorn and penny bubblegum was everywhere. We listened to wonderful, wholesome music and every movie on TV was suitable for every member of the family.

Hunting was normal. Nearly every family we knew went to the woods during deer season and spent a few days together camping and enjoying the clean air and beautiful scenery. Practically every boy (and a few girls) got a .22 rifle for their birthday by the time they were 6 or 8 years old. Most of us that were fortunate enough to live on farms and ranches were allowed to go hunting for small game and varmints by ourselves shortly after that.

We rode in the back of the truck, drank out of the garden hose and went skinny dippin’ in the river. We didn’t wear seat belts in the car or helmets when we rode bicycles or horses. There was lead in the paint on our walls and on the baby crib, water pipes were made out of lead and toothpaste came in lead tubes.

Kids were allowed to walk home at dusk or even a little after dark. People routinely went to neighbors’ homes to play pinochle and Yahtzee, eat dinner and visit. Doors were never locked and there was a rifle in the back window of practically every pick-up truck you saw. Guns were purchased at the gun shop or hardware store over the counter like a screwdriver. Age didn't matter unless the clerk knew your daddy and questioned your permission to buy one. Almost everyone had a daddy.

Dynamite and strychnine could be bought over the counter at the hardware store and I could walk into Ross Sporting Goods and buy a box of. 22 shells when I was 9. All of this and still nearly every report of violent crime was a fist fight down at the Office Bar.

What I remember most is freedom and liberty. These wonderful benefits were exercised regularly and we didn’t even really know we were doing it. It was just life. It’s the way things were. We didn’t realize we had it so good until we didn’t. Ronald Reagan said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free". Have we reached that generation?

DAMN, what a wonderful life we had in those days! Where are we at now? Compare every item above to present day and throw in some of your own. People can't do anything for themselves anymore and the "life skills" that kids are taught are how to play games on electronic devices and change the settings on grandma's cell phone. Kids are raised by X-boxes and Play Stations and many of them are introduced to drugs, sex and crime before they have pubic hair. I understand that there are exceptions but most kids nowadays can't sharpen a knife, build a fire, gut a rabbit, shoot a gun, change a tire, drive a nail or dig a ditch. How are they to save our Nation?

Its no damned wonder my friend is worried about her future! Dark times are upon us...

By the way, about having kids…

God has a Plan. He put us here to work out our salvation and “be fruitful and multiply”. At no time did He say, “OK, things are looking a little bleak so you can disregard everything I said previously”. No, the Plan has not changed. Babies still need to come into this world to be given the opportunity see how they do on this test called life. Whatever happens, it is supposed to happen. We may not like or agree with it but it is not our decision. Live your life, love your life, have fun when you can, fight when you have to. Things change but this is your world now. Make the best of it!


22 May 2020

He Said, She Said...

"Some people just need to be shot!" Have you ever said that when you were aggravated due to the actions of others? Have you ever heard anyone say it? Of course you have. Or how about, "That guy made me so mad I could have killed him!"? It may not be very appetizing to some of the kinder, gentler amongst us but it is, nevertheless, a pretty common phrase. Does anyone that says it really mean it? Although I'm sure there are exceptions, probably not.  Do you figure anyone that says that during a moment of frustration actually plans on carrying it out? Probably not. 

A very good friend of mine was making a delivery in a company vehicle for the company that he worked for a few days ago when a woman pulled out in front of him and almost ran him into wall.  Of course, the oblivious lady continued on her way.

A short time later while in the back of the store and out of earshot of customers, our pet phrase of the day popped out of my understandably still frustrated friend's mouth. Of the only two colleagues that heard him, one thought nothing of it, agreed and went on about his business. The other, a whiny-assed, snot-nosed, lilly-livered, pantywaist  punk, swallowed hard, dribbled a little pee down one leg, tucked his tail between his legs and crawled off to a dark corner to make a phone call. He bypassed the store manager (who is also a friend of mine and would have nipped it in the bud), the district manager and called HR directly. What happened after that is as astonishing as all the toilet paper in America evaporating. 

Instead of asking my friend what the circumstances were and getting his side of the story, they IMMEDIATELY suspended him, evacuated the store and locked it up. The next day, two policemen showed up at his house to serve trespass papers. The cops were told by the company that my friend was armed and dangerous and to approach him with caution. Of course, when the cops figured out who it was, they shook their heads, delivered the papers, conducted the customary BS session and went on their way. My friend ultimately quit his job in an effort to head off any further persecution by the company. 

