Monthly Archives: March 2017

Test Your Gear….

In really adverse weather.  It’ll help.

As it’s Spring now, I decided to do a 5 mile light ruck walk in ambient temps of 37 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit with an average wind of 15 mph gusting to 20.  Windchill was about 23 – 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

Did it quickly; the cold and wet helped keep me motivated to do a 14.5 minute mile average.  Did a little ‘burst’ training along the way (that means I ran for a bit every half mile or so).

Terrain was urban.  Side walks with about a mile of grass/gravel and cars doing their level best to see if they could splash me, ‘oh-so-accidentally’…hey, no big deal, I see the humor.

Clothing breaks down this way:

Shoes:  Merrell MOAB Rovers – Excellent, very light and kept my feet dry.

Socks:  Darn Tough USMC Over the Calf 3 season sock.  Ex. Cell. Ent.  Warm, dry, comfortable.  The shaft got very wet from my jeans being wet, but there was no loss in comfort or warmth.  Didn’t even know they were soaked until I got home and took them off.

Pants:  Blue Jeans – Pretty well soaked; if this had been real, they’d have tried hard to earn the reputation of cotton:  ‘The cloth of death’

T shirt – Nondescript wicking shirt.  Did ok with sweat, couldn’t do much about the water leaking on it from the jacket.

Sweater – Old school USMC ‘Wooly Pully,’ which kept me nice and warm, even though it got wet on the left shoulder where the jacket seam leaked and on the lower chest.  Haven’t found the leak yet, but it got through.  Get one of these while you’re able.  The supply is diminishing, and it’s one thing from the 70’s/80’s that’s worth while.  Ebay has them in various sizes for around $25.  Deal of the day.  No kidding.

Gloves – Under Armour thinsulate very, very thin gloves.  Did great, even when a bit wet, got my hands warm soon as I put them in my pockets.  Need to find a goretex/thinsulate light glove.  Somewhere.

Jacket – Tru Spec H20 Proof Gen 2 ECWCS Parka; about 4 years old.  Leaked. Like. A. Sieve.  Left shoulder and middle chest.  To be fair, probably needs a dip in the Nikwax ‘waterproof material’ regenerator, or  something.  Bottom line, this has got to be fixed or it gets put in the garage sale box.  Not a SHTF item.  Not the way it sits today, anyway.

Hat – Tru Spec H20 Waterproof Wide Brim Boonie Hat.  Simply, it’s not waterproof anymore.  Same drill as above.  Kept the rain out of my eyes, but as far as waterproofing goes?  No. Way.  Needs a dip in the Nikwax, “Cotton Proof” I think.

Pack – FILBE Gen 2 Assault pack.  Needs waterproofing.  Kept it off for awhile, but when I unassed the pack, I checked, and the water eventually worked it’s way through.  Everything inside was dry because I put everything in dry bags, but still, who wants to carry water weight when it’s not even drinkable?

 

Anyway, this is me upon arrival after the walk.

Bottom line of this post?  Check your gear in adverse conditions.  Make sure it works the way you want it to work now, rather than find out during a SHTF scenario that you’re screwed.

Oh…and do some more PT.

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Validated: When You Know There’s a Problem, Bring Your Rifle….

From WeaponsMan.com, here.

This is actually great!  Home invasion with brass knuckles and knives v. a home owner w/an AR & standard capacity (30 round) magazine.  Score?  Home Owner 4, Home Invader ZIP.  Heh.  Made my day! Thanks, WeaponsMan!!

If you’re not going to WeaponMan’s site every day, you oughta be!

They Brought Brass Knuckles, Knife to a Gun Fight

Midday. Your dad’s house. You and Dad are home.

https://i1.wp.com/weaponsman.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/weaponsarmorym9m4m16racksgunrackgsansnweaponcabinetarmymilitarygunscabinets.jpg

“Who needs it?” Wrong question. Right question? “How many?”

