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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 2

Issue No. 2- November 1​st​, 1977

Editor’s Note: If you have been involved in survival planning for very long, it’s easy to assume that you are far
beyond the need of anything so patently simple as the following test appears to be. Please do not make that
assumption. Without exception, clients of mine who have tried the test report discovering significant weaknesses in
their preparedness programs, even though most of them have been avid, serious survivalists for several years. I
urge you to try it for yourself. M.T.

Survival Test
by Bill Pier

I am about to ask you to do something very important. I hope, for your sake, that you will comply. If you simply
read this Survival Test, you may be tempted to call it childish, impractical, or unnecessary, but if you actually ​try ​it,
you will find it quite the opposite. You will do yourself and your family a great disservice if you ignore this
challenge. I personally assure you that given your full attention and cooperation, this test can be one of the most
important tools among your survival preparations.

I designed it about five years ago to demonstrate graphically the shortcomings of most survival programs, and it has
been improved and refined over the years through much use. Hundreds of experiences have shown that the test is
not only useful and valid, but ​needed ​for judging the actual ability of your family to withstand even a short-term
emergency with minimal discomfort or danger.

Unlike a real emergency where there is usually no indication of when it will end, your test will last only three days.
This has proven to be a long enough time to show the problem areas in survival preparation, and yet not so long that
even the seriously under-prepared will be caused any real harm.

Let’s Get Started

The assumption basis of the test is that some man-made or natural disaster has occurred at this very moment and,
although your family and home are left untouched, it has destroyed all outside services. This means you will be
limited to your own skills and those supplies you now have on hand.

The test is valid only in so far as you adhere strictly to the following guidelines. Since in most emergencies you will
not have time to discuss what is going to happen with your family and get their agreement to participate, it is
important that you begin this test without their prior approval.

You will have ample opportunity to discuss the idea as the test progresses. It is also important that you make no
further preparations. So without further discussion, you should get up and turn off the utility services coming into
your home. This is would include electricity, natural gas, and water.
ELECTRICAL: This is done at the main fuse or breaker box. If you live on a farm, you will need to turn off the
service to the pump house, barn and outbuildings if they are on separate lines.

NATURAL GAS: This is done at the meter. Take care that it is fully off. Since it is illegal in some areas to turn gas
service on again without supervision by the gas company, be sure to check before taking it upon yourself. If you
have butane or fuel oil as a fuel source, you do not need to turn it off.

WATER: This is done at the meter, which is usually located at the curb. Special problems pertain if you live in an
apartment building and your utilities are ganged with the other apartments. Your neighbors usually do not take it
kindly if you turn off all the utilities in the building

Therefore, you will need to turn off the water under each sink and toilet, and not use the bathtub or shower. Natural
gas can be turned off at the stove and heater. If your electricity is ganged, you will need to unplug each appliance
and tape all light switches in the off position.

The Ground Rules

The most effective way to take the test is not to leave the house or grounds for the full three-day period. However,
experience has shown that only those who are really committed to survival are willing to go this far. Certain ground
rules have been established for those who feel that it is necessary to continue with the everyday activities of work
and school even for such a brief period.

NO PURCHASING OF FOOD: This includes no eating out- not at work, at school, nor with friends or family.
Working people and school children will brown bag it. For full effect, there should be no coffee from the machine,
water from the fountain, and, of course, no food from the lunch wagon. I have known people who, while taking this
test, have brought their own food to business lunches, club meetings, and even dinner parties.

NO BORROWING OR BARTERING: During a real emergency you would probably be able to do some of this.
However, refrain from it for the sake of this test.

NO OUTSIDE PURCHASES: Cash, gold, and silver will do you no good during this test.

NO TELEPHONE, LIMITED TV and RADIO: If you have a disconnect on your telephone, turn it off. If you do
not, just put your telephones in a drawer for the test. Since there might be nothing on the air except Conalrad during
a real emergency, you are limited to ½ hour per day to listen to the ​news ​on your ​battery-operated ​radios.

Battery operated CB’s can be used to keep in touch with the outside. Do not read newspapers during the crisis. Just
stack them up until after the test; the same with mail.
What to Expect

FOOD: This is usually the least of your problems in a three-day test. If you want to test your food supply, you will
find that a 10-14 day test is a good tool. Nevertheless, you may find the lack of cooking facilities interesting. Some
unusual ideas that have been used are chafing dishes with candles, holding pans over a kerosene lamp, and burning
rolled newspapers or paperback books.

HEAT: At this time of the year, this should not be a major problem in most areas. However, you may want to try a
test period in the dead of winter to see how you really stand. A precaution here is to be sure to provide adequate
ventilation when using any unvented lamp or heater.

These items can use large quantities of air and should never be left on while sleeping. Also, be extra careful about
tipping over lamps and stoves. If you have little ones, this can be a big problem. A final hint is that if you cut down
the area you use for living and sleeping, you will not need as much heat. Try sleeping all in one room, it is not only
warmer, but draws the family closer.

WATER: This could be the real problem for most people. You will find that toilets will not flush, hot water is
limited or non-existent, and body odor becomes a factor. Most homes have 30 to 50 gallons of water trapped in the
hot water heater and pipes. You can tap the resource by finding a low place in the system and draining it off.

Remember to open a tap at the other end in the line to allow air to enter so you can get it all. A handy hint is not to
flush your toilets. Each tank holds about six gallons of precious water. This can be run through a filter for drinking
and cooking. If you have a good water storage, you can flush your toilets by adding just a couple of gallons of water
to the toilet bowl (not the tank please).

Stick It Out

The crisis period usually comes at the end of the first 24 hours. Not being able to flush the toilet or watch TV and
needing to sacrifice starts to fray nerves and you are tempted to call it off. DO NOT DO IT- you will find that it
gets easier the second day. Only if serious illness occurs should you consider stopping.

In those families where there has been disunity over the idea of survival, I have found that, after taking this test
together, there is increased understanding by all of the need for more preparation. Families find a new ability to
work together to solve the problems of the test. Children find that it is more than a game and tend to grow closer to
their parents and vice versa.

New communication becomes part of the family’s life when the TV is turned off. These of course are important
side benefits to the real purpose of the test: survival preparation evaluation. I can guarantee that at the end of the
three days you will know most of the problems of your family’s program, except for security and weapons.

I would appreciate it if, after taking the test, you would write to me about your experiences and how your family
fared. Any helpful hints or comments on how you feel the test could be made more meaningful would be very
helpful. Good Luck!
Learning To Live With Terrorism, Part Two
by Al J. Venter

Remember that experience is always the finest example in the deployment of all precautionary measures, but, once
faced with a serious terrorist threat, it doesn’t take long to assess the situation and act accordingly.

