Survival Defense – What About Your Gun Rights?

It’s no secret that prices and availability of ammunition have fluctuated greatly in the past several years. Politicians frequently threaten to regulate guns more tightly or even ban them altogether.

It doesn’t seem to matter who’s president. And the antigun rhetoric goes on at the federal, state and local levels.

As a public service to my readers, here’s a list of gun rights groups for your consideration or action, as the case may be.

Here’s something to keep in mind. I’ve never heard of muzzle loading firearms being on any proposed gun ban list.

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that if guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns. Choose for yourself whether or not one of your options for self defense and survival is to be an outlaw in the eyes of those in power.

SimpliSafe on Your Homestead?

Ads for SimpliSafe have been all over the radio in past months at the time of this writing. No doubt you’ve heard them. Before you write off this post as a sales pitch for them, consider this.

With crime on the rise, home security is ever more important. But is SimpliSafe only for urbanites, or is it right for your homestead?

When the company contacted me with an offer to provide content for a blog post, we exchanged several e-mails. I don’t take unsolicited content unless it meets certain conditions. But we decided on a question and answer format, aimed particularly at preppers and homesteaders.

My thanks to SimpliSafe for providing the information below. I pass it along as a public service. It’s my hope you’ll find it useful as you make decisions about keeping your home safe and secure.


DestinySurvival – Briefly describe your security system.

SimpliSafe – SimpliSafe is an award-winning, cellular home security system—built by a Harvard-educated engineer. It protects your home with wireless technology, so there is no landline that could get cut. We got rid of everything that makes most home security such a pain, too. We don’t have any annual contracts and no middlemen, which is how we keep our prices so low.

Finally, SimpliSafe will also protect you from crash and smash tactics. Burglars love to break in and destroy the keypad. With our system, though, smashing the keypad will still allow the signal to reach the police, because we moved the brains of our system to the Base Station!

DestinySurvival – Since many of my readers live in rural areas, would your security system work for homesteaders and those who live in the country? Or is it mainly for people in urban areas?

SimpliSafe – Absolutely! Our system will work anywhere there is a cellular connection. By default, each system comes with a T-Mobile SIM card, but we also offer Verizon if T-Mobile doesn’t have good coverage in your area.

If you live in an area with poor cellular connection, you can always backup your system with a landline or a broadband adaptor.

DestinySurvival – Would your system work in a shed, barn, or other outbuilding, as long as it’s wired for electricity?

SimpliSafe – We have many customers who use their systems in outhouses, sheds, or barns. There are a few things that need to be kept in mind for this.

First of all, if you have a system in your main house, your sensors in your shed need to be within 400 feet of the base station. (This range can vary depending on interference). Our sensors are all battery operated, so unless the system was exclusively for that building, you shouldn’t need any electricity.

Second of all, our sensors are not weatherized, and extreme temperatures can cause interference or damage to the sensors. If the buildings you are putting your sensors in will drop below 45 degrees or above 115 degrees, we wouldn’t recommend using your system in that location.

Finally, we always recommend that you test your system, especially when using it in a non-traditional location. Our system comes with a 60 day, money back guarantee return policy, so you can always test out the system and send it back if it doesn’t meet your needs.

DestinySurvival – Would your system work with solar power if electricity from the grid were unavailable?

SimpliSafe – We have had customers in the past use solar power for their base stations. The power supply is rated for peak use of 1.6 amps at 7.5 volts, and its peak draw requirements are 12 watts. The average usage is much lower (probably 5%-10% of peak). The base station draws around 50mA average (aka 0.05 amps) and the input requires 110 volts, so you will need to have AC power for it.

Before setting up your system to run on solar power, we highly recommend testing your setup to make sure all of the specifications are met.  We do not recommend using an aftermarket 12/24/48v power supply for the system due to the sensitivity of the electronics, so you will need to have access to 110v power to use our basestation.

DestinySurvival – Your site says batteries in your units last five years. Are these batteries hard to find and hard to replace?

SimpliSafe – Not at all! All of our batteries can be purchased either online through us, or at your local hardware store.

DestinySurvival – You have a monitoring service. Do they call local authorities if an alarm is set off? Do they know which authorities to call?

SimpliSafe – Yes, we offer two monitoring plans. Both of these plans offer full, 24/7 professional monitoring. If your alarm is set off, our monitoring company, COPS Monitoring, will call up to two primary contact numbers. If nobody picks up, or if you do not give the correct Safe Word, they will dispatch local police.

In the case of a fire alarm, COPS Monitoring will only call one primary number before dispatching the fire department. After dispatch, COPS Monitoring will make courtesy calls to any secondary contacts that you list, just to give them a heads up about the alarm.