A tremendous crash comes from the glass back door of your home, and you arm yourself. The AR should back them down, but when you meet, there are three of them, in black hoodies and masks, and they threaten you. They’re only armed with tools brass knucks, and knives, but your life just became a real-life Tueller Drill in your own damn kitchen.

That appears to be what actually happened. Four youthful career criminals from Owasso, OK, went to a neighborhood in Broken Arrow, OK, in which they’d been finding easy pickings. They had burglar tools and contact weapons. The 21-year-old woman who drove the getaway car, Elizabeth Rodriguez, supposedly organized the whole thing — she knew the young man in the house, and knew what property he and his father had for stealing. Like guns.

She waited in the getaway car with her three young children while her three pals went a-viking.

The three bold youths, Max Cook, Jacob Redfearn and Jake Woodruff, were ready for resistance — they would beat it down, or stab it. They didn’t know anyone was home, or, more likely, they didn’t care.

Now, they’re beyond caring. The three young criminals are at ambient temperature — two were DRT in the kitchen, and one made it to the driveway before collapsing. The last thing he saw in his worthless thieving life was probably his getaway driver (and the three kids comprising her next generation of idiots) running away on him. Not that it did her any good. As you’ll read below, she’s in the bag and will answer for her fellow criminals’ deaths in their mutual felony enterprise.

Of course, there’s another way of looking at it. A well-off young woman in the Blogbrother’s Facebook timeline sent this:

Three CHILDREN who made a bad decision were murdered, local people rejoice. Comments on the Facebook post for this story are seriously disturbing. This state is legit Fucked up.

Blogbro’s unsympathetic comment (to us, not to his FB friend):

She’s talking about the cooling slabs of meat who pulled that home invasion in Tulsa.

Those poor children.

I think I’d piss her off if I used the expression “evolution in action.”

We’ll say this: going out on a day rain is forecast without a jacket, is a “bad decision.” Picking up a Steven Seagal film from the $5 bin is a bad decision. Conducting a violent home invasion is not remotely a bad decision: it’s an invitation to be culled. An attempted suicide. Voting yourself off the island.

Only two things happen with a home invasion: you get stopped — shot or arrested — or you get away with it — stealing somebody’s stuff, maybe hurting ’em.

https://i0.wp.com/weaponsman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/elizabeth-rodriguez.jpg One of the children was 18 or 19, so he wasn’t a “children.” Likewise, the getaway driver was a fat, stupid-looking woman of 21, Elizabeth Rodriguez. She’s not very grown-up, but she’s nominally an adult anywhere in the world. As for the rest of them, old enough to attempt the crime is old enough to pay the piper.

Rodriguez fled the scene but later showed up at the police station to demand the cops arrest the murderer of her friends.

It doesn’t work that way. She’s charged with three counts of felony murder. As well as a bunch of stuff related to the burglary.

As of this writing, neither the homeowner nor his 23-year-old son who took out the trash has been charged.

Court documents indicate the homeowner who fired the shots is Zachary Peters, 23, and that Rodriguez knew him by name. The documents note Rodriguez planned the burglary, took the three boys to the house, and was waiting in the driveway until she heard shots and left.

Wagoner County deputies said she turned herself in to give officers the names of the dead so their parents could be notified.

These four slugs were just going to keep on doing this until someone put ’em down. They were armed home invaders.

Had Peters not been home, they could well have been armed with his rifle and any other guns in the house, next time. They didn’t respect anyone else’s life, and there’s no reason anyone else should respect theirs. Blogbro was right: think of it as evolution in action. (Just a bit late in the case of Elizabeth Rodriguez, unfortunately).

Some people say — no doubt the Blogbro’s fine young friend would say — nobody needs an AR-15, nobody needs a standard-capacity magazine, why would you ever need such a thing.

We dunno. How about — three young, violent home invaders?

UPDATE: President Obama’s Own Defense Deputy Admits Obama White House Spied on Candidate/President-Elect Trump…

Shamelessly taken from Wirecutter’s site, here.  He got it, apparently, from Wisco Dave.  Great information for a Wednesday!  Please, do read the entire article.