One Rhodesian farmer in the northeast of the country near Mt. Darwin, who was not able to electrify his outer
fence, strung the entire area with beer cans, each of which contained a few loose marbles. The system is reliable
and relatively foolproof, especially if there are dogs around which will react to the noise.

Two other supplementary measures are essential when conditions allow: the first of these surmises that there is an
outside source that is friendly to the victim, such as a nearby security force element that can provide support when
requested.

The Rhodesians have established a series of very simple (and at the same time extremely sophisticated) radio
warning systems in all of their operational areas. Known as “Agri-Alert”, these radio-telephone networks are all
linked to central command bases, often extending over several hundred square miles and are totally independent of
outside power supplies; they work very effectively on a car battery.

The system works as follows: when any farm is attacked, the “Agri-Alert” which is portable and can be moved
from one room to another has an alarm which can be sounded and an attached VHF telephone system which can
advise base of the extent of the problem and whether any additional help is required.

It is interesting that all farms in any particular network are usually linked into each other and many is the night that
I have followed the details of a firefight at some neighbor’s estate through the “Agri-Alert”. This system has been
patented in Rhodesia and is ideal for isolated communities, even without terrorism.

The second measure is a system of lights which are installed high above the roof of the homestead. Consisting of
1000 Watt fluorescent lamps (carbon arc) -the French have patented an Iodine Iris lode system- these lights are
instantly activated the moment the alarm is sounded; at the same moment all domestic lights in the house are
doused.

The effect is simple. With lights all around you off, the attackers are immediately lit up from above; the attacker
becomes the attacked and his target is now blanketed in darkness.

The morale booster provided by both the “Agri-Alert” and the advanced system of lights is inestimable, especially
under the kind of conditions associated with surprise attack.

One farmer whom I visited near Victoria Falls this past Easter weekend has installed black roller blinds above every
window in the house - This measure, which dates from the blitz and blackout days of World War II, is still the most
effective means of not providing your enemy with a lighted backdrop which can be used for aiming. Very effective
indeed.

This particular farmer whose home has been attacked twice already, and who lives near the Cumming farm (Arthur
Cumming was killed in a terrorist attack late last year; see ​Soldier of Fortune, ​Spring 1977), had a number of other
innovations which have proved effective.
One of these consisted of several large wooden boxes filled with granite chips and which can be rolled on castor
wheels, at short notice in front of a window in the event of an attack. Any projectile entering the room through the
window hits the box, which is appropriately named “Trojan Horse”.

Granite chips are used instead of sand; then if the box is hit, the contents do not run out onto the floor, leaving only
a wooden shell for protection. Such a measure can even absorb an RPG-2 (Soviet) shell and protect those behind it.

My host made a number of other points with regard to living with terrorism.

An important factor, he maintained, was drawing all blinds in the house shortly before sunset. He also reckoned that
it was necessary to make your family thoroughly familiar with what he termed the “safety region” of the home.

The safety region can be any area protected by a double row of walls, such as a passageway between the bedroom
and living room. At least one inside wall will absorb any impact after an outside wall has been blown out by rocket
fire.

Many farmers in the Rhodesian operational area insist on their children sleeping in these safety areas so as not to
lay them open to rocket blast in the event of a surprise attack.

An interesting sidelight here is that whenever the farmer is awakened for some reason at night by the alarm or an
unusual noise that has set the dogs a-barking, the first light to go on is not that of his or his children’s sleeping area.

Using a switch next to his bed he is able to put on lights in a remote corner of the house; if there are terrorists about
and they spot the light, the phony system will draw fire long enough for him to move into a retaliatory position.

Under such circumstances, children are taught how to roll off their beds and crawl along the floor to the safety area,
if this is not already in use.

This particular farmer also maintained that it is always best to eat and have the family bathe before the area around
the homestead is enveloped in darkness. This cuts down on the number of lit rooms and centralizes the activities in
one or two protected rooms thereafter. In areas where it gets dark early in winter (such as in South Africa or north
of the Tropic of Cancer) this can be difficult during the cold months.

It was also his choice to keep at least six weeks supply of essential food in the safety area. His motive was largely
the unpredictability of this kind of guerrilla warfare.

With the appearance of numerous North Vietnamese instructors in neighboring Mozambique, booby traps have
lately appeared on the scene; including Chinese detonators used for setting off a charge when the steering wheel is
turned or the hand brake released.

All vehicle owners are urged to watch out for pieces of string attached to working parts which could set off a
detonation if moved.

Circumstances might force him and his family to hold out in the event of floods or other natural disasters cutting
him off from the outside world. Terrorists in the same area might be similarly cut off and he might then present a
choice target. It is axiomatic that his supplies of ammunition and other counter-offensive equipment is equally
plentiful should the circumstances demand.
Most people in Rhodesia -both on the farms and cities- are careful these days to keep their cars locked when not in
use.

Despite the ruthlessness, superior number, and almost unlimited communist supplied arms and ammunition of the
terrorists, the homesteaders are holding their own. If ultimately they lose, it will be because of political, not tactical
considerations.

The A.G. Russell Sting


I am not very high on knives as weapons for personal defense because of the great skill and agility required to use
them effectively. An ordinary chap carrying a .45 Colt Commander unobtrusively under his jacket -assuming he
had no more training than the one week beginner’s course at Jeff Cooper’s GUNSITE Ranch- could effectively
defuse the most dangerous knife wielder around.

Yet a small concealment blade does have its practical uses in survival planning, particularly if it is designed and
made well enough to do a variety of necessary chores reasonably well. The Sting is and does.

For a knife of its size, the Sting is immensely strong, employing the integral hilt and butt design which allows the
entire weapon -excepting only the scales or handle material- to be fashioned from a single piece of steel, with no
welds or joinings of any kind.

Fabricated in Germany of stainless steel, the double-edged mini-dagger is hollow ground by hand, and the final
polish would do justice to fine jewelry. Although the company will not disclose the exact composition of the steel, I
suspect, judging from the tendency of the edge to roll instead of chip when subjected to hard use, and the ease with
which a good shaving edge can be obtained, that it may be a type of 440 with a sub-zero quench.

I find a small sheath knife such as this more convenient than a folder for general use, particularly when it comes -as
this one does- with a clip-on sheath that can be worn almost anywhere. And although the double edge suggests
defense as its primary purpose, it serves me well for a variety of more homely uses from cutting fishing line to
opening feed sacks on the ranch.

Designed and copyrighted by A.G. Russell, enfant terrible and acknowledged genius of the modern knife industry
(also one of PS Letter’s contributing editors), the Sting is a classic boot knife design and no one who has examined
my sample can believe its low price. The guesses have ranged between $80 and $125. The actual cost for the least
expensive model, featuring ebony scales, is $35, including clip on sheath. (Micarta and real stag are appropriately
more expensive.)