The company? O'Reilly Auto Parts, Store # 3563 right here in Show Low, AZ whom I will never spend another penny with. Nor will I ever do business with any O'Reilly since this was ultimately a corporate decision. (Please consider this story before making your next auto parts purchase). I am completely dumbstruck by this turn of events. This is the world we live in. A world where a person can be accused, convicted and punished simply on the word of another without even being able to offer their side of the story.

This brings us to a closely related point and that point is; always, always be careful what you say, who you say it to, which else may be listening and might be the repercussions if the wrong person hears it?

Some of the foolishness that I'm seeing on Facebook is going to get good people taken out of the struggle prematurely, one way or another. This is not a 1st amendment issue. This is an ego issue. Most of posts calling for organization and revolution are either from scatterbrained, know-nothing, wannabe patriots that get on FB and stroke each into a feeding frenzy or from provocateurs trying to stir things up. The smarter patriots are discussing the state of the Nation more discreetly.

 A few years ago it was a little different. If you think the powers that be are not watching and taking notes, you're crazy as hell. Folks, as the saying goes, the genie is out of the bottle. He will not go back in of his own accord, not without a substantial amount of persuasion. If you want to be part of the solution and not have to watch what happens to America on the news from a jail cell, please put some thought into what you say and do and who you say it to. I promise you that if America winds up in an internal conflict, it will NOT be won on Facebook!

20 July 2019



The state that the Nation is in right now with its deep-seated government corruption, immigration and economic problems, threats of terrorist attacks; both foreign and domestic along with the ever-present possibility of war with Iran, China, Korea, Russia and probably a half dozen others, has had me thinking about the following topic quite a bit lately. I talked about it extensively on my radio show a few days ago so I thought I'd share my thoughts with you here as well.

Let's talk about something I like to call "Riflemanship". Its hard to find a good definition for the word and some say there's no such thing. Isn't it the same as marksmanship? Well, no, no its not. Not at all. Riflemanship entails much, much more than marksmanship. Marksmanship really doesn't mean much more than you're a pretty good shot and generally under fairly favorable conditions. Let's get into this a little deeper...

The Marines Corps was on to something when they came up with the saying, "Every Marine a rifleman". Along the same lines, the United States Army likes to say that everyone's primary MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) is 11B, infantry, regardless of what your actual MOS is. In a nutshell they are both referring to the fact that first and foremost, the fighting men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces are Ground Pounders. When/if all else fails, we must be prepared to grab our rifles and gear and defend life and liberty as riflemen. Regardless of the advances in modern technology, the rifleman/infantryman will always be the backbone of any fighting force.
So what is a rifleman, exactly?

By military standards, it simply means an individual that can take their personal weapon and perform the very most basic of tasks like loading, unloading, clearing malfunctions and cleaning and be qualified to hit a man-sized target a certain number of times at designated distances. The Army usually qualifies with iron sights out to 300 meters, the Marines do the same thing at 500. (Rumor has it that the Air Force still uses paintball guns at the length of the NCO club.) So let's say we accept the military's version of "Rifleman" as the first level. The lowest and most basic level. A level which most high school kids and conscripts can achieve through the cheapest, fastest and most minimal amount of training.
Is that good enough?

It may be good enough when you have a company or battalion sized unit out on a battlefield squared off against an equal or smaller sized unit and probably good enough for personal defense scenarios in most cases. But what if you have a platoon against a company or a company against a battalion? Can the smaller unit still prevail? Yes, they can and they have. But generally not if the smaller units are cooks, mechanics or truck drivers. Not to disparage cooks, mechanics and truck drivers but generally speaking, their rifle and tactics training ended with boot camp and the field exercises and qualifications that they do a couple of times a year don't really keep them tuned up. Maybe not even if they are 11 Bang-Bangs. But if the smaller force is dedicated, determined and well-trained they have a chance. They have a much better chance if the riflemen are at the next level up from the most basic. Those that have spent more time with their weapon in varied terrains and environments. Those that can quickly and instinctively perform an emergency reload or clear a malfunction and engage that target at unknown distances out to at least the same ranges that they qualified at.

But what about a squad or just a handful of soldiers, just a few, against a much larger force, say, platoon or company size, maybe even larger? They may call the warfighters in that smaller force guerrillas or even militia in some places. Unconventional warfare. This is where the Rangers, Green Beanies, SEALS, Force Recon, et al really shine. This is their territory and no one else wants it.