Source: UPDATE: President Obama’s Own Defense Deputy Admits Obama White House Spied on Candidate/President-Elect Trump…

…………………………………………………………..

“With the help of MSNBC, simultaneous to her admission of first-hand specific knowledge of the administration spying on Mr. Trump, Ms. Evelyn Farkas outs herself as the key source for a New York Times report which discussed President Obama officials leaking classified information to media.

Considerable irony jumps to the forefront when you recognize, the New York Times tried to protect Evelyn Farkas as the source of their reporting by stating:

“More than a half-dozen current and former officials described various aspects of the effort to preserve and distribute the intelligence, and some said they were speaking to draw attention to the material and ensure proper investigation by Congress. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified information, nearly all of which remains secret.” (link)

D’oh.

Whoopsie.

Looks like Devin Nunes and the House Intelligence Committee has a new person to bring in for testimony.   A positive development because at this rate the media leakers will out themselves without much need for investigation.”

……………………………………………………………..

Knowingly divulging classified information to unauthorized recipients is a sure way to the “Leavenworth Hilton,” where guests get a lot of fitness time making small rocks from large ones….one can only hope the government steps up and fries this clear enemy of the Constitution.

UPDATED: Ruck Training – Some Thoughts

Spring Ruck Training Start - 80 pounds - 2 miles - 35 minutes

Spring Ruck Training Start – 80 pounds – 2 miles – 35 minutes

 

The photo above was taken in March, 2015, just as I started the Heavy Pack Conditioning stage of ruck walking after a long winter’s rest.

This year, I’m a bit behind as I haven’t started the heavy pack conditioning stage.  I’m still on the light pack (25 lbs) at 5 miles.  I’ll do that 3 times a week for the next 2 weeks and then transition.  I’m going longer with lighter weights, but I’m older and need to condition longer before I go bat-shit crazy…just sayin’.

So, you’ve started training with your ruck, right?  I mean, you’re taking walks of varying lengths with varying loads in your ruck on a regular basis, sometimes pushing the edge of your personal capability envelope and sometimes just maintaining your capabilities, right?

That’s great – as NPT members, core strength and the ability to walk long distances with varying weights on our backs is indicative of our potential effectiveness in a grid down situation in relation to being able to perform an outside the wire security patrol for ______________ days.

You’re interspersing your ruck walks with running with the ruck on no matter its weight, right?  Some folks call this, “modified burst training.”

WHAT?!?!?!?!  That’s crazy talk!!  KneesAnklesJoints!  My age! My back!  My toes!  My shoulders!  My traps!  My heart! My lungs! My achin’ a$$!

Nope.  Not crazy at all.  Yes, running with a heavy ruck, or a light one for that matter, cannot be done by everyone due to physical or medical limitations.  For those who don’t have those limitations, however, it’s an effective way to increase your capabilities.  And you should be the judge of when and how far you can do these runs.  Remember, a little at a time.

If you practice this and stay consistent, going as slow as you need to to ensure you don’t hurt yourself or over-train, after a few months you’ll find that when you’re doing other field related NPT training, especially patrolling, you don’t tire as easily and have more energy at the end of the day.  Of course, coupled with any training program is the foundation of good nutrition (cut back on the alcohol, processed food, bread, and sugar/starches) and sufficient rest (7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep).  A quick aside on injuries:  If you find yourself with a pulled whatever, don’t be afraid to knock off a week or two to let your body heal.  Training will always be there, and improvement won’t come as fast if you try to train while injured.  Pushing through discomfort is one thing; trying to push through an injury is quit another.

The key to success in this kind of conditioning, at least in my experience, is consistency, not necessarily intensity, at first (intensity will come later, as your body gets used to the muscle work and adapts to it, and you want to improve more).  Time really is on your side here.  So, take your time, don’t go beyond what your body (not your ego) tells you is working, but keep at it.  It will pay off by increasing your fitness level and capabilities.