Given the quality and price, you will be hard pressed to find a better small utility knife, and you may want to
consider buying several to use as barter goods. They should command substantial trading value when hard times
arrive.

Russell offers the Sting to PS Letter subscribers on the following basis; order a Sting, use it for any legitimate knife
purpose, re-sharpen it, and carry it for a few months. If for any reason at all you are dissatisfied, return it for a
complete, no-questions asked refund.

Whether you buy a Sting or not, request a free copy of Russell’s catalog. It provides a valuable education in edged
tools and weapons. Contact: A.G. Russell & Co., 1705 Highway 71 North, Springdale, AR 72764, Telephone:
(501) 751-7341. M.T
Letter from the Editor
Thanks for the bouquets! All of us connected with PS Letter were overwhelmed by the magnitude of your response
to our continuing request for comments on our efforts, and we were especially gratified to know that most of you
liked the first issue. It certainly makes the burden of producing this amount of material every month easier to bear
when you know that your labors are appreciated.

I am particularly delighted with your suggestions for future issues, however, since many of them coincide with my
own thinking, and most of the others have stimulated all of us on the staff to explore the additional areas you
mentioned so that we can bring you the coverage here that you want most.

As a first step, PS Letter No. 3 will carry the first of a multi-part series exploring the realities of retreating and
offering practical solutions to many of the problems which are often ignored in the scant literature on the subject.

Because so many of you urgently requested material on vehicles for survival use, we are beginning a new monthly
feature with this issue called, “Survival Wheels”. The first installment is too tightly woven to be cut, so we have
allotted four full pages to it, in the interests of completeness.

The next installment of my column “Survival Guns Update”, covering the M1-A and Choate’s conversion of the
Garand-M-7 ½- together with Bill Pier’s in depth study of water are being delayed until the next issue to provide
the necessary additional space.

Also coming in future issues, as a result of your letters, will be a question and answer column in which the most
interesting or most frequently asked questions we receive will be given detailed replies. Further, we intend to offer
extensive book lists and reviews as well as a brief “Sources” column commenting on unusual or particularly useful
catalogs.

A.G. Russell is at work on an article to be called, “A Wardrobe of Knives for the Survivalist” and, somewhat
reluctantly, I have decided to do a piece on fighting knives and knife fighting in response to the unrelenting mail on
that arcane and generally misrepresented subject.

(Incidentally, I have recently edited a book called, ​A Guide to Handmade Knives and the Official Knifemakers
Guild​. It has nothing to do with survival, per se, but if you plan to include a made to order knife in your gear, you
may find it helpful. It is available from the Janus Press, Box 578, Rogue River, OR 97537 for $ 10.00 postpaid.)

We plan to devote several articles -and perhaps an entire issue- to emergency medicine, including a lengthy,
annotated list of up-to-date medical books and a detailed description of several levels of medical care kits. Bill Pier
will discuss home food dehydrators and there will be product reviews on the new Velex/Velet exploding pistol
ammunition as well as three new .45’s: the AMT Hardballer, the Detonics, and the Star PD. (I suggest that you wait
for these reviews before buying any of them.) M. T.

P.S. For those of you who have written taking me to task for reviewing an $1800 communications receiver and
asking if we plan to cover items only for the affluent, please consider that one of the safest ways to evaluate a
bargain is by knowing the best and using it as a standard for comparison.
We will, of course, try to balance our coverage by including both the best available products in each category as
well as the least expensive items that are acceptable. I am presently working on a budget battery of survival guns
and writing a piece on shortwave receivers spanning a broad price range.

Often, however, outside the confines of my primary expertise, I may be familiar with only one price extreme or the
other, depending on my own priorities in a given area; and since it can take months to survey an entire field, I will
give you the information piecemeal, as I develop it. Try to bear with some of my shortcomings, if you can.

For a quick survey of CB’s, short wave, scanners, and related electronic devices in a survival context, see my article
in the 1978 edition of the GUNS & AMMO Annual which should be on your newsstand by the time you read this.
Cordially, Mel

Survival Wheels
by Ross Lee

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of columns which will explore in depth the important but often neglected
subject of survival vehicles. Until now, only vague, unrealistic generalities about escaping the holocaust in the
cities by wandering through the countryside in a motorhome –towing a trailer- seem to have found their way into
print.

Fortunately for PS Letter readers, we have succeeded in finding an automotive expert who is also a survivalist, and
we feel that his incisive analysis and recommendations will make a valuable and unique contribution to your
personal program of preparedness.

Our expert is a graduate engineer and has worked extensively in the automobile industry before becoming a
technical writer and editor on the staff of a major publication of automotive books and periodicals. “Ross Lee” is
a pen name mandated by the circumstances of his employment. M.T.

Choosing the Optimum Vehicle for your Survival Plans

“Survival vehicle” is a term you may not have heard before, and with good reason. Several generations of very
bright people have spent fortunes on advertising to make certain that you know what “economy cars”, “luxury
cars”, and “recreational vehicles” are, but references to “survival vehicles” just don’t make very appealing ad copy.

In a general sort of way, some of the recreational vehicles and 4x4’s come reasonably close to acceptable survival
transport. But “close” is not the ideal we are interested in.

One of the first advertising concepts we have to dispense with to understand the ideal survival machine is the idea
that new means best. While we fully intend to offer advice on what new equipment is available in the marketplace,
let’s put this business of new versus old in perspective. The same ad people who have told us what we need these
many years have also tried to convince us that a car or truck is quite obsolete after five years. Keep the following in
mind:

1. American military organizations commonly retain tactical vehicles for 10 to 15 years.


2. Fire engines usually stay on the job for at least 20 years; sometimes past 30, as reserve equipment.
3. Commercial jet aircraft arc depreciated against a schedule of 12 to as many as 18 years. At that age, they
seldom go to the scrap heap, but continue as freight haulers or charter aircraft.
So much for, “new is necessary”.

Engineering technology, up until perhaps ten years ago, was directed toward the production of vehicles which
would carry more, go faster, or last longer. The advances in engine design of the 1950 era are typical of genuine
progress. Since Ralph Nader discovered safety and the bureaucrats fell in love with smog, a disproportionate share
of the automotive research dollar has gone to the perfection of gadgetry that does not make cars run better.

While I don’t like smog any better than the next man, the simple fact is that the load of plumbing which takes a
very expensive ride under the hood of every new vehicle today vastly complicates the task of maintenance,
consumes extra fuel, and contributes nothing to reliability. Every hose, pulley, pump, valve, and clamp which
floods the machinery spaces of current cars and trucks is a potential hazard simply because it is there. If nothing
else, all that plumbing makes it almost impossible to gain access to important pieces like carburetors and
distributors.

