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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 10

Issue No. 10

The Place of Automatic Weapons in Survival Planning

by Mel Tappan

Fully-automatic weapons have achieved a certain vogue among the rank and file firearm enthusiasts during the past
year or so. Partly, I think, this phenomenon is due to the fact that most of these arms are fun to shoot and they
conjure up Walter Mitty dreams of invincible prowess, but there are other factors involved as well.

For one thing, a number of class III dealers have begun to advertise in general readership publications, proclaiming
that their wares may legally be owned by ordinary citizens in most states. Further, a number of organizations
-including the Second Chance Co. (makers of body armor)- are sponsoring contests for shooters of full-auto guns.

Finally, considerable editorial coverage has been given to the subject, ranging from a monthly column in an
armchair derring-do adventure magazine to an entire periodical, “Rapid-Fire Review”, not to mention full-scale
plans and instructions for do-it-yourself, basement-built submachine guns appearing in “The Poor Man's Armorer”
and a variety of small books on improvised weaponry.

All of this notoriety has produced an increasing amount of mail from readers wanting to know the advisability of
including automatic weapons in their survival planning. For this reason, I have asked Rick Fines to prepare an
article outlining the legal considerations involved in owning such arms. Here, I would like to review some of the
practical ramifications of making automatic weapons a part of your survival battery.

First, for the benefit of those who are not yet familiar with firearms of this type, a few definitions may be helpful.

Automatic, full-automatic, full-auto​: any arm that continues to fire so long as the trigger is depressed and
ammunition remains in the magazine.

Submachine gun, machine pistol​: an automatic weapon designed to fire pistol cartridges (or special rounds of
similar power). Usually these are short, relatively light arms meant to be used at close range, often fired “from the
hip” (assault position) but they may have shoulder stocks which are frequently detachable, folding, or collapsible.

Automatic rifles or carbines​: automatic weapons using rifle cartridges which may be fired from the assault position,
the shoulder, or a bipod. Their range is determined largely by the cartridge they fire, and it may be quite short (as
with the M-2 carbine) or long (in the case of the assault rifles such as the G3- a full-auto version of the HK-91).
Some, because of recoil, are difficult to learn to handle on full auto, and almost all are more effective with a bipod.

Machine guns:​ large automatic weapons with equally large ammunition capacities (often belt-fed) not usually
intended for handheld use. In the military they may be mounted on armored vehicles or in aircraft, but most can be
had with tripods so that they are portable. In trained hands a tripod mounted machine gun of .30 or .50 caliber can
be exceptionally effective to extreme ranges.
In my opinion, there are four good reasons why none of the above items belongs in the average survivalist’s battery:

1) They tend to give one a false sense of security and, almost inevitably, they lead to poor marksmanship habits. In
Survival Guns I wrote, “Firepower is hitting what you aim at, not peppering the landscape with near misses.” That
fact hasn’t changed.

Many commanders in Vietnam had all of the M-16’s in their commands altered for semi-automatic fire only and
others made using the full-auto switch a major disciplinary offense, after experience proved the relative
ineffectiveness of full-automatic fire by their men.

Some feel that automatic weapons are just the thing for inexperienced people to use for defense, reasoning that if
they put out enough lead, they are bound to hit something. Unfortunately, such armchair logic is not borne out by
experience. Certainly, it is possible to learn to use automatic arms effectively, but it takes considerable practice and
extraordinary discipline. Trained marksmen are by far the most likely to succeed, and even then, the automatic
weapon seldom provides a significant edge in defensive situations.

2) Under survival conditions, ammunition supplies may be quite limited and certainly they will be finite. Even in
skilled hands, automatic weapons are extremely wasteful of ammunition. Unless you are prepared to add a few
thousand extra rounds to your stores solely for the use of your chopper, don’t even consider owning one.

3) In addition to the increased expense for ammunition supplies, there is the not inconsiderable cost of the weapon
itself, together with the attendant bureaucratic contribution. A good submachine gun will cost between $450 and
$1,200; an automatic rifle from $600 to $2,000; and a proper machine gun from $1,200 to $5,000- all plus the $200
government fee for the privilege of buying one.

Considering the fact that owning an auto probably will not increase your chances of staying alive -and might
actually impair them- I think you would be much better advised to spend the money in other directions; for
example: ammunition and instruction fees to become really proficient with conventional arms; and to harden your
retreat against attack by fireproofing the exterior, installing a rooftop sprinkler system against firebombing, putting
in steel exterior doors (virtually undetectable when a plastic laminate is applied), window grills, and removable,
inside blast shutters.

Realize, too, that defending a fixed site is impossible -regardless of the weapons you have- if the attacking force
is strong enough, and consider moving to a small town retreat (see PS Letter Issues No. 3 and No. 6) as a safeguard
against such levels of violence.

4) Finally, the purchase of automatic weapons creates an unnecessarily high profile with the bureaucracy.
Qualifying to buy a machine gun involves extensive checking into your background, and owning one might just put
you on the priority list if arms confiscation occurs before the collapse- as it well might.

The small cold comfort that honest citizens have in owning conventional firearms is that there are so many of us.
Rounding up the records of all arms dealers and then proceeding house to house to confiscate all of the registered
guns would take a lot of time, manpower, and money.

But few individuals legally own automatic weapons and the information is already on file in Washington. It seems
reasonable to expect that they will receive prompt attention from the gun grabbers who would probably pick up
every weapon of any kind on the premises.
Don’t even think about owning an automatic weapon illegally. You are almost certain to be found out and
Leavenworth is not the place to be when the bell rings.

Despite these remarks, some of you will nevertheless want to consider owning full-auto arms. If so, you will be
well-advised to seek qualified personal counseling, since the circumstances which might make such weapons a
reasonable choice in individual instances will probably prove quite unique. The few people who have consulted me
that could be said to “need” automatics required tripod-mounted machine guns, but most wanted submachine guns.
Very few who have actually fired them wanted automatic rifles.

If you neither buy my arguments against the breed nor feel the need for consultation, let me suggest that you
consider one of four submachine guns:

1) The Thompson (.45 ACP) is one of the most reliable, most effective, and easiest sub-guns to learn to handle,
despite the age of its design. The best is the Model 1928A1, if you can find one in good condition. The US military
issued hundreds of thousands of a simplified design known as the M1Al. It too is satisfactory, but not as finely

Magazines are no longer a problem since the Auto-Ordnance Co., Williams Lane, West Hurley, NY 12491, has
begun to issue a semi-automatic version of the Thompson and all of its magazines and accessories fit the older
models. (Incidentally, I can see no purpose for a semi-auto Thompson except plinking.)

2) The Uzi (9mm Parabellum) was developed by the Israelis when it occurred to them that domestic manufactured
weapons had a place in their future. It is reliable and extremely popular worldwide, primarily because of its
relatively light weight and compact size.

If I were buying one I would get the collapsible stock model and the 32-round magazines (the 40’s tend to jam).
Most Uzi’s are currently made in Holland under license and they are both hard to find and expensive in the US,
through legal channels.

3) One of the most sophisticated families of submachine guns is the Heckler & Koch MP-5-series, of which there
are six models, all in 9mm Parabellum (9x19mm). They share a number of parts in common with the excellent
HK-91 .308 assault rifle, although they are considerably smaller. The MP-5 SD is a silenced weapon and its most
generally useful configuration is the MP-5 SD3 with retractable stock.