DestinySurvival – Generally speaking, what are some tips to make a home appear less vulnerable to burglars?

SimpliSafe – There are actually many things you should take into account. Here are a few:

  • If you garden, make sure to keep your garden tidy, and only grow short plants. Tall plants can provide cover for burglars. Trim your plants back from any basement windows you may have.
  • It is also good to opt for no fence or short fence around your yard. Again, tall fences can provide cover for a burglar.
  • Add motion sensor lights outside of your home. These will trigger whenever somebody walks by, and draw attention to your home if there is somebody unwanted.
  • Especially if you have empty properties, or if you’re gone on vacation, set timer lights inside your home. This will make it look like somebody’s home, and not draw attention to an empty house.
  • Use blinds and curtains so as not to give anybody any ideas. If they don’t know what is in your home, they are less likely to break into it.
  • If you’re not going to be home for a while, have a friend or neighbor pick up your mail, or call the post office to hold your mail. Burglars look for full mailboxes as a sign of a family on vacation.
  • Always layer your home security.

We are always writing about new ways to keep yourself and your family protected. Please feel free to poke around our blog for great tips and facts!


Prepper’s Armed Defense Explains Your Options for Protecting Yourself and Your Family

Jim Cobb joined me on DestinySurvival Radio this week to talk about Prepper’s Armed Defense. It explains your options to help protect yourself and your family.

It’s not a “how to” manual for you or me to bolster our bravado. It’s not about being the aggressor. As the title suggests, it’s about defending oneself when the need arises.

Jim set out to write a book with information you can trust. You know your situation best, so you can pick and choose the options that will help keep you and your family alive, should the need to defend yourselves arise.

His Creds

With a mini-library of survival and prepper books to his credit, you may already be familiar with Jim Cobb. If not, here’s a little background.

“Jim Cobb is the author of several books focused on disaster readiness, such as Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide, Countdown to Preparedness, Prepper’s Financial Guide, and the #1 Amazon bestselling Prepper’s Home Defense. He has been a student of survivalism and prepping for about 30 years. He is the owner of, a rather popular disaster readiness resource. Jim and his family reside in the upper Midwest and he is currently working on several more books.”


Prepper's Armed Defense


His Book

At 178 pages, Prepper’s Armed Defense isn’t a long book. It’s an easy read. Illustrations are scattered throughout.

Chapters cover…

  • The Realities of Self-defense
  • Non-lethal Self-defense Options
  • Firearms
  • Projectile Weapons
  • Knives
  • Melee Weapons
  • Martial Arts Weapons
  • Homemade Weapons
  • Force Multipliers

His Approach

As with Jim’s other books, this one is well reasoned and loaded (no pun intended) with common sense. You’ll see an array of weapons and weapon wannabes you may not have thought of.

But the information is basic and uncomplicated. Any jargon or slang is defined in simple terms.

As an example, those who have used firearms a good while may find some of the info in the firearms chapter to be elementary, such as the descriptions of a revolver,a semiautomatic pistol and various long guns. But it’s good info for those not that familiar with firearms. In fact, Jim says some have thanked him for dumbing down the subject matter.

After all, we all have to start somewhere.

Speaking of ignorance–unintentional or otherwise–our media would do well to stop referring to semiautomatic rifles as assault rifles. Jim and I touched on this in our chat.

It’s clear Jim wants to help you and me to get rid of any romantic notions we may have picked up from movies and novels. Defending ourselves is a subject to be taken seriously.

And yet, as odd as it may sound, imagination–think clever and devious–will serve us well. Be resourceful.

His Advice

Face reality. Right from the start, Jim tells us the down side of needing to practice self defense. An incident will be stressful. Avoid trouble when possible. Deal circumspectly with police. Get a good lawyer.

If you’re using a firearm and pull the trigger on someone, are you justified in doing so in the sight of the law? What are you legally allowed to do where you live? The significance of this shouldn’t be underestimated.

Your job is… Keep yourself and your family alive. But if you have to take defensive action, Jim says it should be swift, violent, brutal and decisive.

If you’re going to carry any weapon for self defense, you need to be mentally prepared to use that weapon. You could put yourself in greater danger if you don’t use it when you need to.

To kill or not to kill. It depends on where we are and when we are. are you being attacked today? Or is it taking place after disaster and anarchy are the order of the day? If you have to make this decision in the here and now, again, know the laws whre you live.

When the size of your gun matters… Jim recommends shooting the largest caliber you can comfortably handle. The notion of comfortability is important. No sense in incurring recoil and its consequences any more than you have to. That should be good news especially for women shooters.