The latest trend, recently announced by Ford and GM, is to make engines increasingly “tamper proof”. What this
means in simple terms is that to do such routine things as adjusting the carburetor, you will need to replace the carb
complete or be equipped with a very specialized set of factory tools. The reasons for locking you out of your own
engine room are dictated by the Environmental Protection Agency. They want to make certain that engines continue
to make their smog tests after they leave the factory. Complexity or repair costs do not concern them.

To fully understand what this means in a survival context, remember back to the last time you bought a new car or
truck. Like most things new, it probably was troubled with some niggling problem or another. You, therefore,
delivered the machine to your dealer’s service department and consumed cup after cup of stale coffee in his waiting
area while several of his sharpest people disemboweled your shiny new car.

They most likely surrounded themselves with all manner of factory diagnostic tools and spent several hours trying
to solve your problem. After announcing that their combined efforts had produced mechanical happiness, you
motored home... then discovered the next morning that your car ran worse than it did before.

Now pretend that instead of merely being irritated by wasting half a day in a dealer’s shop, your very life depends
on whether or not your machine runs when you want it to. Think how different things might be if there were no
diagnostic equipment, dealer’s shop, herd of mechanics, and half-acre of parts available.

Under the best of conditions, auto repairs are such a hit-and–miss proposition that complaints relating to garages
take up more time with consumer action types than any other single activity. Under the worst of conditions, you
will have only yourself to turn to to keep the thing moving- any needed parts or tools must come from your own
supplies and any expertise from your own experience.

Secure in the knowledge that if the machine breaks, the only way it will move in a survival situation is if you fix it,
an obvious conclusion that the ad people never talk about is apparent: Keep it simple.

New or old, there are a number of gadgets that have no place on a survival vehicle. Avoid all power accessories-
even automatic transmissions. As we will discuss in detail at a later date, a manual transmission may be repaired or
a clutch changed by most any reasonably intelligent person, with a surprising minimum of tools. Automatics require
very complex equipment for any sort of servicing.

Under severe operating conditions -that is to say prolonged periods of slow driving over rough terrain- automatics
are just not as reliable as manual gearboxes. Power steering, unless an absolute necessity, should be avoided. Air
conditioning in particular should not be considered.
The compressor belts are slaves in tandem with the fan, water pump, and/or alternator belts. A seized compressor
means that your engine stops. A shorted compressor clutch –which is often difficult to diagnose- can dead short the
entire electrical system.

To establish any category of survival vehicle, we must presuppose a number of conditions:

1. No repair services or commercial parts sources are available.


2. Parts are available only from your own stocks or from wrecked or abandoned vehicles.
3. Fuel supplies, except your own, are unavailable or at best unreliable.
4. Roads are in poor condition- and will get worse. Some roads may be blocked by bureaucrats- others by
looters. In the event of washouts or obstacles, there will be no repair crews out for a very long time.

In this initial installment, we will discuss three categories of survival vehicles:

The first type presumes several conditions relating to your situation: You are a city dweller with a previously
established retreat, including some sort of residence or permanent shelter. You have stored your long-term food
supplies and other support equipment safely at your remote site. Only you and your family and your personal gear
need be carried in your vehicle. If you wait too long to leave the city, you will very likely need to use secondary
roads or at least improved trails to reach your retreat.

Perhaps the best way to define what type of machine will work best is to discuss a few that won’t. A Corvette might
get you there in a big hurry. The Chevy engine and drivetrain are as reliable as any in production. Good choice? No.
The last possible thing you want is a machine as conspicuous as a Corvette.

While you should be prepared to encounter looters and defeat them if necessary, attracting them with any sort of
expensive looking/exotic machinery is foolish. Remember also that when you reach your retreat, any vehicle which
you have taken with you should continue to be useful. The lack of ground clearance, appetite for clean high-octane
fuel, and fragile suspensions rule out the use of just about any “sporty” cars for survival situations.

Another bad choice, which has recently attracted a lot of attention, is the new Subaru four-wheel drive station
wagon. A small, economical wagon offering good gas mileage might seem to be a fine idea until you stop to
consider a few facts. Under the best of conditions, Subaru parts may be had only from the small number of Subaru
dealers.

Parts for the 4x4 wagon -a scarce model from an obscure manufacturer- are hard to buy even from large dealers in
the L.A. area. Your chance of salvaging parts from an abandoned vehicle would of course be nil. If the little 4x4 is
to be considered as a serious off-road machine, remember that all the pieces are essentially designed for street use.

Hardware items that stay put for years of freeway use have a habit of coming apart in a few hours of rough off-road
driving. The Subaru people had a good marketing idea in that they already had the front drive axle in production.
By adding a driven rear axle and a transfer case, they came up with an interesting concept on which their ad people
could capitalize. They did not, however, create a machine useful in any serious survival situation.

There are several classes of vehicles, however, that we can strongly suggest. The first is almost any VW Bug, truck
or van; particularly those built prior to 1968. Do not consider the squarebacks or any of the VW’s with injected
engines or dual carburetors. The 1968 cut-off date is recommended because after ‘68, the engine compartments
rapidly filled with smog plumbing and the vehicles all gained weight in the interests of safety equipment and crash
protection.
When the Bug became the Super Beetle, it also gained a McPherson strut front suspension in place of the simpler
and more durable torsion bar design. Parts are as available for VW’s as for any domestic make, and the cars are as
inconspicuous as any on the road. With virtually no modifications, the VW’s perform very well in rough situations
and stay together better than most any other vehicle actually designed for street use.

A real sleeper is the VW type 181, commonly called the “Thing” in VW ads of a few years back. The four-door
convertible 181 is equipped with the excellent dual-port l600cc engine and has greater ground clearance than the
Bug. The 181’s imported to this country were all produced in Mexico, and equipped with a low 7.5 to 1
compression ratio to enable them to run on the variable Pemex gasoline available in Mexico.

While the performance is not likely to impress your neighbor who owns a Porsche Turbo Carerra, the Thing will
run on virtually anything loosely claimed to be gasoline. The rear seats fold forward and lock to form a flat cargo
area, which gives more hauling space than any of the other VW’s save the vans.

The VW people imported the 181 from 1973 until sales fell to the point they dropped the car early in the ‘75 model
year. Excellent used ones are available from $900 to $1500. The mechanical parts are all interchangeable with other
current VW products. Because of an “off-road” classification, the government required very little smog plumbing
on this model. One of the design objectives, beyond the commercial market of the 181 was military sale. The
“Thing”, an acceptable basic tactical machine, also makes an attractive basic survival machine.

The second broad category of basic transport/survival machine is a Ford or Chevrolet ¾-ton pickup or Suburban.
Note that International is not recommended. International has produced many fine trucks, but the parts supply
problem disqualifies them from consideration. Peculiar features like radiator hoses with a different diameter on
each end, combined with two right-angle bends mean that hoses can be had for many common models only from an
International dealer. Since their engines are also proprietary, simple items like water pumps can be hard to come by
in the best of situations.