My own choice in this series, however, would be the ultra-compact MP-5 K, which weighs only 4.4 lbs. and is just
over one foot long. In the right hands, it could be a real crowd pleaser. All of these models are in current production
and are readily available to qualified buyers through class III dealers.

4) The Ingram MAC-10 (.45ACP or 9mm Parabellum) was designed and made in the United States. A very
efficient suppressor was designed for it and, even with that in place, the MAC is reasonably compact. A retractable
wire stock is standard and 30-round magazines are still available in quantity, as are the guns themselves.

I consider the Ingram an expert’s weapon because of its high cyclic rate of fire (1,100 rounds per minute). Great fire
discipline and some skill are required or the magazine will be emptied in one or two short bursts.

In the mail I have received from PS Letter readers about automatic weapons, one question is persistent: “Wouldn’t
it be a good idea to have a machine gun even if you can’t hit much with it, because the noise and firepower will
probably scare off the attackers?”
It is my experience that the most demoralizing thing to an attacking mob is seeing their cohorts drop every time a
shot is fired. If the mob is small enough, and you keep at it long enough, morale will cease to be a consideration. I
suppose the sound of automatic weapons fire might deter some casual intruders, but not an attack by
well-organized, experienced, determined looters.

One client of mine decided to have it both ways. He had an endless loop tape made of two submachine guns firing
which he can play through a camouflaged outdoor loudspeaker from his battery-operated cassette recorder. He
plans to combine the noise with effective semi-automatic fire from his HK-91. Not a bad idea. You may confuse
your attackers with respect to your own position, you may frighten a few, and you will certainly save a lot of

Please keep one fact in mind when making your own decision regarding automatic weapons. In a serious encounter,
only hits count. The speed with which you can empty a magazine does not.

A Layman’s Guide to the Ownership of Machine Guns, Destructive Devices,

and Other
Federally-Regulated Weapons
by Rick Fines

The most misunderstood firearm you might want to own is the machine-gun, or any of the various other “devices”
subject to exceptional federal regulation and control. Some will tell you that ownership is flatly illegal; others will
insist that possession is subject to heavy annual taxes, and still others will tell you that it takes “an act of Congress”
to buy an automatic weapon. For some reason, most every gun shop has an “expert” in residence who will advise
you on every detail of transfer and ownership. Unfortunately, most of these experts have never owned, transferred,
or even held an automatic weapon in their hands.

The fact of the matter is that ownership is perfectly legal and subject to a once only transfer tax of $200, payable to
the US Treasury. Having established that ownership is legal and possible, don’t misunderstand and believe that it's
simple. The route from the desire to own to legal possession is a complex, but by no means impassable one.

The first order of business is to find a gun that you want to buy. For the sake of this discussion, let's assume that it
is a Thompson M1A1 of World War Two vintage. Also assume that you have located the piece in the hands of a
local private owner who has expressed an interest in selling.

Before you even take the gun in your hands to look at, ask to examine the federal registration certificate. If the
owner says he can’t find the paper, you look for the door and walk out of it.

Do not accept anything other than a look at the registration paper, which may take either of two basic forms. If the
gun was registered during the federal amnesty of November, 1968, the certificate will describe the firearm and
identify the owner, as well as contain a statement as to whether or not the piece is operational.
The later certificates, issued after the amnesty, contain all the above plus a photo of the registered owner.
Obviously, you should make certain that the numbers on the gun match the numbers on the registration and make
certain that the man selling the gun is actually the same man to whom the piece is registered.

If this sounds a bit paranoid, remember that owning a machine gun in violation of law is a federal felony- as in bank
robbery, kidnapping, etc. Grand juries are readily sold on indictments for crimes as seemingly evil as possession
and sale of machine guns. Always make certain you are dealing with a gun, a matching piece of paper, and a
matching owner.

If you and the local owner strike up a deal, you must request from your local BATF office some copies of their
Form 4, as well as some of their fingerprint cards. You then fill out a duplicate set of Form 4 paper work and go to
your local police station and have a pair of fingerprint cards inked.

The next step may contain a clinker. Your local police chief or sheriff must “endorse” your application for transfer.
In some cases he may simply decline to do so. Unless he knows you to be a character of less than sterling repute, he
has no justifiable reason, yet you have no simple way to compel him to approve your application.

In some cases where the chief won’t sign, the reason may simply be that he does not like the idea of anyone owning
a gun with more firepower than he has at his disposal. In others (I can think of a few) the chief may back away
because someone in his jurisdiction has managed to get himself in trouble with a registered firearm and the
notoriety caused the chief enough trouble that he routinely turns down all requests for transfer endorsement.

Your next step -assuming that you managed to clear the local hurdle- is to submit the completed copies of Form 4,
as well as some of their fingerprint cards, two current photos of yourself, and $200 to the BATF in Washington,
DC. In somewhere between three and six weeks, a new registration certificate will arrive with your name and
photograph affixed. At that point -and not before- you may take possession of your firearm.

Some states have restrictions on the possession of live full-auto guns, over and above the controls imposed by
federal law. One good example is California, in which the state Department of Justice is empowered to issue a
machine gun permit, which, in turn, is necessary to allow a federal transfer. (The feds will not process a transfer if
possession of the gun in question would place the new owner in violation of state or local law.)

The “Catch-22” is that California will not issue a permit to an individual. California does not get too upset about
transfers of “unserviceable” firearms, but live guns are a virtual impossibility, unless you happen to be a studio
rental organization.

You’ll recall that we discussed the mechanics of the transfer with the supposition that the gun was from a private
party in the same state as the buyer. If the gun must come from out of state, the situation is a bit different. The
transaction must be handled on both ends by a licensed dealer in automatic weapons. A regular firearms dealer will
not do.

In some states, you may not find a dealer convenient to you, and I suppose there are some states with no licensees.
In any event, you may expect that the dealers will expect to be paid for their efforts in handling the transaction.
Some of the “expert” advice you encounter may revolve around the guns which have been classified as “curios and
relics”. A notable example is the Colt Model 1921 Thompson. A firearm may be so classified if the Director of the
BATF is convinced that the bulk of its worth is derived from its historical association rather than its utility value as
a firearm.

Despite the “curio” classification, the M1921 is still subject to all the same transfer regulations as any other
Thompson. The difference is that a man with a federal collector’s license may ship or receive the gun in interstate
commerce without possessing a machine gun dealer’s license. Some individuals have wrongly believed that the
curio and relic classification exempts a firearm from control and tax- it isn’t so.

At this point, you might reasonably ask why go through all the paperwork. You may even know someone who has
just the gun you want. He may even be an old and trusted friend, whom you know would never consider “setting
you up”. If you don't know what a set-up amounts to, it’s a situation in which you are a party to an illegal
transaction in which law enforcement people also have a hand. The difference between entrapment and set-ups is
essentially semantic. Suffice it to say that they happen.

If the BATF has already arrested someone, they routinely quiz the man about associates who share his interests. At
times, people are led to believe that if they help out the “cause”, the BATF or the US Attorney will go easy on
them. Such may or may not be the case, but that’s the way the system works. If a man accused of a felony believes
that he can get out from under, he is usually more than anxious to cooperate.

Of the people who get into trouble with automatic weapons, I think it’s safe to say that few of them are arrested for
simple possession, transportation, or even shooting them. The problems arise in buying and selling.