It’s also a good idea to have plenty of ammunition for your firearms. It’s better to have fewer guns and abundant ammunition for them.

Find a prepping instructor you can “mesh” with. Has the topic of self defense become too militaristic? Jim and I spend a few minutes hashing this out, and I think you’ll appreciate what he has to say.

Consider the non-lethal options. I’m glad Jim wrote a chapter on non-lethal self-defense. For those who have a fear of firearms, there are other weapons you can use, such as pepper spray, electroshock weapons, and even a very bright flashlight.

But often just the presence of a firearm in hand gives an intimidation factor to your advantage.

In any event, it’s good to know there are other options if you’re unable to use a firearm, for whatever reason.

The chapter on projectile weapons covers the bow and arrow, crossbows, slingshots and blowguns–a fine assortment of weaponry you won’t have to register.

In the chapter describing various knives, Jim reminds us that defending yourself against an attacker will be up close and personal. Do as much damage as you can as quickly as you can, then flee as fast as you can.

Melee weapons are used in close proximity to your attacker in close quarter fighting. These include brass knuckles, clubs, batons, walking sticks, blackjacks, machetes, spears and tomahawks, to name a few.

I confess, I’m not familiar with the martial arts weapons Jim describes, so I’m glad for his overview. He emphasizes the need for getting good training if you’re going to use any of these weapons.

If acquiring certain of these weapons puts them out of your reach, whether because of cost or legal issues, you’ll appreciate the chapter on homemade weapons. You’ll find a recipe for pepper spray, a molotov coctail, hairspray flame thrower, and something as simple as a rock in a sock.

Jim observes that just about anything can be a weapon, as long as enough force and creativity are applied.

Alarms, surveillance cameras and booby traps are among the topics covered in the chapter on force multipliers.

My Recommendation

There’s more to our conversation and his book than I can relate here, so be sure to listen to DestinySurvival Radio for September 15, 2016. (Right click to download.)

Jim welcomes your prepping questions. is where you can go first. He’s also on Facebook.

Don’t buy Jim’s book hoping you’re going to become a super soldier who can take on all comers. But do buy it so you can make an informed decision on what you need to protect you and your family in your particular situation.

Get Prepper’s Armed Defense by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. And protect yourself in the best way possible.


Guidelines for Surviving an Active Shooter Situation

Editor’s note: It’s only been within the past few years that we’ve heard the term “active shooter” used. It looks like it’s one we’ll need to get used to. How should we be prepared for such an eventuality?

Joe Alton, M.D., a.k.a. Dr. Bones, provides us with guidelines for surviving an active shooter situation in the following article, which is reproduced with his permission. It first appeared at Or, if you prefer, watch Joe Alton’s video below the article. – John


The Active Shooter: Staying Alive

machine gun

It’s hard to read the news without seeing reports of the latest shooting by terrorists or the deranged and disgruntled. Few believe that they could possibly wind up in the crosshairs of a gunman’s sight, but it can happen anytime, anywhere. What would be your response?

The natural response for most people is not to do anything. You’ve heard me talk about “normalcy bias” before. That’s the tendency for people to believe everything follows a pattern and that the day will proceed normally; they’re usually right. When a terrorist event breaks that pattern, however, the unprepared brain takes time to process the new situation. People will think that the sound of gunfire is fireworks, or anything less threatening than an assassin out to kill them.

Another thing most citizens believe is that law enforcement and homeland security are on the case. While these agencies do the best they can to counter situations like this, most mass shooting events end in a few minutes. There is little or no chance that help will be there at the moment you need it, so you should have a plan of action.


A person without a plan of action follows the herd. If fifty people around you drop to the floor, your natural tendency is to do the same. Cowering in fear under a table in plain view of the shooter isn’t a recipe for a good outcome. By having a plan, you will have a better chance of getting out of there in one piece.

You’re at the mall; what would your plan be if you heard gunfire nearby? What would you do first? Run? If so, where? If you couldn’t run, what would you do? These are things you should be thinking about, calmly and rationally, whenever you’re in an area where there are a lot of people. It may seem extreme to have to think of these things, but that’s what I call the “New Normal”.

With an active shooter, what you do in the first few seconds may determine your final outcome. Give yourself a head start by always knowing what’s happening around you. We call this situational awareness. Know where exits are. Know where the gunshots are coming from. Know who appears nervous or suspicious in your immediate area.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But in this era of people immersed in their smartphones, few are situationally aware and are easy targets for the active shooter.

Here’s an example: Have you ever seen a patron enter a restaurant through the door marked “employees only”, or a movie theatre through the fire exit? This is a person you’ll want to observe. In most cases, it means nothing. In rare instances, though, it could be someone that’s up to no good.