There are several reasons why I have suggested the ¾ -ton over the more common ½-ton models. The full-floating
rear axles used on the heavier trucks are far stronger than the passenger car types on the light trucks. Frames,
steering gear, and most other running gear components are also much beefier and more likely to stand up under
heavy use.

While the next reason for choosing a ¾-ton machine is not likely to be valid much longer, it is important to consider
for the moment. The ½-ton machines in the low gross weight classes have virtually the same smog impedimenta as
passenger cars. The heavier trucks are saddled with far less. In most states, new ¾-ton trucks have no catalytic
converter- a real plus under any conditions.

Another solution to the problem is to buy an older truck. Prior to about 1967, smog equipment is not much of a
problem. The older straight front axles with kingpins are also better for survival use than the newer independent
types with sealed ball joints. For soft ride on the freeway, the more complex modern types offer more comfort, but
in terms of hanging together, you’re better off with as few moving parts as possible. If you must buy new, the Ford
Twin I-Beam suspension is probably the best bet on a new light truck.

To satisfy the “get you there” requirement, the VW’s described work well. The trucks will work just as well and
perhaps be more useful later because of increased cargo capacity. There’s one additional situation to be considered
which may sound a bit melodramatic but is nonetheless possible.

In a real survival situation, you may find it necessary to run -read that “crash”- a roadblock. Well meaning
bureaucrats or looters may decide to route you according to their convenience rather than your necessity. The truck
would be an obviously better choice if this last drastic situation were to materialize.
The second general set of specifications takes into account the so-called “land mobile” concept of survival. In this
situation, you may not have a pre-selected retreat site at all, or your site may have no permanent shelter in place.
Your objective will be to move yourself, your family, and all your support equipment and supplies. It may also be
necessary to live out of the vehicle for a period of months.

A trailer might seem a good choice in conjunction with a tow vehicle of some sort, until the operating conditions
are carefully considered. The fact is that under the best of conditions, towing a heavy trailer is an uncomfortable
proposition. Ability to turn in a reasonable radius is greatly reduced and ground clearance is limited. Other than
perhaps Airstream, Boles, and a few other makes which employ aircraft-type monocoque construction, travel
trailers are meant to be towed on smooth improved roads only.

Try towing a typical trailer across 50 miles of washboard road and you will learn that a combination of aluminum
skin stapled over light wood structural members is not really as substantial as the salesman told you it was. Should
you encounter even a minor washout between where you are and where you need to be, the impossibility of towing
a multi-ton anchor will be painfully apparent.

A motor home can be a somewhat better idea than a trailer, but again, be very careful in your selection. The basic
construction technique common to most motorhome makers is the same aluminum skin, wood frame composite
used by the trailer people. Items like toilet plumbing and wiring are often spotted under the vehicle hanging down
where the first stray rock can carry them away.

The same construction methods which can cause a trailer to disassemble itself under severe conditions can cause a
motor home to do the same thing. As the body torques over rough terrain, all those thousands of air-driven staples
begin to work loose. Doors, cabinets, and interior paneling which looked so crisp and attractive on the dealer’s
showroom floor have a habit of literally falling off onto the ground.

Remember also what we talked about regarding simple maintenance. If you think new cars are infested with
gremlins, spend a few hours in a motorhome repair facility. Any vehicle with all the 1977-standard power
equipment plus AC electrical generating capability, toilet facilities, elaborate air conditioning, refrigerator, stove,
and whatever else may be bolted on is no simple machine to maintain. Remember that these machines are built for
recreation- not survival.

Now that the blackest of pictures has been painted, let’s talk about what will work in the survival context. Blue
Bird, the school bus maker, marketed a motor home I had occasion to look at a few years back. The vehicle was
based on their standard school bus with the body constructed of steel- no wood or staples involved. This type of
construction means that the manufacturer's production tooling is much more expensive, but the resulting vehicle is
much more likely to stay together than the cheaper types.

Many of the newer motorhomes are using a more elaborate construction technique consisting of fiberglass skin over
a composite wood and steel frame. Voids are sometimes filled with urethane foam to help deaden sound. This is of
course better than the wood and staple method, but still not as strong as the welded and riveted steel types.

A third alternative, and probably the best, involves giving up most of the comforts of gadgets found in the typical
motorhome. Just as the experienced business traveler soon learns that he can live out of a very small suitcase for
days, the survivor must realize that he can’t take his castle with him and hope to come through. A modern ¾-ton,
long wheelbase van equipped with bunks is an excellent choice.

Ford vans in 1978 are to be offered with a 5-speed manual transmission, which will be a real plus. The steel body
offers the strength most of the elaborate rolling stock does not have, and the more compact size permits much easier
handling.
One item to avoid on the new vans is the big sliding side door. This writer has seen more than one of those big
sliding doors slide right off its tracks and clatter unceremoniously to thee street. Most irritating in the grocery store
parking lot-much more so in a survival situation. The standard two-piece opening side doors are still available.
Make certain you have them if a van is your choice.

Tires are another problem. Considering that you are going to be away from any tire repair facility, be certain to
carry at least two spares, as well as a bead breaker arid tire fixing tools. (At a later date, we will detail what
amounts to a project vehicle, complete with full tool and parts inventory.)

At the risk of repetition, remember that you are not going for a weekend at Pismo Beach- if the thing breaks there is
no Auto Club to come drag it away. KEEP IT SIMPLE.

The last general survival concept involves an established retreat, but one located in such a remote area that an all
out off-road machine is required. Obviously, you will be looking for all-wheel-drive capability to carry you and
your family to a location which cannot be reached even by secondary roads.

The first thing to do is to disregard most of the nonsense you may have read in the general interest four-wheeler
magazines. The hot rod school of thought, plated over with chrome, has no place in survival thinking.

If you want a very good idea of how an off-road survival vehicle should be constructed, equipped, and rigged, go
down to your local National Guard facility and take a look at some of their wheeled tactical vehicles. They will
probably have an M37 Dodge ¾-ton weapons carrier, some 2 ½-ton 6x6 cargo trucks, and maybe even one of the
rather new 1 ¼-ton Gamma Goat 6x6 trucks.

Take a good look at how the tools are stowed- they are set up so they don’t rattle around loose but are still easily
accessible. If you can, take a look at the cooling systems. The radiators are far larger than what the Jeep salesman
has ever seen. Winches -a separate subject to be covered in detail at a later date- are never of the anemic electric
type. Power takeoff winches are preferable for the military as well as for survival machines.

Engines you should consider should never be of the multi-carb, hot cam variety. Ultra-high compression should
likewise be ruled out, as you will need to burn whatever fuel is available. Any of the modern six cylinder engines or
small-block V8’s are more than sufficient. Anything more complex or thirsty should not be used.