That wouldn’t happen to you- right? Wrong. Use your head. You would not be set up by an enemy. You would not
allow yourself to be placed in a compromised position by someone in whom you have neither trust nor respect. A
stranger would be an unlikely candidate to set you up. One does not conspire to commit felonies with strangers.

Who does that leave? Friends are the only ones left on my list. If a friend is faced with a felony arrest, the likely
loss of his job, his savings, and probably his marriage, do you really think he won’t consider “burning” you? Most
of us won’t sell a used car to a friend or, as the old saying goes, mix business with friendship. You should at least
be consistent enough not to mix felonies with friendship.

If you buy a gun legally, you own it. You may shoot it, display it, or do whatever pleases you within the bounds of
common sense. If you bought the gun out of the trunk of a car behind a saloon on a dark and rainy night, that thing
owns you. You may not openly do a damn thing with it. If you bought it illegally, someone besides yourself knows
about it, and eventually a BATF snitch will find out and inform on you.

There are those that say that “they” will eventually come around and confiscate all the registered guns. That may or
may not be a fact. The fact is that “they” can nail you and the gun at any time it pleases “them” and disrupt your life
in the process if the piece is not legal.

Those are the facts. The decision on which way to go is yours.

The other category of federally regulated weapon in which you might have some interest is the Destructive Device.
The feds deem that any weapon with a bore diameter in excess of .50 caliber, which fires fixed ammunition, is a
destructive device. Shotguns, some signaling devices, and certain other items are exempted. The 20mm anti-tank
and anti-aircraft guns, larger cannons, bazookas, and mortars are all covered.

These pieces were covered by no federal laws other than the normal statutes until 1968. At that time, all defined
Destructive Devices were required to be registered. The transfer procedure is identical to that used for machine
guns, as is the $200 transfer tax. One problem is that there are very few dealers in destructive devices, which
greatly complicates interstate transfer.

Another problem is ammunition. Over and above the great costs involved, the feds managed to throw another
clinker in our paths. If the ammunition in question happens to be HE (high explosive), each individual round of
ammunition is subject to separate registration and separate transfer tax. If, for example, you decide to buy an
82mm mortar with fifty projectiles rated HE, your total transfer tax liability would amount to $10,200.

A practical consideration that must be considered is that HE and exotic ammunition does not store all that well.
Worse than a dud, some types are not “bore-safe” after a period of time. That is to say that the HE round might
detonate in or just in front of the gun barrel. Other than the 20mm Lahti and Solothurn guns, most of the destructive
devices are best left in the collector’s realm.

There is one other category of federally-regulated firearms referred to as “other weapons”. This classification
includes such guns as the Ithaca Auto-Burglar, the H&R Handy-Gun, the Marbles Gamegetter, certain “fountain
pen”-type guns, and others. Most of the guns in this category are shotguns or shot pistols originally manufactured
with barrels less than 18 inches long.

Note that a shotgun with barrels sawed off does not fall in this classification. The transfer fee for this “other
weapon” category is $5.00- far less than the $200 for machine guns and destructive devices. Do not think, however,
that the BATF takes a casual attitude towards enforcement or prosecution because the transfer fee is so small.

If you decide you must have a weapon which comes under the $5.00 provisions for transfer, make certain that you
have the appropriate papers with the firearm. Without them, you will, at the very least, lose the gun if it is found in
your possession.

This subject is not a simple one and obviously cannot be covered in detail in these few words. If you have more
detailed questions, call the BATF and request a current copy of their book called ​Published Ordinances Firearms.​
The book is free and lists all of the gun laws in force in each state and county, as well as those on the federal books.
There is also a question/answer section and some basic interpretations of federal law. It’s well worth having on
your shelf.

If you still have questions, you may ask the BATF or consult an attorney. I would suggest that if you direct
questions to the BATF, you should address them to the director in Washington. Questions asked verbally of a local
agent may or may not elicit answers which are correct. Paying an attorney to answer your questions may also be a
problem. In all fairness, even a good lawyer is not likely to be expert in these rather specialized laws. You might be
better advised to formulate your questions and send them direct to DC.

Whatever you decide to do, do not take a casual attitude about these laws. Few of us would consider robbing a
bank, but a good many people take the federal gun laws a little less seriously. Remember that the people who
violate either tend to wind up in exactly the same federal slammers.
Survival Equipment
One of our PS Letter subscribers, Paul Urquhart, III has recently launched a mail-order business specializing in
equipment and supplies for survivalists. The new firm, ALIA, Inc., 14 Red Oak Road, P.0. Box 8411, Asheville,
NC 28804, will carry a variety of merchandise ranging from Second Chance Body Armor to storable foods.

Paul sent me a sample of an excellent police-style flashlight which he carries that is the brightest -cell for cell- I
have seen and quite flexible in the bargain. (You can increase or reduce the number of batteries by adding or
removing screw-in sections of barrel.) His excellent catalog is $2.00 to the public and free to PS Letter subscribers.

All That Glitters…

By Mel Tappan

The chances are good, if you have bought Krugerrands, US $20 gold pieces, Mexican 50 pesos, or other such
well-known coins, that you have received what you have paid for- gold. What about wafers and bullion bars
purchased through reputable sources and bearing the stamp of respected refiners? Still reasonably good.

The fact is, however, that base metals resembling gold both in appearance and weight are quite easy to compound,
hallmarks can be duplicated without great difficulty, and even coins can be counterfeited. Gold is now dear enough
to make such practices worthwhile for the unscrupulous, and recently I have discovered that fake 1 oz. “gold”
wafers, as well as some ersatz bullion bars, have gone into circulation.

For survivalists, the problem is compounded by the fact that many do not wish to have records made of their
transactions and, hence, they are tempted to buy their gold outside of recognized markets, usually with cash and
frequently under assumed names. Those circumstances are made to order for the con artist.

The quality of these fraudulent items is usually excellent- often good enough to fool even experts who do not go
beyond visual inspection. In fact, some forgeries actually contain some gold to confuse a simple acid test and others
are fabricated entirely of real gold, but of a lower karat than represented.

If you buy an ounce of gold that you expect to be virtually pure (.9995 fine or 24 karat) and receive instead, an
ounce of “solid gold” that is only 12 karat, you have been robbed of half the value.

I realize that many readers of PS Letter may find that they have little cash with which to buy bullion coins or
precious metals after they have acquired adequate arms, ammunition, food supplies, barter goods, medical, and
other needed survival equipment. (As you know, we recommend that these items come first, before you even
consider the various means of preserving wealth.)

But even those who may be unconcerned with such matters now may have a need to know both the kind and quality
of precious metals in the future.
Undoubtedly, after the crisis period, they will be offered coins, bullion, jewelry, or artifacts purportedly made of
gold or other precious metals in exchange for their services, trade goods, or surplus items. There will be a
considerable risk attached to accepting such offers for goods that have real, intrinsic value, especially if you have
no means of knowing for certain the true worth of the proffered “money”.

Fortunately, there is a simple testing kit available, used by jewelers, pawnshops, and professional buyers of gold
that can easily provide positive identification of gold and certain other valuable metals as well as a very close
evaluation of the quality (karat content) of gold.