Now, we are stepping up to the ultimate and final level of "Riflemanship" as it pertains to engaging other human beings in mortal combat. These men are intimately familiar with a host of weapons, not just their own. Weapons not just from their country but from others. They can push that weapon platform to it's very limit as far as range goes with virtually any sighting system. They understand the concept and the internal workings of weapons in general and make impromptu repairs in the field. They, too, can perform reloads and clear malfs quickly and instinctively but they can do it just as fast and surely in the dark, in the mud and maybe while wounded. They understand the Art of the Rifle, as Jeff Cooper called it. Yes, they are certainly marksmen in their own right but they are riflemen to the Nth degree.

It takes years to achieve this level of proficiency and much dedication is required but considering the shaky future that many of us see right now, I think that's a goal that we should all work towards. We won't have anybody to call for help. There won't be any reinforcements coming from the rear. If we can't do what needs done, it simply won't get done...and it MUST!

I think we should all ponder on this long and hard while we still have time!

In Liberty, Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)
Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona

If you'd like to help support our efforts, you
can do so by donating to The Shooting Bench
by clicking the "DONATE" button below!
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Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends. 
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09 May 2019

Every Day Carry Suggestions

from SouthwestShootingAuthority.com

Like all other suggestion lists, EDC suggestions abound and are wide and varied. The only thing I will suggest to you is that you think long and hard about what you have on you, physically on you or very near you that will help you survive the first hours of a disaster or prevail in the event of a personal attack. I don't mean what you may have in a closet in the other room or downstairs in the car. I mean ON you, right now. I will bend slightly and allow a purse or briefcase that is within arm's reach at all times. Disasters frequently come with little or no warning. They may come from an unexpected direction. You may not be able to get to that closet or down to the car. What I ask people in my classes is what do you have on you at any given moment during the day, if you were to literally have to jump through the window or dash out the nearest doorway in the event of a disaster, that will help get you to a place of safety? Sadly, all too often, the answer is virtually nothing. Below, I will tell you what I carry on me every waking moment of my, 365 days a year. No exceptions.

My EDC, counting my boots and clothing, weighs 13 pounds. Here's the list in no particular order...
  • At least one good quality knife is imperative and non-negotiable. I carry 3; a folding, 3-bladed utility knife that I probably use 100 times a day, a Leatherman SuperTool 300 that saves me countless trips to the toolbox in my truck and a small, 3-bladed penknife that is surgically sharp. The penknife has two smaller blades that work well for opening low security locks like cabinets, toolboxes, etc. I have no desire to open any if these things for illegal purposes but during a disaster, it could be a useful skill for finding needed supplies and materials like 1st aid supplies, bedding, food or other potentially lifesaving items.
  • Chapstick – good for mild burns and protecting minor wounds, helping to start fires, quieting noisy metal-to-metal squeaks in your gear, lubricating threads and it even soothes chapped elbows, knuckles and lips!
  • A P-38 can opener on my keyring. Good for prying off lids, etc; use as a screwdriver and opening cans.
  • A small, good quality, one cell flashlight and extra battery. The reason I say one cell is because batteries die at the most inopportune times and it is more convenient to carry only one spare and it takes less time to change it in an emergency. I also carry a little key fob flashlight. It is about the size of a quarter and has a red led light. I carry it for those few times that I may need a subdued, low intensity light.
  • Earplugs - How many times have you been inadvertently placed in a situation where there was uncomfortable noise like maybe from machines, heavy equipment, music or shooting?
  • Small disposable lighter. This one really needs no explanation. 
  •  A small punch. I carry a Glock punch. Lots of utilitarian uses not only involving firearms but for small, incidental tasks, not necessarily disaster-related.
  • A watch. This may sound silly as many people, like myself, are never without their watch. Others say that they can simply look at their phone if they want to see what time it is and that's ok for normal, day-to-day use. However, during a disaster, it is more likely that you will lose track of your phone than something that is strapped to your wrist. Why is the ability to tell time so important? Determining pulse rate, accurately reporting events and sightings, meeting up with family members, etc.
  • Smart phone - barring an EMP, the smart phone can have many uses in an emergency even if the phone system is down or you are out of the service area. Camera, compass and maps to name a few.
  • Pen - take notes and leave messages.
  •  A quart-size Ziplock bag to protect phone and wallet in case of heavy rain or a water crossing.
  • Finish up with a good quality small to medium sized handgun and extra magazine for self-defense.
  • Training!
  • Training!!
  • Training!!!
How do I carry all this stuff comfortably? Partly because I wear 511 Tactical shirts or equivalent every day of my life. These shirts have large cargo pockets secreted behind the conventional breast pockets where I carry some of the smaller items. Everything else goes in pants pockets or on my belt. It has never been uncomfortable for me. In fact, the comfort that I get from knowing that I have done everything that I can  reasonably do to be as prepared as possible negates any inconvenience that any of this may cause. 