Training Progression Suggestion:

  • Start:  1 mile walk with light pack, no more than 25 pounds X 2 days week X 2 weeks.
  • Medium Pack walk:  Up to 2 miles with 35 – 50 pound pack X 2 days week X 2 weeks.
  • Initial Heavy Pack walk:  1 mile w/heavy pack (65 – 80 pounds) X 2 days X 2 weeks.
  • Heavy Pack Conditioning:  Incrementally longer walks from 1 mile to 4 miles; 20 minute miles X 1 day X 3 weeks.
  • Breaks:  At the onset/sign of any strained muscle used in walking, take at least a week or 10 days off.
  • Ruck Walk Maintenance and Improvement:  Random weight selection from light to heavy; intersperse running with pack on for 100 meter increments (or as far as you can up to 100 meters) with at least 100 meter rest (still walking) periods.  See below.

Right now, my personal ruck regimen consists of the following:

Ruck Program:

  • “Heavy Day” Training:  65 – 80 pound ruck weight average – depends on the day, mood, distance, and other variables such as heat, humidity, and time available to train.  It will be anywhere from 2 miles to 10, average speed 16 to 17 minute miles.  The objective here is to carry a lot of weight for a long time.
  • “Light Day” Training:  25 – 40 pound ruck weight average – see above for varying weight differences.  Average speed objective is 15 minute miles or faster.
  • “Heavy/Light Day ‘Burst’ Training:  See weights and distance parameters above.  The key here is to intersperse sprints of varying distances between walking intervals.  It really does work.  Last year, my last ‘Burst’ session was with a 65 pound pack and 4 miles, averaging 13.3 minutes per mile. You can do better!
  • Clothing:  Long pants (always), good boots (I will use either my Merill hikers, or my Danners GTX or combat hikers outfitted with SOLE Softec Ultra Footbeds and Vermont ‘Darn Tough’ socks), wicking t-shirt, unbuttoned OG-107 long sleeve shirt (sleeves rolled up), DTG patched baseball cap, and an OD triangular ‘ranger rag’ bandage for sweat mopping.
  • Terrain:  Mostly sidewalks, with some gravel, some grass, flat to gently rolling ‘ripples’ (not hills, really).
  • Time of Day:  Typically right before afternoon rush hour; that’s when my schedule allows up to 3 hours for ruck walking.
  • First mile and a half:  Warm up – not really hard and fast walking, but increasingly fast, so that at the end of the first mile and a half, legs, core, lungs and arms are warmed up.
  • Second mile and a half:  At per-determined land marks (typically intersections), run at a full stride for 100 meters and walk the next 100 as fast as possible.  Starting out, I was able to do only 2, but as time goes on and strength and endurance came along, I’m doing 6 runs during this portion of the walk (this is burst training woven into a ruck walk).
  • Third mile:  Walk fast as possible; ensure hydration along the way.
  • 4th mile:  Run 440 meters at ‘double time’ (not a full run; not a jog); walk the rest and recover.  Simply stamina training.
  • 5th through next to last mile (could be 6 to 10, depending):  Walk steady; attempt to keep no slower than a 15 to 17 minute mile (15 minutes for light days; 17 minutes for heavy days).
  • Last mile:  Decrease speed and cool down.

In the days between ruck walks I do my PT (body weight & free weight exercises).

Nutrition:  Extremely small amount bread (meaning once in a blue moon), lots of green things and other vegetable; about 1/3 protein and 1/3 natural fat.  Alcohol mostly kept to weekends (and NEVER right after a workout!).

Rest:  7 – 8 hours nightly.

Hydration:  Minimum of 32 ounces of purified water fortified with stabilized oxygen daily.  During ruck walks, hydrate as needed, but don’t drink more than necessary.  In other words, don’t go through your bladder before the ruck walk is over.  After it’s done, and you’re in recovery stage, slowly hydrate until you feel like you’re good to go.