Several makers produce similar kits, but the one I use and prefer is the H. R. Superior Metal Test Set, “designed to
test for the gold content of jewelry, and to detect the base metals used, if any”. It contains a set of nine US standard
gold test needles ranging from 4 karat to 20 karat, a small abrasive test stone, potassium dichromate salts, three ½
oz. glass acid bottles, and a sturdy, hinged compartmented box designed to keep everything together and

You will need to obtain a few ounces each of distilled water, nitric acid (C.P.) and hydrochloric acid (C.P.) from
your local pharmacy. A small file is also a good idea when testing jewelry or bullion bars, since these are often
coated with pure gold over base metals just to defeat testing. A small nick with the file in an unobtrusive place will
allow the solutions to work beneath the surface.

In use, the kit is quite simple. First you will need to mix three solutions and fill the small bottles provided with
them. The first is called Schwerter’s testing fluid and it is made by dissolving the potassium dichromate salts
supplied in a solution of ¾ oz. of nitric acid and ¼ oz. of distilled water. After mixing well, this solution will be
used for testing gold below 14K and for detecting base metals. It will turn pure silver bright red, .925 silver dark
red, .500 silver green, lead yellow, nickel blue, copper brown, etc. It has no effect on either gold or palladium.

Your second applicator bottle should be filled with Aqua Regia, a solution of nitric and hydrochloric acids, in
which gold is soluble. The formula is: 1 part nitric acid (by volume) and 3 parts hydrochloric acid.

The third bottle should contain 2/3 nitric acid to which you add 2 drops of hydrochloric acid, and then fill with
distilled water.

Once you have determined that your test item is gold, by using the Schwerter’s solution, you may then proceed to
test for karat. Rub the item on the dark abrasive stone, leaving a definite deposit. Then choose a needle nearest the
karat you assume the gold piece to be, rub it on the stone parallel, and adjacent to the first mark- again leaving a
visible deposit. Apply a drop of Aqua Regia to both marks at the same time.

The lower karat sample will react soonest to the acid. For example, if the mark left by the test piece fades more
quickly than that from the needle, you know that the piece is a lower karat than the needle you chose. By repeating
the test until both marks react in approximately the same time the karat of the gold piece may be closely estimated.

Whether your interest in gold is current -to prevent making an expensive mistake when buying gold now- or future
-to determine the value offered in trade- you should consider owning one of these test kits. One, incidentally, is
enough even for a small group and even if you anticipate extensive dealings in precious metals.

You will need to replenish the various solutions from time to time of course, but the gold needles will last for as
long as you are apt to need them. My father earned his living during the Great Depression buying and selling “old
The kit he bought in 1928 has seen almost daily use, and it is still in service.

Since these testing kits are normally only obtainable through wholesale jewelry supply houses, we have arranged to
make them available to our subscribers (only) at our cost of $65.00 each. If the price seems high, you will
understand the reason when you examine the kit. Those testing needles contain a good deal of gold and -with the
kit- you’ll know for certain that they are gold.

Survival Wheels: Cold Weather Operations

by Rick Fines

In the middle of summer, when the coldest thing you are likely to encounter is a gin and tonic, it’s a bit difficult to
take the subject of vehicle operations in extreme cold very seriously. Having just completed a trip across the
mountain passes of Northern California in freezing rain and drifting snow, I was reminded that winter is upon us
and the subject of cold weather preparation is an overdue one for this column.

Vehicles in neglected, marginal condition will often run reasonably well when the thermometer does not drop
below 50 degrees. At 30, things begin to get a bit ragged, but they still function after a fashion. When the
temperature gets down to zero, machinery grinds to an immobile halt if you have not done your job.

There are a good many folk in cold areas who prefer to leave the job to their local expensive service station
operator, or simply plan to “call the Auto Club” when things grunt but won’t move. That sort of thinking is fine if
the most important thing on your agenda is to arrive at the office in time to avoid missing the coffee truck.

Under survival conditions, you may never have a chance to see that coffee truck again if your vehicle will not start
and run. There will be no Auto Club to call (even if the phones work) and the service station man will already have
cleared the area in his own vehicle.

The most serious problems related to severe cold weather operations relate to starting. After the engine is running,
90% of your problems are solved. If you do not manage to get that engine to run, at least 90% of your problems are
ahead of you.

Most of the items I’ll discuss regarding preparation should already have been done to your machine to assure
optimum reliability under all conditions. Cold simply brings out the worst in most machinery. Marginal
components which coast along in warm weather simply become unserviceable in extreme cold.

There are a few basic tools you should carry with you to supplement your normal inventory:

1. Carry a good set of jumper cables made from No. 4 cable or larger. This item can be a problem as there are so
many cheap, useless jumpers on the market. You should plan on spending from $25 to $50 for a set of cables worth
carrying. Pay particular attention to the way in which the wire is attached to the clamps. Many of the cheaper sets
(and a few of the more expensive ones) simply crimp the sheet metal of the clamps to the cable.

This arrangement is not acceptable. Slide the plastic handle forward if the connection detail cannot be seen
otherwise. At the very least, the cable should be attached to a lug which is, in turn, fastened to the clamp.
If the connection detail is poor, the result will be a great concentration of heat at the connection, sufficient to melt
the plastic handles or burn your hand. If you object to paying $25 or more for cables, don’t buy any. By doing
without, you’ll at least not make any pretense about depending on a tool which you really don’t have.

2. Carry several cans of aerosol starting fluid. This stuff is an ether-based volatile spray. DO NOT spray it around
any source of flame including a cigar or cigarette dangling from your face. If you insist on doing so, you may find
your face dangling from a tree. If you use the spray to help the engine start, remove your air cleaner, or at least the
top cover and spray directly into the carburetor. If your engine is equipped with an automatic choke, be certain that
you have pushed open the choke butterfly so that the fluid goes into the engine rather than all over the intake

If you plan to operate the vehicle for any extended period of time in extreme cold, change your normal engine lube
oil to a fill of straight SAE 10-weight oil. Do not use STP or any other viscosity builder. You may leave gear oil or
automatic transmission fluid alone.

The next item to consider is the battery. If yours has been in use for three years, replace it. I don’t care if the
warranty is good for another year or into your next incarnation- replace the battery. The people who stand behind
the warranty are not likely to be around when you need them the most.

Buy the heaviest replacement unit available in the group size that fits your machine. If, for example, you have a
late-model Ford van or truck, you should buy a Group 27F battery of 85 to 95 ampere-hour capacity. A good
battery of that size should retail for perhaps $60. If you buy the battery from an outlet that includes installation, you
may have bought trouble. Do not allow them to replace the battery without attention to the cables and connectors.

It’s possible to install a perfectly good new battery in a vehicle and have it perform so poorly that it will be replaced
by another under warranty. It’s a fact that of the batteries replaced under warranty within the first few weeks of
operation, the majority are perfectly serviceable. If the connectors are horribly corroded and damaged, most of us
can realize that they should be replaced. The real problem is that connectors in good condition, with a light coat of
corrosion or oxide on the contact surfaces, will perform very poorly.

Summer operation may be more tolerant of this problem than winter duties, as the oxide simply chokes the flow of
current to the starter. Cold weather requires more energy to turn the engine and the battery is capable of delivering
far less current in cold conditions. To get a start, all the reduced power the battery can deliver must reach the starter.

If you buy new cables, make certain that they are at least as heavy as original equipment. If your existing cables are
dirty, put a pot of boiling water on the stove, pour in some baking soda and drop the cables and connectors in. The
corrosion, consisting of copper and lead sulfates, will dissolve. If the bolt securing the connector is badly eroded,
replace it.