Primarily due to lack of good parts support, there are several 4x4’s you should steer clear of: the Subaru we
mentioned earlier, Land Rovers of any vintage (If you doubt this, pick up the biggest yellow pages you can find and
try to buy a part more exotic than a spark plug for a Land Rover), and the machine Datsun marketed some years
back called the Nissan Patrol.

Another class which makes no sense is the mini-truck conversion. A number of companies have put together 4x4
conversions for the Chevrolet Love, Ford Courier, and the Datsun and Toyota Japanese pickups. As weekend toys,
these trucks are perfectly all right, but as machinery on which your life might depend, they are less than acceptable.

In terms of what you should choose, most anything with the name Jeep is fine- with one exception. In the middle
sixties, they built a six-cylinder overhead cam power plant that looked great on paper. To the manufacturer’s great
regret, the engines did not behave at all well under the hood.

They had a very disturbing habit of throwing rods and breaking cranks. Most Jeep vehicles built with that engine
have been converted to something more practical. The most popular replacement is a 283-350 Chevrolet. Such a
conversion is fine if done properly, but stay away from the OHC sizes.
This writer’s personal experience with the Toyota Land Cruiser was such that I dubbed the machine I bought new
in 1973 the Land Cripple. After two blown engines under warranty in 5,000 miles, I decided that a pair of tennis
shoes might be more reliable.

Despite my personal misfortune, enough good reports about the Toyotas abound that I must conclude they are
reasonable vehicles. The 4x4 carryall-type truck they market is a very practical truck. Toyota parts availability
could be better, but it is by no means poor.

One of the weakest areas in the “as issued” Land Cruiser is tires. They look great but their puncture resistance is nil.
If you elect to replace the tires with something more suited to off-pavement operation, do not let the salesman talk
you into “trick” alloy wheels. They might look cute at the supermarket parking lot, but if you ever have more flats
than spares, there is no substitute for a steel rim. The pretty alloy wheels disintegrate rather readily.

While I have recommended several Ford Products in other sections of this report, I am a bit less enthusiastic about
their 4x4 trucks. My reasoning has nothing to do with the quality of the pieces, but rather with the way they hang
them together. Take a look under a Ford 4x4 pickup.

That big anchor-sized thing hanging down in the center is the transfer case. A sharp blow with a big rock will
uproot the transfer case and do all manner of bad things to the running gear. Both Dodge and GM do a better job of
getting the important pieces up and out of harm’s way.

Stowing your tools, water, and food is very important. Tossing equipment into this gap or that will not do. After a
few miles, you will have a stew of maps, tools, parts, food, and clothing. This sort of jumble is actually depressing
as well as very inefficient when you really need something.

Again, look at the GI tactical vehicles. They are as close to an ideal off-road survival vehicle as you can buy. They
are replete with lockers, tool racks and stowage hard points. Buying a GI truck is quite possible, and parts are
available from a surprisingly large number of outlets. A future column will cover military trucks in detail.

Future columns will be devoted to very specific evaluations of products, equipment, and vehicles. We will discuss
suggested parts and tool inventories to back up your machine when commercial sources are not available.

Please let us hear about your ideas and questions. Those of general interest will be answered in the column. Others
will receive a personal reply. Address all correspondence to “Ross Lee”, PS Letter, Box 598, Rogue River, OR
97537.

Items Not To Miss:


Daily News Digest (​ Research Publications, Box 27496, Phoenix, AZ 85061, $90.00 per year). The issue for the
week of 10/5/77 contains these items on “conspiracies”, including a shocking direct quote from the full text of
Carter’s “Message to Space” via the Voyager spacecraft. Vital information for survivalists and brilliant
commentary by the Digest editor, W. A. “John” Johnson.

McKeever’s MISL (​ Box 4130, Medford, OR 97501, $95.00 per year) No.154, early October. Jim McKeever, a
survivalist whose incisive economic analyses are known worldwide, has recently become a neighbor and his
​ o.154 are well worth reading.
comments about moving to his Oregon ranch/retreat in ​MJSL N

We have made arrangements for PS Letter subscribers to receive free sample copies of these newsletters upon
request to the publishers (not to us). M. T.
300 Title Booklist

For the latest up-to-date list of survival books available send an SASE to S.I., 24206 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, CA
90505 and mention you are a PS Letter subscriber.

Elements of Rifle Sighting


by Jeff Cooper

The sights on a rifle enable the shooter to bring his optical line of sight into fairly close coincidence with the gentle
curve of his bullet’s trajectory. For practical purposes a light-of-sight is straight. A ballistic missile (such as a
bullet) travels in a curve as gravity pulls it toward the earth’s center. This curve is not constant, being quite flat at
inception and decreasing in radius as missile speed is reduced by the resistance of the air through which it passes.

Thus, to be useful, a rifle must be “​zeroed” ​by adjusting its sights so that the sight line intersects the mean curve of
its trajectory at a predetermined distance from the muzzle. Since the sights are normally situated above the barrel,
the bullet starts its free flight below the sight line, rises to its initial intersection a short distance out, travels above
the sight line for a longer distance, curves back to its second intersection (“zero”), and then falls away rather
quickly below the sight line as it loses velocity. The distance at which a rifle is zeroed will depend upon the type of
shooting it is intended for, the ballistic efficiency of its bullet, but mainly upon its initial velocity.

Ideally what is sought is a trajectory that does not depart enough from line of sight to require the shooter to hold
either low or high, on the size of target he intends to engage, out to a distance beyond which his holding ability is
not good enough to stay on that target. This ideal can be achieved in some cases. For example, a rifle intended for
deer hunting may be adjusted with the assumption that the target zone necessary for a clean kill on a small deer is
represented by a circle about eight inches across.

What is wanted is a sight setting that will place a bullet somewhere within an 8-inch circle, if the shooter’s hold is
exactly centered, out to where he can’t hit an 8-inch circle- from a field position, under time pressure.

With a 170-grain flat-nosed .30-30 starting at 2200 fps, we might choose to zero at 150 yards. With this setting the
bullet will be traveling about 1 ½” above the sight line 50 yards out, 2” above it at 100 yards, intersect at 150 yards,
and drop 5” below it at 200. This will be quite suitable for shots up to 175 yards, but at 200 the center of impact
will have dropped below the bottom of the 8-inch circle.

If, on the other hand, we zero this piece for 200 yards, we find that the bullet is traveling 4 ½” high at 100- calling
for a deliberately low hold at typical deer ranges. This would seem to label the 30-30 as a 175-yard deer gun, which
is just about right. And it is indeed a fine deer gun. People who can hit an 8-inch circle 80% of the time at 175 yards
-in a hurry- are extremely uncommon.