Now, nobody says the above ruck program is for you, but you can and should develop a program you can live with, especially if you consider yourself to be a NPT leader/member.  Age doesn’t really matter, either.  What matters is your determination and resolve.

So, think this over, and do what you can.  Some readers will look at the above and chuckle because it’s child’s play to them; others will think it’s insane.  Whatever you choose, remember:

discipline

Hygeine: It’s the little things…

So, after that roll, possible two, of super soft toilet paper runs out, how, dear Neighborhood Protection Team member, plan on performing personal hygiene immediately following a routine, or not so routine, body determined evacuation of your colon?

Hmmmm…..for a male, typically a roll of TP will last a week or more under ‘normal’ circumstances.  For a female, half that time.  If dealing with an irritable bowel or possibly dysentery, figure 25 to 33% of the time indicated.  Then what?  Sure, you’ll probably ingest some amodium, or, worst case, kill a small animal, cook and eat the meat, and then burn the bones until they’re like coal, grind them up as best you can and ingest (very old school – what I was taught way back in the day), and that will probably take care of the issue.

Personally, I want to put off finding the right broad leaf or grasses to use as long as possible.  To that end, I’ve found an alternative.  I’ve used the product in the field, and I can tell you that they are very serviceable, and you don’t run the risk of penetrating the TP while performing vigorous operator maintenance on your exhaust system (how’s that for sensitivity to the more gentle readers?).  Get them on Amazon, here.

I can carry 4 packs (that’s a lot of daily evacuation as well as dealing with emergency scenarios) between my 3 day and main rucks.  4 packs weight about as much as 1 roll of TP, and are of comparable bulk.  I took mine out of the noisy celophane and put them in one of these Coglan water resistant/proof bags (thanks for the tip, Ivarr!).  These bags are extremely flexible and seem to be the cat’s ass.  More expensive than a freezer bag, but more durable, too.  I’ve used zip lock freezer bags for years, and threw them all away after I examined and packed my things in them.  Available on Amazon, here.

The added benefit is the tubes with 10 pieces.  Great for sticking in a smock/coat pocket for those, “I can’t wait long enough to dig into my ruck” or those quick, extremely lightly equipped walkabouts.  If you have water available, and I mean just a few drops, you’re in business, so to speak.  Yeah, price wise, you’re paying an up-charge for the same thing you can get with TP.  However, the ROI (Return On Investment) is that you have more product that will last longer, won’t fall apart in the middle of use (knowledge increases mental comfort significantly), and takes up the same bulk as a single roll of that super-soft, multiply TP you’ve currently got in your ruck. Now, I know some out there are thinking, “Bullshit, I carry baby wipes and they’re a whole lot cheaper.”  No question.  Here’s the thing:  In a SHTF or survival scenario, you are your own supply chain.  If you have had to abandon your supply depot, and you don’t have cache’s around, or when you get to a cache, you find that someone got there first, you only have what’s in your ruck, right?  So, calculate the OC (opportunity cost) and make your decision.  This will be a godsend for some, and to others, well, they’ll make different choices, which is fine.

Cost wise, at less than $9 a bag from Amazon, it might be worth your while.  You bargain hunters out there will most likely find a less expensive outlet, and if you do, please put in the comments for others.

A Reader Sends

Thoughts added, but first, a disclaimer:  My comments are not denigrating the individual or the event; they were there and the writer participated (very important).  I did not.  However, there are a few things folks contemplating doing something like that might want to consider to prepare:

  • Ruck walks/runs of lighter weights building up to your maximum weight.  On max weight walks/runs, only do half your max walk distance.  Example:  When at peak, I do a 15.5 minute mile with an 80 lb ruck over even terrain (mostly sidewalks and flat, gravelly ground) for 8 miles; rarely 10.  When I do a walk/run for max speed, I only do 4 miles.
  • The article validates other posts on this and other blogs about open drop leg holsters and chest rigs when crawling.  Those things are great for vehicle ops.  Running and gunning in mud and rural areas, not so much.
  • Long sleeve rip stop shirts might be a pain, but they do best in keeping your arms from getting torn up.  It also helps if you have a properly fitted and modified shirt.  Waist pockets are ‘wasted’ usually, and having the shirt modified to ‘raid’ configuration works better.  (Bias alert – this is an individual thing….so it’s not gospel.)
  • Posts on good footwear can also be found here.  Merrill and Danner combat hikers are two excellent choices, you may have your own.  Don’t forget about good socks, like Vermont Darn Tough, and moleskin and Body Glide.
  • If you want to go ‘old school’ without the military loop sling, rig a 550 cord sling.  If you’ve got it set up right, you can carry your piece comfortably (read that as not being an entire PITA).  Or you can spend $50 on something that is great for an event, but might not suit your needs for real world.
  • Optics or irons, the only thing that’s going to help you shoot better under stress is to replicate that in your training.  Like doing a 150 meter sprint prior to coming to the firing line and getting busy.
  • Weak handed shooting is just that; take those who might have only a right or left eye to shoot with.  Improvisation should be considered for your drills and/or practice.
  • Opinion:  Doing something like this should be done with what you consider to be your basic load/standard gear set up.  If that’s 1 standard mag in the carbine and 8 on your harness/vest/rig, then that’s what you run it with.  Same with the pistol.  While an event, it’s also training.  Train as if you mean it.

Validation on Chest Rigs & open holsters.  ‘Nuff said.  Note the tennis shoes.  Not a good choice.

All in all, a great article from a humble participant who laid it out for others to see his mistakes so they may learn.  Kudos, guy!

Anyone thinking I’m disparaging the author, go up and read my disclaimer….again.

Thanks!

Western Rifle Shooters Association

From over the transom:

http://www.returnofkings.com/117398/10-things-i-learned-at-a-run-n-gun-5k-race

I wonder how many WRSA readers couple even begin such a course with the requisite mindset, minimum physical conditioning, and gear.

What percentage could complete it in a reasonable time and outcome (i.e. not die, get injured, actually hit 50% of the targets, not lose/break half their stuff)?

I ran a couple of combat courses when I was much younger in the Marines. I was in fantastic shape with a first class USMC Physical Fitness Score back then. I dreaded running them. Those exercises where some of the most physically and mentally exhausting things I have done in my life. They are also some of the best training you can get.

Nowhere else can you so be so quickly and forcefully put face to face with your own shortcomings and those of your teammates.

If someone were expecting future times to become a lot more…

View original post 94 more words

Camouflage Paint Application….It’s the ‘Little Things’ that Really Hide You…OR Make You Stick Out….

I know, I know….everyone’s an expert in camouflage….except maybe this gal, who graduated from the US Army Ranger School, and is inaccurately identified as USAF in the article:

Besides the ‘red’ tinged brown she used as a base, the black doesn’t help either, because her features, ie, eyes, cheek bones, jaw line, and mouth are all easily identifiable as human.  Basically, her face is almost quartered in generally similar sized areas, which leads to a recognizable pattern.  Great PR, but in reality, no, not gonna hack it if she’s being hunted or is hunting.

What about this man?

Close, but no cigar, unless you can find a bush with a nice, full, pink set of lips, some matching nostrils, and eyes and ears to match!  He’s also decked out in desert USMC digital with coyote whatever.  The paint is woodland in nature, which contrasts and brings attention to his features.

Bad move.

And then, there’s these guys:

Look at all those unpainted or covered necks, ears, lips and hands.  Folks don’t realize that hands are like flags.  Even black (brown or sage/forest/OD green are MUCH more effective) fingerless gloves are better than bare hands.  Not to mention the unsubdued patches and unpainted black and solid brown/red rifles.  The only reason that the US Woodland pattern worked, and still does, is because the black in the pattern is minimal, compared to the forest green, brown, and light brown/sand. The guy on the bottom right with a USAF survival knife in an unwaxed/dyed sheath is special.  Love that white t shirt.  Nice aiming point.  The paint itself is causing part of the dilemma with some really bright green that’s not the same shade (or even close) to the green of the natural vegetation in the photo backdrop.