If your cables clean up reasonably well, use a terminal brush (available for a few dollars at most parts stores) to
polish the contact areas at both ends of the cables. The metal must be as clean and shiny as a new coin. A dull gray
or copper color will not do. If you do not have a brush, sandpaper will do nearly as well.

The next order of business is to polish the battery posts so that the lead is bright. After your battery is installed in a
clean battery compartment and secured with a good hold down device, smear some wheel bearing grease on the
battery posts and the exposed metal parts of the terminals.
There are several reasons for the grease. Since this important step is usually omitted, you should understand why
you are getting that goop all over your hands:

1. The lubricant allows the lead in the terminal to literally extrude itself to a good fit on the post. Without the lube,
the lead will tend to bind as the terminal is tightened and thereby reduce the conductive capacity of the connections.

2. This is the most important consideration- the grease prevents battery acid residue from reaching the lead and
copper of the connectors. The fluffy gray-green crud which destroys good connections does not form.

I have not discussed the late Delco side terminal batteries simply because I do not favor them for use in a survival
vehicle. The post design is more likely to cause problems and retain corrosion than the older SAE design. The
prime benefit is that a battery manufacturer producing thousands of batteries daily saves a few ounces of expensive
lead on each unit. If your machine was originally so equipped, replace the battery and terminals with the standard

Do not take a short-cut and believe that by cleaning off the corruption from the outside and smearing some grease
about that you have done your job. The important area is that of the actual contact surface between battery post and
terminal connector. To get the job done requires that you go all the way with the dirty part of the job.

If it seems that I have taken inordinate pains with the details of battery support in a piece dealing with cold weather
operations, such was the intent. If the battery is not in good order and the installation is less than meticulous, you
had just as well plan to hike. All the other preparations on the planet will not get you started without good battery

If your starter is new or only a few years old, you need not worry about it, if it seems otherwise fine. If the starter
has been around awhile, replace it with a new one. The quality of rebuilt units is so variable -and the prices have
risen so much- that a new unit is the best bet.

If you are so inclined, take your existing starter apart, clean it, check the commutator for roughness, cut the
insulation back, and replace the brushes. Take a look at the bushings at each end of the starter. There’s more than an
even chance that the bushings are badly worn or at least require lubrication.

In years past, manufacturers provided oil cups to facilitate lubrication, but that’s a thing of the less than recent past.
Since it’s no longer practical to service the bushings on a regular basis, lube them with wheel bearing grease to get
the job done.

The reason for this time-consumer is that a starter which drags at 80 degrees will simply sit there and not even grunt
at minus ten. If the starter spins freely at normal temperatures, you at least have a chance at decent cranking speed
when the world gets cold.

The next topic is coolant and cooling systems. If the engine spins to instant life, but spews steam out from under the
hood, strips the belts, breaks the water pump, and dumps what’s left of the coolant in the dirt, you are going

Hoses are simple. Replace them at least every two years. No matter how good or “alive” they look, do it. Save the
take-offs as spares if they look good. Somehow, people who replace the upper and lower radiator hoses with
regularity never think about the heater hoses. The rubber rots just like the radiator hoses and the same coolant
gushes all over the same dirt when they fail. Remember to replace them when you replace the main hoses.
If you have taken care of your machine from the start, there should be little if any rust in the cooling system. When
you drain the coolant to replace the hoses, install new coolant. (The term anti-freeze seems to have dropped out of
the vernacular, but the terms antifreeze and coolant are essentially interchangeable.) Look up your cooling system
capacity in your owner’s manual.

Drain both your radiator and engine block, fill with water and a mild flushing compound. Flush the system and
refill with a 50-50 mixture of water and coolant. Do not run with a 100% fill of coolant, as it is not that good at
transferring heat away from your engine. The 50-50 mix will protect you to most any temperature you are likely to
encounter in the continental United States.

Your fuel tank should receive some attention. All fuel systems contain some water which does not mix with
gasoline. Some of the moisture comes from condensation in your own tank and some is introduced from the deep
tanks at service stations. In warm weather, it does no harm unless the quantities are really out of hand. In cold
weather, the water can freeze and block the flow of fuel to your engine.

You may eliminate that possibility by adding a few quarts of denatured alcohol to your fuel tank. Most large drug
stores carry the stuff. (Do not buy rubbing alcohol as it is already cut with about 50% water.) The alcohol is
hydroscopic and will combine with the water to form a mix that will not freeze and will burn with the rest of the
fuel as it goes through the engine.

If you are unable to maintain your machine in a heated garage, you can take one component indoors with you at
night and accomplish a great deal. Batteries, like all chemical reactions, get very sluggish when cold. Even a new,
fully-charged battery delivers only a fraction of the energy it should when cooled to below zero.

The answer is to remove the battery from your vehicle when you stop and keep it in a warm place. When you are
ready to roll, install the warm battery in the vehicle and start. Cold oil does have some effect, as does a cold starter
motor. The most important factor in cold starts is the battery. If it is warm, you have a very good chance of rolling.

Another measure which can make the difference between moving in a warm vehicle and walking in cold snow
involves stopping your machine for the night. If there is any question in your mind about starting again in the
morning, leave the engine running. Some fuel will be consumed as we all realize that the engine must run on
something more than air. You must agree that it’s better to pull out with less than full tanks than to walk away and
leave full tanks for whomever might come by.

The practice of allowing engines to run all night is widely used by truckers in winter. If you happen to own a large
Diesel truck, fuel consumption of a Diesel at idle is minimal, so even the consumption of fuel becomes more an
academic than a practical consideration. I would, however, suggest that you keep a close check on your lube oil
level as many Diesels consume more lube oil at idle than at speed.

There are still a few more procedures you may consider if the circumstances permit. In a survival situation, they
may not be practical or possible, but at least be aware of them. The first is to use an electric lamp as a heat source
under your hood. A shop lamp will do and a heating lamp is excellent. If possible, cover the hood of the vehicle
with blankets to retain heat.
The main thing to be accomplished is to keep the fuel in your fuel pump, lines and carburetor a bit warmer than
ambient air and more likely to burn at the engine’s first turn. The air under the hood will also be warmed and aid in
starting as it is pulled through the carburetor and into the engine.

Whether your engine starts or sits there and grunts when you really need it is up to you.

The Flash Sight-Picture

by Jeff Cooper

Of the five elements of the modern pistol technique, the second usually presented is the “flash sight-picture”, or
blitzblick.​ The “sight-picture” is what one sees when he looks at his sights as they are aligned on target, and it is a
flash​ sight-picture when he picks it up instantly.

There is an opinion commonly encountered among the unenlightened to the effect that pistol sights are not useful in
social work because (a) there is no time to align them, and (b) they cannot be seen in dim light. This is erroneous.
On the contrary, sight alignment achieved by means of a properly conditioned series of reflexes can be verified in a
couple of thousandths of a second. Furthermore, in light so dim that one cannot verify alignment (with adequate
sights) shooting is unjustifiable because the target cannot be identified. *

We use the sights, even at maximum speed. If we dismiss the speed-rock draw as impractical -since it cannot be
executed except from a “ceremonial” holster- we do not lose any time in coming to eye level. If we come to eye
level, that split-second view of the front sight, in sharp focus, acts as the “GO” signal to the nerves completing the
trigger press, and produces a nice center hit just as quickly as one can move his piece from leather to line-up.