But we can reach farther if we choose. The very popular .270/130, starting at some 3100 fps. can be zeroed at 250
yards without having its bullet 4” above or below the sight line out to about 325 yards.
If we go to extremes and start a 190-grain .30 caliber match bullet at 3200 fps, we may theoretically zero the piece
at 300 yards and stay in our 8-inch circle from muzzle to 350 yards.

In practice, we generally zero .22 rimfire rifles at 60 yards, centerfires of the 2100-2300 fps class at 150, 2400 to
2900 at 200, and the 3000+-footers at 250.

Manufacturers make an effort to set up some sort of zero at the factory, but this is never a precise operation, nor
should it be. In the first place, the very coarse open sights generally furnished as factory equipment do not permit
really exact optical alignment, and, secondly, only coincidentally will the same zero serve two different shooters.

If good aperture sights or telescope sights are used, ​each shooter must zero his own rifle, ​and do so with the same
load he intends to use for record.

Rifle sights may be metallic or of glass. Metallic sights are of two types- open and aperture (“peep sights”). Glass
sights are usually telescopic, affording some measure of magnification.

In untrained hands, the open sight is fastest and least precise, the aperture is more exact but slower, and the scope is
most exact and slowest. For the skilled marksman, however, while the open sight remains the least exact, it also
loses its speed advantage.

I believe that a low-powered telescopic sight, properly mounted and used correctly, is slightly faster than any
metallic sight. And I have found that, for me at least, a large-ring aperture, placed close to the eye, is slightly faster
than an open sight and permits more precise placement at equal speed. As to practical accuracy, target aperture
sights and target telescope sights produce about the same results in competition.

The primary advantage of the telescope sight is its single focal plane. With open sights the shooter must try, to
focus on three points

-rear sight, front sight, and target- each of which lies at a different distance from his eye. With the aperture sight he
must try for two- front sight and target. But with the scope the sighting index (“reticle”) is projected right on the
target, requiring only one focal distance.

While a telescope sight is little, if any, more precise than a good aperture sight on sharply defined, highly visible
targets such as bullseyes, it permits surer bullet placement on targets which are hard to see, such as a rabbit in a
brush pile or a lion in dry grass. Magnification is naturally a factor in this, but magnification ought not be thought
of as an end in itself. 4x is not necessarily “better” than 2x, nor 10x than 4x. As magnification goes up so does
apparent tremor; and field of view decreases as does sharpness of definition.

A “variable” glass gives the shooter his choice of magnification, within limits, but a variable sight is bulkier, more
expensive and usually has too much gadgetry immediately forward of the rearward cone for it to be mounted
properly forward. (As a rule-of-thumb, the rearward lens of a telescope sight should ride no further aft than the
rearward curve of the trigger guard.)

Open, metallic sights have served riflemen for centuries, and are still popular with thousands of outdoorsmen.
Obviously they will do, but they are the least satisfactory of the three systems. To be visible at all, the rear notch
must be set well forward on the barrel, necessarily reducing sight radius and corresponding geometric acuity.

The customary round front bead provides a poor index of elevation and the shooter is never really sure how far
down into the rear notch it should go especially when in a hurry. Coincidentally, that rear notch is very rarely
capable of other than haphazard adjustment.
A properly designed metallic aperture sight is far better, but it must indeed be properly designed. It cannot be in
unit with an open sight (Springfield ‘03 and German G3 to the contrary) because apertures are looked ​through, ​not
at, and must be placed close to the eye- the closer the better. One does not consciously center the front sight in the
rear aperture- he lets his eye do it naturally. Thus he uses the front sight only. With a fairly large ring this process
can be very quick, and no precision is lost.

A good front sight should be a rectangular post, not a bead, for only a flat top provides a sharp index of elevation.
This may not be necessary on a charging elephant at 15 steps, but a gold, red or white insert on a post is just as
quick as a bead, and has an extra margin of precision to boot.

On modern sporting and combat rifles there is seldom any need to set sights when afield; Modern rifles shoot flat
enough so that one setting will suffice out to distances where effective work is limited to specially trained and
equipped snipers. The peculiar sights found on turn-of-the-century military rifles -adjustable (after a fashion) to
2000 yard more- were designed for area fire by massed riflemen. Such tactics are no longer with us, and never did
apply to the individual shooter.

The novice rifleman must understand the theory of sights, and then work with them until their use in practice is
quite clear to him. Good equipment is nice to have and can be a joy to operate, but it is no good in the hands of one
who has not taken the trouble to learn it. A fine marksman with a second-rate rifle is far more effective than the
reverse.

New York’s Blackout Looting


Brooklyn District Attorney Eugene Gold has recently released a survey which appears to contradict statements
made by President Carter and others who have indicated that hunger motivated the looters during the July 13-14
blackout.

Gold said that of the 176 persons indicted so far (1004 were arrested in the borough), 48% were regularly employed
and 41% were in anti-poverty or educational programs. Fewer than 10% were on welfare. Further, although 39
furniture stores, 20 pharmacies and 17 jewelry stores were looted, only six grocery stores reported thefts. M. T.

You should be subscribing to: ​Wood Burning Quarterly,​ $6.00 per year, 8009 34th Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN
55420. Lots of ads, but many unusual articles also. Well worth $6.00.

North American Arms “Mini-Revolver”- Model NAA .22LR


This diminutive firearm is neither a derringer nor is it the impractical toy which it may appear to some. In fact, it is
an extremely well-made, reliable stainless steel revolver, and I consider it the ultimate in a serious concealment
weapon.

For some time, an even smaller version of this arm has been available, chambered for the .22 short only, and
although it exhibited excellent workmanship, I was unable to recommend it because the cartridge was inadequate
for defense even at very close range. The new model in .22LR is quite another matter, however.
I do not mean to imply that any .22 rimfire handgun is an optimal choice as a primary defensive weapon, but this
new “Mini-Revolver” is capable of being concealed in places where no other equally effective firearm could
be, and for that reason it should be seriously considered as a back-up- or possibly as the only means of being armed
on those rare occasions when carrying a more obtrusive weapon would be impossible.

Loaded with .22LR CCI Stingers, this little single action revolver is formidable in close quarters- and that is the
only circumstance in which it should be used. Although it is sufficiently accurate to hit a quart oil can consistently
at 15 feet, this little piece is at its best when used as a contact weapon. That is, pressed against a vital portion of an
opponent’s anatomy and fired while in contact.

I would prefer, of course, never to let an assailant get that close -for that matter, I would rather not be attacked at
all- yet it does happen. Muggers and street gangs occasionally succeed in assaulting even the most cautious, and on
such an occasion, having the Mini-Revolver easily accessible could save your life.

Many police officers are now wearing these unobtrusive little gats on chains around their necks beneath their shirts,
and the factory offers a ring attached to the butt as an option for that purpose. Vest pockets, watch pockets, and
sleeve bands are also a possibility. Women sometimes tuck them in their bras or tape them to their legs.