Now, I’m not sitting here criticizing just to criticize.  This is constructive criticism because I’m pointing out typical practices that need to change if those who purport to be able to blend in can do so better than the bad guy.  I’m sure every one of the people pictured above, from the active duty Ranger to the militia group did the absolute best they knew.  Which brings up the point that very few people are taught camouflage properly, and worse, if they are, do not apply the face paint properly or re-apply it every chance they get to mitigate sweat, brush scrapes, inadvertent wipes, loss when drinking or eating, or when one lays down and rests.

Camouflage has two purposes:  First, to break up and disguise the human form, including the head, hands, uniform, weapon, and even the boots.  You don’t want to be easily identifiable as a human.  Second, it is to help transform the ‘nice’ human being into a warrior ready to bring fear and death to the enemy.  A process ensues when one is painting and gearing up.

As to using face paint, there are some simple rules to follow when applying to make sure you will not give yourself away:

  • Always use irregular diagonal patterns across the face.
  • Always try to break up features with different colors and general directions of pattern lines.  Don’t have your nose, your chin, your jaw line, your eye sockets or anything else all one color if you can help it.
  • Always paint the entire face, even when you have facial hair (a good reason to shave it off if you’re going to paint).  Don’t think so?  Find a tree with a beard, a goatee, or a mustache.  This goes double if you have red, blond, or light brown hair.  If you have your hair closely cropped, then apply the paint over the area that’s not covered by a cap or head rag.
  • Paint the back of the neck, ears, or anything that can be seen as less than green or loam.  That includes eyelids, nostrils, in the ear folds, down the front and sides of the neck to below the collar and t shirt line.  Every part of skin that shows.

Now, this is Hollywood, for sure, but the one thing this particular film, “Apocalypse Now,” got right is actor Marlon Brando’s camouflage in so far as the face painting goes.  In his case, as he’s bald, the paint continues and covers his entire head.  The only error visible is having his chin completely in one color and his mouth not broken up by two colors.  Still, all in all, much more effective than what you typically see today.

Another good Hollywood example is Clint Eastwood’s character, ‘Gunny Highway,’ in “Heartbreak Ridge.”  I do find it hard to believe, though, that in 1986, Hollywood couldn’t go down to the local surplus store and pick up a gross of Light Green and Loam camouflage paint sticks to get the correct coloring.  That aside, his pattern does cover everything and breaks up the face well.  Note how his paint goes below the shirt line….and no white t shirt, either.

Now let’s look at this guy…

He has a couple colors, but they’re so blended in, his features are readily identifiable.  He has a beard, obviously, and you can see he’s dulled it with some paint.  Bravo on that point and that he’s covered all exposed skin.

This guy…

Is really trying, but his eyes are all dark, his nose and mouth are the same color, and he’s decided to try some sort of ‘war paint pattern’ with the chin stripe and diagonal (different directions) cheek stripes.  Not effective.  But he did paint every thing he could…except his bottom lip vermilion.

A couple of the best I’ve seen are Ivarr Bergmann and JC Dodge.

Nobody’s perfect, but Bergmann’s use of various materials and complete coverage of his face and extremities (‘cept his finger tips, but like I said, nobody’s perfect – I’ve seen him wear full length gloves in his videos, so he’s got it down) makes his camouflage job climb to the top 1%.

Same with JC Dodge.

There’s really not a lot to criticize when it comes to complete camouflage here.  Sure, he could throw a camouflage net drape over his head, but we’re talking about face painting.  JC’s solved the issue of finger tips with what appears to be Nomex Flight Gloves.  Gray leather palms, sage green; they blend in and provide dexterity and a smidge of protection against cooler temps.

Now, after reading this far, go back to the top and check the folks I used as examples of what not to do.  Then come back down and look at Bergmann and JC.  See the difference?