On the training range, we can read the student’s target as he works on his firing stroke. A widely-dispersed pattern,
generally distributed, indicates inconsistency in grip, stance, or position. It also, though less frequently, may mean a
focus on the target rather than the front sight. (This possibility is second only because of our intense emphasis on
front-sight focus during introductory instruction.) It is oversize groups, distributed ​high​, that point to visual loss of
the front sight. Other placement patterns tell us other things, but if we find a suggestion of front-sight loss we work
hard to correct it before getting on with the program.

When a student moves from the base range into tactical exercises, there is always a strong tendency to lose his
concentration on his flash sight-picture. This is natural because his attention is strongly preempted by the need for
target location and identification.

When forced to make a quick tactical decision in a simulated life-or-death situation, it is indeed difficult to freeze
one’s concentration, at the last instant, onto that little metal extrusion. That is why the training range saves lives. It
is certainly better to make mistakes in practice, and to learn thereby, than to make them in a fight- and lose.

As a student enters the Fun House we tell him, “You now lose your ability to concentrate on your front sight.” He
usually resents this. How can he lose his front sight? He has been locked onto it for three days! Then he runs
through the first “scenario”. More often than not he comes out, thinks hard, looks at the instructor, and says, “You
know what? I lost my front sight!”
That’s okay. After a little more work he won’t -ever again- we hope.

It is important to distinguish between stereoscopic convergence and monocular focus. The first is a matter of the
relationship of the axes of the two eyes, while the second has to do with the flexion of the lens in one eye.
Stereoscopic vision provides our ability to judge distance- at least up close. Focus provides accurate optical
definition of the object viewed. Both are important but, in shooting, the latter is more so.

It is better to shoot with both eyes open, if possible. The more one eye dominates the other the easier this will be.
You can quickly determine which of your eyes is “master” by looking fixedly at a definite point at middle distance
and quickly raising a ring of some kind (thumb and forefinger will do) at arm’s length, placing it so as to encircle
the selected point visually.

Do this quickly, and do not move ring nor eye to adjust. Now close one eye. If the point jumps out of alignment, the
eye you closed is master. If it always works the same way, it is strongly master, and you can probably shoot easily
with both eyes open. If it goes sometimes one way and sometimes the other, you eyes are roughly equal and you
may find it better to squint slightly with one in order to make sure that the other always controls.

With the pistol it does not matter which eye is master​. It may be very slightly more comfortable to shoot
right-handed with a right master eye, and left-handed with a left, but the difference is too slight to matter. Some
very fine shots shoot “cross-eyed”.

None of the foregoing has to do with focus, which is a matter of one eye only. You check focus with one eye at a
time, obscuring or closing the other. To do this, select an inscription which you can read at some distance, such as a
road sign at 50 meters or a diploma on the opposite wall.

Close one eye, raise your index finger, and point at the writing. By conscious effort you can shift focus in and out,
alternately reading the inscription and examining your fingernail. Practice this until you know exactly what you are
doing and how to do it at will.

On the range you will extend this exercise to the shift between target and front sight-in, out-in, out-, and repeat. The
vital reflex that you must groove into your brain is that nearly instantaneous focus shift from target to front sight,
just as you press. Al Nichols, one of the Senior Masters, once told me that he had succeeded in burning a
“fail-safe” circuit breaker into his nerves, so that he simply could not apply final trigger pressure unless the front
sight was in focus.

Our preoccupation with the front sight leads to some reasonable curiosity about the rear sight. What is it for? With
the open-sighted pistol (as opposed to the aperture-sighted rifle) the two sights are very close together and
both are rather far from the eye.

Holding the pistol in a proper firing stance, it is possible to infer that both sights can be held in one focus, making
alignment all the easier. Actually, while we do strive for precise sight alignment, we attempt to achieve it -in
combat shooting- with the hands rather than with the eye.

If we practice our presentation until it becomes automatic, we find that alignment of front and rear sights also
becomes automatic, and that the arm and hand harden into a gun mount which will not let the front sight stray.
When this happens, front-sight focus includes rear-sight alignment, and the result is speed.
As a degree of proficiency is achieved in drawing and presentation, the next step is a “blind draw”.

After a number of warm-ups, and without moving his feet or body, the student starts a stroke and closes his eyes
just as his hand touches the piece. He completes the stroke to hammer fall with eyes shut, holds steady, and opens
his eyes. If his stroke has been good, he will be exactly on target, as his sights will verify.

All this takes practice, but it is well worth it, for the trained shot will eventually reach a sort of “look down, shoot
down” capacity quite similar to that of the fantastic gunsight helmet now in use with our ground-attack airmen-
what you look at, you hit!

This absolutely does not mean that you rise above the need for sights. It does mean that you use your eye to verify
an alignment already achieved with the hands, rather than using it to align the piece after presentation.

Thus it is that the seasoned pistolero almost never fires a continuous string in practice, the way a target shot may,
but works always at his quick presentation, usually firing once, and never more than twice, without re-presentation.

Yes, we use the sights. It is possible, with experience, to do very good close-range work without them. It is also
possible to ride well without a saddle and to swim well with one arm. It may be very good fun, too. But if your life
depends upon your very best performance, as it may in defensive pistolcraft, you will use your strongest technique.

*Safety Rule 3- “Be sure of your target.”

Keeping It Together
by Carl Kirsch, M.D.

In my last column, I said that I would present next another rating scale that would represent an approximation of the
kinds of life stress values we could expect in a survival situation. After further considering this and discussing it
with Mel, I’ve decided for several reasons to postpone presenting that scale for a while.

First I think that you should practice for some time using the scientifically derived scale that I presented in Issue
No. 8 so that you get into the habit of using the scale, thinking about preventatives and becoming more aware of
stress factors.

Second, this scale is the one that applies to your current life situation and is thus relevant now.

Third, the new scale that I will present in a future column will not be scientifically derived but will be based on a
scientific study of an earthquake in Peru in 1970 and judgments made by Mel, myself, and others in the survival
field about the relative weight of different stresses.

Fourth, the information that will be presented in this column and the following ones will represent practical
measures that you can take now to be ready and they will make that scale more useful for you when presented.
By that time you may even be able to modify the scale to express your own coping style.

For now, I suggest that you utilize the scale and practice the preventative measure I suggested in issue No. 9 and do
the preparatory exercises I am going to present next.

This column will begin our investigation of the physical and mental effects of stress on you and will consider some
of the preventative measures that you can take. These measures should be applied now, so that you begin training
your body and your mind for the stress to come. In addition, you will find that this work will currently benefit you.
You will feel more fit, more relaxed, have more energy, and be better able to handle current life stresses.

Three major stress effects that you can directly observe are how your breathing becomes dysfunctional, how your
muscles tense, and how your ability to think and focus becomes clouded. The effects of stress on breathing are not
usually understood and I would like to consider that first.

One of the most common human reactions in a tense, frightening, or painful situation is to diminish your breathing
rate or, as most often occurs, for you to hold your breath. This is an unconscious process and unless called to your
attention you will probably not know that you are doing it. I would like to suggest that you notice when you’re
under stress, working on some task, or straining with something.

You will most often find that you are holding your breath or that your breathing is decreased. This phenomena has
been observed repeatedly by people who have studied breathing patterns. If you remain under stress, you may
breath-hold for a considerable period of time.