By the way, those same little-used exits might save your life: Most people will be trying to leave by the front door, just where the gunman expects them to go. Find an exit away from the direction of gunfire.

Run, Hide, and Fight

run hide fight vector

If you find yourself in the middle of a terrorist event, you should remember these three words: Run, Hide, Fight. Just as “Stop, Drop, and Roll” can save the life of someone on fire, “Run, Hide, Fight” might save the life of someone under fire. This is the order of the actions that you should be taking in an active shooter scenario.


run hide fight

Most people will hide as their first course of action. You, however, should run away from the direction of gunfire as soon as you hear it, leaving through those exits you’ve been mentally marking. This will make it less likely you and the shooter will cross paths. Forget about collecting your stuff, it will only slow you down and, face it, it’s just stuff.

If you’re in the line of sight of the shooter, run away at an angle or zig zag to make yourself a more difficult target. I know it’s not a natural action you’d think of doing, but most shooters aren’t marksmen and will miss a moving target.

A good citizen would yell for others to follow and prevent others from entering the kill zone. Don’t try to move or otherwise help the wounded, however, despite your natural tendency to want to do so. You have to get out of there and becoming the next casualty does no one any good. Even the police will leave the injured for after the shooter has been neutralized.

(One very important note: If you see law enforcement, don’t run up and hug them. Get your hands in the air, fingers spread, where officers can see them. They need to know you’re not the threat. Follow any instructions given and leave in the directions the officers came from.)

Once you’re in a safe area, call 911 if rescuers have not yet arrived.


hide 2

If there’s only one exit and the shooter is standing in front of it, running might not be an option. Your next choice is hiding.

You first want to get out of the shooter’s line of sight. We call this “concealment”, but it isn’t necessarily “cover”. If you’re concealed, you can’t be seen but a bullet might penetrate to hit you. If you have found cover, it means that you are both hidden and protected from projectiles hurled your way. Foliage is good concealment, but a thick tree trunk might be better cover.

In a building, hiding under a table in the same room as the shooter is a death sentence. Get into another room, preferably one with a door you can lock. If there is no lock, put together a barrier with desks and chairs. Turn off the lights, silence your cell phone, and stay quiet behind an additional barrier like a table or in a closet. If you can quietly alert authorities, do so. Don’t respond to voice commands unless you’re sure the danger is over; sometimes the gunman will try to lure you out of a safe place.

By accomplishing the above, you’ve just made yourself a harder target to acquire for the shooter, and he wants to do his damage as fast as possible. He’ll likely pass you by to find easier targets.



What if you can’t run, and there is no reasonable hiding place? You just might have to fight yourself out of there. This strategy isn’t always doomed to failure. You still might be able to subdue an attacker even if unarmed. Three young and unarmed men were able to do it to a shooter on a train in Paris. It’s a last resort, but it can end without a fatality as it did there.

If you don’t fight, the shooter will have a clear shot to your head and death is likely. If you fight, it might just be harder to be hit with a fatal shot.

Of course, it would be great if you knew martial arts, but any type of aggression against the gunman would disrupt their “flow” and possibly put you at an advantage. If you can, approach him from the side or rear, and go for his weapon. If you have help, all should attack at the same time from different directions while hurling objects that he has to dodge. This guy is probably not James Bond: he’ll be disconcerted and not be able to handle multiple threats at once.

If you’ve disrupted the shooter or, better, gotten the weapon out of his hands, inflict damage on him until he is dead or has stopped moving. Tough, I’ll admit, but these are tough times; commit to your actions.

Luckily, few people will find themselves in the midst of a terrorist attack like the one at San Bernardino, but I honestly believe that more are coming. Needing a plan for active shooter situations is galling to some, but it’s part of life in the New Normal. Those with a plan will have a better chance to survive this event and many other disasters in the uncertain future.


Joe Alton, MD

blaze tv 2


Find out about medicines you should have in your medical first aid kit in the Amazon bestselling book The Survival Medicine Handbook, by Joe and Amy Alton.



For more on this topic, see Surviving an Active Shooter Situation–Resources You Can Use.

One additional thought. When I put a link to this post on Facebook, someone left a comment saying that, to avoid active shooter situations, stay away from where the government is conducting drills. I couldn’t agree more. Often we find out a drill took place the day of an active shooter incident, making coincidence questionable.


How Prepared Should We Be for a Terrorist Attack?

This isn’t going to be an article on how to prepare for a terrorist attack. Those are out there already if you want to look them up. My thoughts today go in a different direction. Some readers will be upset by what follows.