Personally, I recommend the old school USGI camouflage sticks OR the newer NATO camouflage sticks (a bit fatter than the ‘modern’ USGI) rather than any civilian paint or the garbage their issuing in little compacts to US forces.  Way back in the day (and I’m sure we weren’t the first ones to do it it, either, as there’s nothing new under the sun), we modified it a bit.  Here’s our formula:

  • Get 2 large kiwi polish cans.  Preferably ones that have had most of the polish used.  Clean them completely out.  When there’s just a bit of polish left, heat the can until the polish melts and wipe it out with a paper towel.
  • Take 3 to 4 thin/small USGI camo sticks, remove the paint from the tubes and break in half, loam in one pile, light green in the other.
  • Chop one of the colors into fairly small pieces and put in the bottom of the polish can (it’s thicker).
  • Put on a low heat stove and slowly melt the camo paint until liquid.  You can check and stir with a toothpick.
  • Get a rounded teaspoon of a good cold cream (use your wife’s at your own risk) and stir it slowly into the camo paint until blended completely.
  • Turn off stove and let cool (takes about 10 minutes to get cool enough to remove from stove) a bit.
  • Carefully place in fridge for about 20 minutes.
  • Take out and check consistency.  If too hard, repeat above with half the cold cream.

Usually, that makes enough camo face paint to last about 6 months if you’re using it several times a week.  It will go on a bit shiny, but in less than 20 minutes, the cold cream will soak into the skin and it will be flat as it should be.

Cleaning up is much easier with this recipe, also.  Anyone who’s ever scraped and sanded pure USGI face paint off their face will attest to the discomfort involved.  A bit of baby shampoo on a washcloth will take the modified camo paint off easily.

Good luck, and let us know how you paint!

Back to the Grind…

New posts forthcoming; back from the road and refreshed from a weekend of ruck walking and refit.

In the meantime, watch the below post from Ivarr Bergmann’s survival series and take note of the clever way he’s made his collapsible 2 quart canteen NBC cap into a make shift hydration bladder.  It looks as if he’s taken a drinking tube attachment from the M17 or M40 gas mask series and modified it to fit a hydration bladder drink tube.  Taking his example, I did a modified version and performed surgery on a couple of NBC canteen caps and fitted a portion of the drink tube through the cap to the bottom of the canteen, and then silicon sealed the tube into the lid.  Not quick as his seems to be for switching canteens, but just as effective for drinking out of a collapsible canteen.  It can be used on any rigid or collapsible US surplus canteen that’s plastic.  I don’t recommend trying it on the old steel canteens.  Anyway, check this out.  If you’ve not seen his videos, you may want to get on his channel on youtube.  You may get some ideas to help your own kit preparation.  This guy tests all his gear while pulling patrols out in the Alaskan wilderness.

Venezuela: Land of…..NO BROWNIES OR CROISSANTS!!! Or you’ll be arrested…or WORSE!!

“No, you can’t even MAKE a brownie or croissant today!”  —  Venezuelan Flour Nazi’s 

Yup.  Socialism underscoring their concern for private property rights.  I have 100 pounds of flour and I want to make 50 pounds worth of bread and the other 50 pounds divided up between brownies and croissants.  Then, I want to sell them for what the market will bear.  My property to dispose of as I wish, right?

Not in Venezuela.  No, Sir!

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government has sent inspectors and soldiers into more than 700 bakeries around the capital this week to enforce a rule that 90 percent of wheat must be destined to loaves rather than more expensive pastries and cakes.

Get the whole story, here.

See, that’s what socialism/progressivism/communism is all about:  Equal misery across the board.  The government requiring you to provide your own property in the manner and method that they determine for consumption by the masses….all at a loss to you, of course.  Kind of like when you own property in the US during a natural or man made disaster and attempt to use market rationing, ie, raising the price so consumers won’t panic buy, and the government prosecutes you for selling your own property at your own price….wonder why that is….hmmm.