If you are experiencing physical stress such as exercising or running, another breathing pattern will develop. This
pattern can start from either normal resting breathing or a breath holding pattern. You will first start out with nasal
breathing and as stressed more you will begin then to breathe with your mouth open. Your breathing will then
become deeper and deeper.

The pattern that develops is as follows; 1. Nasal diaphragmatic breathing. This is breathing in which the air enters
through your nose. Your diaphragm makes medium size movements, and your chest and abdomen move outward
on inhaling (with the movement starting at the lower abdomen) and inwards on exhaling (with the movement
starting in the upper chest and progressing downwards.) This type of breathing also occurs at rest with smaller

2. Mouth Breathing. This phase involves deeper breathing with your mouth open and your chest and abdomen
moving with larger and more rapid movements.

3. Accessory muscle breathing. If you're still not getting enough oxygen, such as in running or heavy exertion, you
will utilize what are called the accessory muscles of respiration. These are the shoulder and neck muscles which
you can see stand out in athletes who, after a long run, will be breathing in this way. These muscles are being used
to lift your shoulders so that there is more room in your chest, which will allow your lungs to expand more so you
can take in more oxygen.

Multiple studies done by professionals interested in breathing have shown that this pattern of breathing is often
impaired even in Olympic athletes. For example, there are people who use patterns 2 and 3 (breathing patterns that
should occur only under stress) as their normal breathing patterns. We often consider them to be quite anxious,
uptight, etc., as some kind of recognition of the fact that their breathing seems inconsistent with the circumstances.
Also, these patterns occur in disease states such as emphysema where a person is not getting enough oxygen. Other
people may breath hold consistently throughout their day so that they are not receiving enough oxygen to function
with maximum efficiency.

Still others may breathe by holding either the chest or the abdomen tight so that when they breathe at rest, both the
chest and abdomen do not rise simultaneously. This leads to improper diaphragmatic movements so the lungs do
not expand and fill optimally. You should check your breathing pattern a few times a day, at rest and under stress,
over a period of a week. See if these or any other impaired breathing patterns occur.

By impaired patterns I mean any pattern that is not chest-abdomen movement out on inspiration and in on
expiration, plus no mouth or accessory muscle breathing unless you are under physical stress. Record what you find
so that you can refer back to it and use it to monitor your changes and progress as you follow the breathing exercise
regimen I will give.

Another effect of stress on respiration when it is emotional or psychological stress, is hyperventilation. In this
condition a person is taking short, shallow, rapid breaths. It appears as if the person is unable to catch his or her

This is a common stress breathing disorder and may have been seen by you at one time or another. The individual
gets into trouble because this short, rapid breathing does not move the air properly through the lungs. The inspired
air stays in the tracheal-bronchial dead space (which is the area where no oxygen is absorbed into the body) and it
occurs so rapidly that proper oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange do not take place. The normal ratio of these
gases in the lungs and in the blood becomes interfered with.

This leads to further hyperventilation and the individual is on a vicious cycle in which the more he breathes, the
more he hyperventilates, in an attempt to return his oxygen and carbon dioxide levels to normal. If this continues
for a long period of time, numbness and tingling around the mouth, along with tingling and spasms of the hands,
takes place.

The person then becomes panicked because his or her hands are numb, tingling, difficult to move, and cramped into
unusual or weird positions. This can lead to even more hyperventilation and the problem gets worse.

The treatment for this condition is quite simple. Talking to the individual calmly and suggesting that he not breathe
so rapidly is the first step. Calm his fears by telling him that nothing can or will happen from this. Explain that all
the strange effects are coming from breathing too rapidly and that they can be ended by breathing into a paper bag.

Have him breathe into the bag until symptoms disappear (numbness, tingling, spasms) and the breathing rate
appears normal. What the paper bag accomplishes is to build up the level of carbon dioxide in the lungs and in the
blood by rebreathing used air. This returns the body to the proper oxygen-carbon dioxide balance. Thus, the
hyperventilation will be stopped.

The person should be talked to and watched for a while afterwards, in order to be certain that he does not become
anxious or frightened again and start hyperventilating.

In my next column I will discuss stress effects on the muscle system and the mind as well as relating these to
breathing, so that you can understand the interrelationship of these three factors.
I would like to give you now the first exercise in stress preparation. I am going to devote the column after next to a
complete discussion of the rationale behind the exercise program. For now I would like to say that the exercises can
be corrective (fix a problem), preparatory (prepare or condition one for other exercises or stress), or preventative
(designed to diminish stress effects).

Many of the exercises that I will give will be a combination of these three. You will need to set aside time to do
these exercises at least three or more days per week. By starting slowly (adding one exercise at a time), I am sure
you will find out how to make time available. All these exercises will increase your current sense of well-being, and
I am confident that feeling good is addictive. With that in mind, here is the first exercise.

Two-hand Breathing​: This exercise serves three purposes. First, it works toward a full integration of your breathing
pattern so that your pattern will be normal. By normal, in this exercise, I mean that both the abdomen and the chest
will rise and fall simultaneously as you inhale and exhale.

As I mentioned before, the breathing wave starts in the pelvis and moves up through the chest to the shoulders and
then returns in reverse order. This adjustment will take place automatically once you have mastered the
simultaneous rise and fall breathing. Even if your breathing pattern is normal, this exercise will help your body
make any fine adjustments that might be necessary.

In addition there are two other important beneficial effects to be obtained even with normal breathing. The second
effect of the exercise is that it acts to diminish muscular tensions and you will experience a state of deep muscular
relaxation. The vital importance of this in preparing for and coping with stress will be discussed in future columns.

The third effect of this exercise is that it trains you to become focused in a non-active way on a task. This will
prepare you for the mental exercises I will give later and will lay the groundwork for dealing with the mental
agitation and confusion that occurs in a crisis situation.

Begin the exercise by lying flat on your back in a comfortable place (bed, exercise mat, etc.) with your legs flat and
your head comfortably supported but not on a pillow. Your right hand is placed in the middle of your chest and
your left hand is placed in the area of the belly button. Close your eyes. Now, notice your breathing and see if one
or both hands are moving.

Also, are they moving in the same direction or in different directions as you inhale and exhale? Do they rise with
inhalation and fall with exhalation? After noticing this, lie with your eyes closed, focus on both hands, and see if
you can get them to rise and fall simultaneously. You should not work at this by tensing muscles, pushing, or
straining to accomplish the effect. Just observe how your hands are moving and focus on getting them to move
simultaneously. Your body will spontaneously make the necessary adjustments.

Do not make an effort to try to cause anything to happen. This exercise should be done for ten minutes. If you have
difficulty staying focused on the movement of your hands, gently bring your mind back when it wanders. This is
good training for the focusing to come. If you have a tendency to fall asleep during the exercise, then I suggest that
you try keeping your eyes open in the beginning.

Later on you can do it with your eyes closed. This exercise is quite relaxing, so when you are done, move slowly,
stretch, and get up slowly. It can be done any time of the day and if you can stay awake, it is quite relaxing to do
before sleep.
This is a corrective exercise and once it has been mastered, you will be able to discontinue it. If your breathing
pattern goes out of adjustment again or you want some relaxation, you can return to this exercise. If you just like
the exercise, you may continue doing it. This exercise needs to be done for at least one month for full effect.
However, most people need to do it for a considerably longer period than one month to obtain the desired result. So,
relax, enjoy it, don’t try to compete, and allow yourself all the time necessary. I suggest doing this exercise four
times a week.