Your mileage may vary but that's what I do...ALWAYS!

In Liberty, Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)

Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona

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 Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends. 
GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!

08 May 2019


from Southwest Shooting Authority

In turbulent times, we may be forced to leave our homes temporarily for a few days. Depending on circumstances, we may have to leave immediately at any time during the day or night and having the bare essentials at hand and ready to go at a moment’s notice may mean the difference between life or death to you and your loved ones. 

We see all manner of lists out there that are suggested as necessary for a 72 hour kit. Many of these are unrealistically elaborate, expensive and heavy. Please bear in mind that a 72 hr. kit should be something that you can carry comfortably if you have to evacuate on foot and should contain only a minimal amount of items. All a healthy adult needs to SURVIVE comfortably for 72 hours is a change of clothes, a handful of Granola bars and a couple gallons of water. Anything beyond this should be considered carefully. Understanding that the possibility may exist for a longer stay than planned, here are a few suggestions for your kit. Keeping it minimal may even allow you to carry enough supplies for 96 hours or more instead of 72.

Two of the most important things to consider first, are water and a comfortable means of carrying your supplies. A durable, comfortable backpack is certainly the best choice for our personal kit and some families may want to include a medium sized duffle-bag for a certain amount of family items or things for the young or old that they cannot carry for themselves. If you are fortunate enough to be able to stay at or near your home, you should have plenty of water put away. If you have to leave on foot, you should make plans to carry at least enough for one day in your pack as 2-3 gallons of water would be too heavy for most people to carry along with the rest of their gear. Another option is to carry a water purification system or tablets to purify irrigation or rain water. Camelbak and HydraStorm make some outstanding packs of various sizes with built-in water bladders. There are military/law enforcement models and recreational models. The military versions are extremely well built and heavy duty but more expensive than the recreational models. An adult should be able to put everything needed in a pack with a cargo capacity of around 1800 to 2100 cubic inches. Children should have packs of from 750 to 1200 cubic inches depending on age and build. Naturally, the adults will have to carry a certain amount of the children’s gear but the children should be able to carry quite a bit of their own gear. It is essential that families plan training outings of increasingly longer hikes at least monthly with increasingly heavier packs to be certain that all members are properly prepared.

The following is a list of suggested items that should be included in your personal kit.

Enough food to keep you reasonably comfortable, but not necessarily full, for 3 days. The average adult should be able to easily get by on 2 MRE’s a day for 3 days. The more hardy and children may get by on one. The MRE’s should be stripped of non-essential weight by removing anything that you won’t eat or can’t use. Home-made meals can be a simple as Spam, jerky, dried fruit, crackers and Granola bars or something similar as long as it provides enough carbohydrates and protein to provide the energy to do whatever physical
tasks are required for your situation. Add some chocolate and hard candy.

One change of clothing with 2-3 pairs of socks and a change of underwear. Long johns, jacket, coat, knit cap or ball cap, depending on season. Add a couple of large plastic garbage bags to keep your equipment dry and to store clothing and other items in.

1-2 space blankets and a couple of disposable ponchos should be adequate for shelter and sleeping in moderate weather for most people but others may want to include a light-weight sleeping bag or a couple of blankets. Of course, additional provisions will have to be added for the very young, elderly and infirm.

Small first aid kit - Various sizes of Band-aids, surgical gloves, topical ointment, pain reliever (Motrin, Advil, etc.), hydrocortisone cream, eye wash, gauze and tape, sterile compresses, elastic bandage, Super Glue gel, suture kit, tweezers, antiseptic wipes, betadine or iodine and burn cream. Chapstick or small tube of Vaseline (numerous uses). Additional items can be added for individual needs such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, etc. but keep it reasonable.

A pair of goggles and a couple of N95 masks.

Personal hygiene items (chapstick, sunscreen, toothbrush and paste, comb, hand towel, wash cloth, bar soap, shampoo, feminine hygiene items, etc.)

Toilet paper and a few paper towels in a zip-lock bag.

A small notebook and a pencil.

Wrap-around sunglasses.

Small sewing kit to include various sizes of safety pins.

Waterproof matches and disposable lighter.

Good quality flashlight and extra batteries. Also, a couple of large candles may be helpful. Preferably beeswax candles.

GPS or compass.

Optics (compact binoculars or monocular)

25' of 5/16" or 3/8" nylon rope or mule tape and at least 25' of strong twine for securing additional items to your pack, building shelters, aiding in climbing walls or lowering your gear down an embankment, etc.