If you wear a 2” wide belt, you can even conceal the Mini- there, horizontally between belt and trousers, and it
would probably not be discovered in a casual bump frisk. Since construction is of stainless steel, the gun can be
worn in close contact with the skin without fear of rust formation.

I have fired over 500 rounds through my Mini-Revolver now and it has functioned flawlessly. The fit and finish is
nothing short of exquisite and I have found it completely reliable in every regard. On any occasion when a knife
might be used for defense, the North American Arms .22LR would probably be a better choice for the average
citizen. I consider it a must for anyone who may have occasion to go armed now or in the future, even if more
effective weapons are (wisely) carried.

The price is about $100 and most gun shops carry the Mini-, or else they can order it for you. For literature and
information about your nearest dealer, contact Dave LaRue at North American Arms, Freedom, WY 83120.
Telephone: (307) 883-2468.

CAUTION: Never trust the half-cock safety of any single action revolver, even one as well made as this. Although
the cylinder will hold five rounds, load only four and let the hammer all the way down on the empty chamber. In
this condition the piece will be completely safe, even if dropped on its hammer.

P.S. ​Do not let anyone talk you into buying the .22 short version of this revolver because it is, “just as good”,
“cheaper”, “smaller”, or it “doesn’t really matter in a gun of this type”. This is an important piece of armament for
any survivalist to consider and nothing else on the market will do as well for its intended purpose. ​M.T

Consumer Warning, RE: CB


Despite their attractive anti-theft features, CB radio transceivers which mount their “works” in the trunk of your car
can be hazardous, according to the FCC. Normal road vibrations can loosen connections enough to cause high
voltage sparks to jump gaps during transmissions says Edward Atems of the Commission. Such sparks can create a
serious hazard of explosion by igniting gasoline fumes when the transmitter is mounted in the trunk near the gas
tank and filler tube, Atems noted.
Several other CB related fire dangers are also common, such as loose antenna connections and bumper mounted
steel whip antennas. For these reasons, avoid using your mobile CB while you are fueling your car. Detailed
recommendations on selecting and mounting CB equipment will be provided in a forthcoming issue of PS Letter​.
M.T.

Wood
Wood is normally an important fuel source for the serious survivalist. Here are two books I can highly recommend
for your library:

“Wood Heat” V ​ ivian, Rodeo Press, Emmaus, PA, $4.95. This is an outstanding book on heating and cooking with
wood. You will find important information on the selection, cutting, and managing of your wood supply. It includes
outstanding ideas on all aspects of stove selection, installation, and use. There is even a section on what to do with
your ash and soot.

“Woodstove Cookery” ​Cooper, Garden Way Publishing, Charlotte, VT 05445, $5.95. I recommend this book for
two sections: first, the most detailed checklist I have found on how to purchase a used wood stove; and second, a
well thought out section of wood stove recipes

The above books can be ordered from the publisher or from S.I., 24206 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, CA 90505.
Please include $.50 per book for postage and handling. ​B.P.

Product Review: S.W.A.T. Combat magazine Extension and Cold Comfort


Cheekpiece
A 12 gauge repeating shotgun loaded with #4 buckshot is the most effective handheld, short range (to about 40 yd.)
defensive weapon yet devised, but it owns one significant handicap. In its ordinary sporting configuration, it lacks
sufficient magazine capacity. Further, carrying spare ammunition conveniently -especially if you need the gun in a
hurry- presents an additional problem.

There are a few large-capacity pumps on the market that hold seven or eight rounds, such as the High Standard
(recently discontinued, as all of their shotguns are) and the Ithaca riot gun, but almost invariably, these models lack
the provision for interchanging barrels, and their usefulness is, thereby, limited.

Remington makes a magazine extension for their excellent 870 pump, but it is the policy of the manufacturer to
limit the sales of that accessory to law enforcement organizations and the military. None of the better auto loading
shotguns can even be fitted with such a device by their makers, so far as I know.

Fellow survivalist and resident philosopher of Bald Knob, AR, Garth Choate, has solved this problem decisively,
however, at least for owners of 12 Ga. Remington 870’s, 1100’s, Winchester 1200’s and Browning Auto-Five’s.

He has designed three sizes of shotgun magazine extensions: a 7-shot for 18” bbls., an 8-shot for 20” bbls., and a
10-shot for 26” and longer bbls. These extensions are not only available to the general public but, like everything
Choate produces, they are reasonably priced and better than anyone else’s. They are so ruggedly built, in fact, that
they do not need the scratch-prone and unsightly barrel band normally employed by factory made units to hold
them in place.
Called S.W.A.T. Combat Magazine Extensions, these simple devices can be installed or removed without tools in
less than one minute and they come complete with instructions and an extra strength spring to insure flawless
feeding. I am told that the FBI and other agencies are now using the S.W.A.T. in preference to the factory-made
units, and for good reason; they work better.

If you own a shotgun that can be fitted with a S.W.A.T. extension, buy one; if your model requires some
gunsmithing -as the High Standard 10-B does- Choate may be able to adapt an extension to your gun, but write or
call first before sending the piece for modifications. Price for the standard 7- or 8-shot unit is $18.95 ($39.95 for
the 10-shot) ppd. from: Choate Machine and Tool Co., Box 218, Bald Knob, AR 72010.

In ​Survival Guns, I​ illustrated a lace-on leather cheek-piece which I designed to hold spare ammunition on the stock
of a shotgun. Master leather maker Milt Sparks liked the concept and refined it considerably by adding a lining and
stitching, instead of riveting, the shell holders in place. His handiwork has found favor with even so august a
personage as Jeff Cooper, and I think this little accessory is a must for any fighting shotgun.

Musette bags full of shells are useful if you have time to locate them and sling one over your shoulder, but the
cheek piece has the advantage of always being with the gun and offering one complete reload. The Cold Comfort
Cheekpiece (so called because any ammunition not actually in the gun offers only cold comfort) is available for
$18.95 + $1.00 postage from Milt Sparks, Box 7, Idaho City, ID 83681. For the record, I have no financial interest
in the item, even though I designed it. I can’t even get a holster out of Milt without waiting half a year the way the
rest of you do.

Important Gun Control Information


The Carter Administration is considering the advisability of sending its gun control bill to Congress momentarily.
Among other repressive measures, the bill would provide for the elimination of most individual and small business
Federal Firearms License Holders. The “logic” seems to be that with fewer dealers to police, the staff of the BATF
can devote more of its time to investigating individual, private gun owners like you and me.

My sources tell me that Carter may be sensitive to the expression of public opinion on this issue, since his approval
index is beginning to waver, hard on the heels of the energy fiasco and the Panama boondoggle. I urge you,
therefore, to telephone the White House switchboard and register your protest against any further gun control
legislation. The number is (202) 456-1414. Writing will probably be too late. M.T.