In the wake of various attacks overseas, I’ve been disappointed by responses I’ve heard and read from people I respect, including personal friends, people in the prepper community, and some members of the alternative media. They’ve bought into fear mongering and have joined the masses in a call for a militaristic solution.

I’m not here to propose a broad solution. I simply want us to take a deep breath and not panic.

First of all, don’t believe everything coming from the mainstream media–or the alternative media, for that matter. Put on your thinking cap, and take everything with at least a grain of salt.

The operative approach I propose is to realize that things are not what they seem. They haven’t been for a long time now. The events related to 9/11/’01 are a prime example.

While our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the terrorist attacks we see in the news, as they well should, don’t give in to fear. Yes, the numbers reportedly killed are psychologically disarming. But how many people died across America over the last couple of days in car crashes?

We face greater threats in our everyday lives than we do from being attacked by terrorists. Those are the things we need to prepare for first.

Did you know you and I have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than being the victim of a terrorist attack?

Am I saying it couldn’t happen? No. But let’s put things in their proper perspective.

Some say it’s a matter of when, not if, that we’ll be attacked again in America with another event like 9/11. Frankly, I’m more concerned about the aftermath.

The government’s immediate reaction is to step up security, regardless of whether a credible threat exists. They say they’ll keep us safe. Meanwhile, we’re being conditioned to be afraid of our own shadows.

Do you feel more comfortable going to ball games now? Are you OK with being violated physically or by X-ray at airports? You’ll never see me on a commercial plane because I refuse to be subjected to the indignities, such as legalized sexual molestation by the TSA.

Will a SWAT team come to your door or mine because we’re preppers? Or because we may have said something believed to be contrary to the current government’s views?

It’s something to think about.

In case you believe terrorists hate us because we’re free, take a look at an article by Paul Craig Roberts called The Punishment Society, and see if you feel the same way.

If you want well thought out perspective on what’s really going on in the world, let me recommend you visit They’re one of the best. Be sure to check out The Sunday Wire, their weekly news overview podcast. No yelling. No fear mongering. Simply brilliant outlook.

If you’re concerned about active shooter situations, I’ve shared info previously here. You need to have a copy of How to Handle a Crisis, by Dennis Evers, and Jim Cobb’s Prepper’s Home Defense.

For my fellow believers in Christ, Paul’s words (quoted below) to the young pastor Timothy, are more relevant now than ever. Apply them to your life and let God give you peace of mind.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7, Holy Bible, King James Version.

Now, have a safe, happy day. And keep prepping.

A Simple Sound Amplifier

Now and then I come across an idea my late friend Gerald Franz passed along to me. I’m sharing one with you today. It’s a simple sound amplifier.

There may be a time when you want to hear someone sneaking up on your property from a distance. Or maybe you want to hear wildlife better while you’re out hunting.

There’s nothing to break. No batteries are required. Nothing elaborate to buy.

All you need is the reflector of a clamp light. You’ve probably got one in your garage. Maybe you use one for starting seedlings in the spring. Just unscrew it from the socket and use it as an ear trumpet.

That’s all there is to it. Just put it to your ear and point it at a sound source. You’ll hear a large increase of volume and a reduction in unwanted or spurious sound. All sizes work.

It pays to look around you and see how you can repurpose something you might not have thought of as having another use.


Avoiding Trouble with the Police – Part 2

This week on DestinySurvival Radio I’m reairing the second of two conversations I had in September of 2011 with Steve Silverman, founder and executive director of What we talked about then is still relevant and timely because we need to know the best ways of avoiding trouble with the police.

Don’t get me wrong. our conversation wasn’t anti-police. The fact is, most of us like to think the best of our men and women in blue. And in a perfect world, that’s as it should be.

But events have created tensions that weren’t there in the past. What you and I might think is a respectful, common sense response in an encounter with a policeman could actually get us in trouble. We need to be on the alert.

When you listen to today’s show, you’ll hear us tackle subjects like…

  • Simple rules for dealing with police.
  • What to do when a SWAT team enters your home.
  • How to conduct ourselves in the presence of privately hired security.
  • Dealing with TSA agents.
  • What to do if martial law is implemented.

You’ll notice some common threads in the two talks I had with Steve Silverman, which should help you and me come out OK in encounters with law enforcement officers.

  • Keep calm and stay cool.
  • Know your Constitutional rights.
  • Assert your rights without letting your emotions get the better of you.
  • Take a noncompliant and nonviolent approach.

These ideas are fleshed out further in two videos from–“10 Rules for Dealing with Police” and “BUSTED: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters.”

Hear my second conversation with Steve Silverman by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for May 28, 2015 (Right click to download.) If you missed last week’s show, click here for Part 1.