A well-made multi-tool such as Leatherman or Gerber.

Heavy duty non-folding knife and sharpening stone.

A pair of light work gloves

A pair of inexpensive FRS/GMRS or handheld ham radios and possibly a hand-held scanner

Handgun and/or short barreled shotgun and ammunition for personal defense.

The above list of supplies will be more than enough to keep a person alive, comfortable and healthy for 3 to 5 days. Those that have trained and practiced for such an emergency may survive much longer by supplementing their food supply by hunting or scavenging and obtaining water through other sources. This list will likely be modified for some individuals in a more hostile or tactical environment.

The event or series of events that cause us to have to rely on our emergency kits could very well be a situation that may last much more than 3 days. Our 72 hour kit is primarily designed to provide us with enough supplies to sustain us for the time that it takes for emergency services to get organized. THIS WILL BE AN EMERGENCY, NOT A VACATION! Public utilities and transportation may be shut down or interrupted. Be prepared to make do without phone service,  water, sewer and electricity. Stores, gas stations, schools and your job will likely be shut-down. Emergency services may be interrupted and hospitals full. It may also be prudent to seek training in first aid, land navigation, firearms use, edible plant recognition and ways to obtain water.

Long-term survival preparations are much different than what is listed above. Please don’t confuse the two and have a bunch of stuff that you can neither carry or use in 3 days as mobility may be essential.

In Liberty, Cope Reynolds (#Desertscout1)

Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona
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07 February 2019

Why Get a CCW in a "Constitutional Carry" State?

I am asked quite frequently why one should get their CCW, especially in a "constitutional carry" state (which there is really no such thing anyway). If it were truly constitutional carry, there would be no restrictions. What it really means is "permitless carry". The explanation below pertains primarily to Arizona but some of it applies nationwide. 

There are 5 pretty much indisputable reasons and 3 of them are very, very good reasons. Those reasons are:


The permit gives you the legal ability to have that weapon with you virtually everywhere you go. That means when you're out with the family, you should have your gun. I know more than one person that has said that they wont risk carrying their gun without a CCW sometimes when they're out with the family because they don't want to put the family through the trauma of the trouble they may get into if they are caught. Is that not about the dumbest thing you've ever heard?

There are also a certain number of people out there that like to beat their chest and proclaim that the "2nd amendment is their CCW". Well, to some degree, I agree with that but here's the deal... there are a number of places where carrying without a permit may be a felony. In some states, carrying at all without a permit is a felony. What that means is you are risking a very expensive ordeal and possibly a lengthy prison term for "exercising your rights". Each and every thing we do ever day of our lives can be summed up in 3 words - "risk versus reward". You have to decide in every conceivable decision that you make whether what you are about to do is worth it or not. Eat? If you don't you'll eventually die. Walk across the street against the light? Drive a little over the posted limit? Say something or be quiet? Pack a coat today? EVERYTHING comes with a consequence. Is it worth risking a felony to prove a point, especially when your family is involved? You get caught and one more patriot is out of the fight and who's going to protect your family then?


If you ever actually had to use that gun what do you think would look better to the jury; the guy who says the "2nd amendment is my CCW" or the guy that went the extra mile and took professional, certified training even though it really wasn't required?


We all travel, at least a little. The AZ permit gives you the freedom to legally carry virtually all over the country, I think 36 or 38 states now. Even if you dont use it here, its nice to have when you go to another state to visit, vacation or for business. Some states take a very dim view of carrying a gun without a permit.


"Well, I dont drink anyway"
Do you eat? How many restaurants do you know that serve alcohol? Wanna just dash into Pizza Hut and pick up a pizza for tonight? They serve beer. You're illegal as soon as you step through the door UNLESS you have a permit. If the place doesn't have a sign prohibiting guns, you are perfectly legal with a CCW. However, if they have a state-prescribed "No Guns" sign, all bets are off and you cannot legally take your weapon in there, CCW or not.


With a CCW, the feds don't have to know you bought that new gun. Just fill out the Form 4473, pay the man and walk out. No muss, no fuss.


Your name is already on a list. If you have ever bought a gun from a dealer, or bought a hunting license, subscribe to certain magazines, gotten into political discussions on social media, if you're a veteran, if you've ever been to a gun show or preparedness fair, your name and likely your face is already on a list.
Lastly, if you are not on a list, you are not doing your part to defend liberty!

OK, if anyone had any questions, that should answer most of them. There are a few additional little details but that's it in a nutshell.