“Make preparation in advance... you never have trouble if you are prepared for it.” Theodore Roosevelt

Letter from the Editor

In addition to the fact that it is morally unconscionable, I take the US government’s abandonment of Taiwan and
normalization of relations with Red China to be a very bad sign economically. I believe that the timing of this act
was occasioned by the administration’s knowledge of our dramatically worsening financial condition. What other
country in the world could we institute trade with who has almost nothing to export to us and who wants and needs
virtually everything we have to sell? Look for the administration to make much of improving balance of payments
based on the Chinese connection, in an attempt to draw attention away from sudden serious and premonitory
developments soon to be announced.

An improvement in our balance of payments position -even a significant one- will in no way prevent the coming
economic collapse, although it could delay widespread domestic recognition of the inevitable, if the general public
is taken in by the hoax- as they probably will be. I can almost hear Peter Jennings, Walter Cronkite, and Barbara
Walters explaining to us how the increased recognition of the dollar’s worthlessness in international markets is only
temporary (or tempowawy, in Ms. Walter’s case) because we are selling TV’s, Frisbees, and underarm deodorant to
the Chinese. Enough deals were made prior to the President’s “surprise” announcement that there may be
significant numbers to announce by the third quarter of this year.

Before you send your HK-91 to a gunsmith for trigger improvement (read “butchery”), you may want to know that
HK will soon have the excellent sniper’s set trigger available on an exchange basis. For arrival date and further
information contact Mr. Hubert Zink at HK, 933 N. Kenmore St., Suite 218, Arlington, VA 22201,(703) 525-3182.

In PS Letter No. 5, I briefly reviewed the .45ACP surplus ammunition made by Fabrique Nationale of Belgium in
1955, and sold here by Federal Ordnance, 9649 Alpaca St., South El Monte, CA 91733.

The first 2,000 rounds, on which I based that report, performed flawlessly but a recent lot we purchased has
contained several hang-fires, a few failures to fire, and several obviously underpowered rounds. While I still feel
that the ammunition is a good buy at 12 cents per round for practice purposes, I cannot recommend it for combat
and I urge that it not be used in revolvers for fast double-action shooting, since a hang-fire under those conditions
could have serious consequences.

The 1965 manufacture ammunition from FN, available from several sources, seems perfectly serviceable. It can be
identified both by the headstamp and by a thin purple line of sealer around the bullet where it extends from the case.
This information does not affect our recommendation of the Korean-made .223 ammunition sold by Federal
Ordnance, which we believe to be the best readily available military style .223. The company expects .308
Korean-made rounds to be available in February. We will report on it as soon as samples arrive for testing. M

Just as we were going to press, an intriguing new item arrived from Heckler & Koch. There was neither time nor
space to review it fully in this issue, but I want to mention it briefly here because some of you may want to order
one before the press gets on to it. (To the best of my knowledge, this is the first mention in print- it is not yet even
in the catalog or dealer price sheets.)

The device to which I refer is a pocket-sized autoloading flare pistol, not classified as a firearm, and therefore
obtainable without registration and even by mail. (The factory may, for this reason, fill orders directly- I haven’t
been able to check.)

This shirt pocket signaling device loads by means of a detachable magazine, which carries five rounds, similar in
configuration to the .45 ACP but about three times as large- and the entire round, case and all, is discharged when
the pistol is fired.

The flares travel about 80 meters when aimed straight up and they are designed to extinguish harmlessly about 15
yards from the ground when they fall. They are incendiary (very) when fired into a target at close range.

Although this “HK Emergency Kit Flare Gun” is not classified as a firearm or subject to restrictions, I couldn’t
resist trying four rounds rapid fire at a silhouette target from seven yards. All were on the upper torso and the
rounds seem to possess enough energy that a prudent man would take pains not to be hit with one.

Since this is a German-made product, the price in US flat dollars may seem high -$99.00- and the ammunition sells
for $2.00 per round. Nevertheless, the device could prove invaluable under some survival circumstances and certain
features of it cause me to recommend it as a good buy now at the price.

A full review will follow in the next issue. I hope that the bureaucrats will not have placed unreasonable restrictions
on this potentially life saving device by then.MT.
Bill’s Food Box
by Bill Pier

The Interesting World of Fruits and Vegetables

Forty percent of the money spent for food storage today goes towards purchasing dehydrated fruits and vegetables.
The selection available is wide, the products are generally easy to prepare, and the taste is acceptable. A number of
the fruits and vegetables are provided in both air-dried and freeze-dried versions.

Before you buy large quantities of No. 10 cans of these products, I suggest you try them in smaller cans or pouches
to find the ones preferred by your family. Again, let me harp on the fact that food storage items must be bought to
meet the needs of each individual family.

Due to the variance -sometimes wide- in preparation ease, taste, texture, and storage life after the can is opened, this
is doubly important when choosing fruits and vegetables. When correctly prepared, both air-dried and freeze-dried
vegetables and fruits are not only acceptable, but very appetizing and good tasting.


As mentioned, the selection of fruits and vegetables is wide. Most popular white, yellow, and green vegetables are
available- not always in the form you are most used to, however. In fruits you will find just about everything except
citrus. An important point to remember is that you are buying for your family for a year, so the wider you make
your choice the more variety you can provide. In a following article I will discuss fruits and vegetables item by
item. You will be able to see what is on the market and the good and bad points of each to help you make your


Fruits are the one area where air-dried products outshine freeze-dried products. The air-dried fruits have better
flavor and texture, especially when eaten right from the package. The one exception is pineapple. The naturally
sweet freeze-dried pineapple is much superior to the sugar-rich air-dried variety.

When the products are rehydrated as fresh fruit by the addition of cold water, you will find that the freeze-dried
fruits are bigger and plumper but not as flavorful. When the products are cooked, they rate about even in taste but
the freeze-dried variety is much larger and therefore in some uses looks much better. This is an important
consideration when it comes to the psychology of eating.

Vegetable acceptability is almost a complete personal choice with factors weighing both ways when deciding
between air-dried and freeze-dried. It is one area where you must learn to cook with the products before an
emergency arises or plan on possibly throwing away your first few tries at serving vegetables.
Air-dried products take time to adjust to your family’s palate. You must find the right combination of seasoning to
really make them taste tempting. Freeze-dried vegetables rehydrate beautifully, but, at least to my taste, are lacking
some of the flavor and, after a number of years storage it appears, the coloring of the air-dried competition. Once a
cook has practiced and mastered the different products, most families will accept dehydrated vegetables as well as
canned or frozen vegetables.

They may even like them better. This fact is born out by personal experience and the fact that many restaurants and
hospitals use them. Many of the convenience foods that are served today include either air-dried or freeze-dried

Ease of Preparation

Fruits are delicious eaten right out of the package as a dried snack. They can be rehydrated with cold water to make
a fresh fruit dish and to use in gelatin, or can be cooked to use in pies, cakes, and other desserts. Freeze-dried
products take only minutes to prepare either as fresh or cooked fruits. In fact, you need to be careful not to overdo it
and turn them into mush. Air-dried products can take a long time to rehydrate, especially when using cold water- up
to three or four hours. To cook air-dried fruit you must simmer for ten to twenty minutes. But remember, you have
no peeling or coring to do and there is little mess to clean up.

Air-dried vegetables should be considered as fresh products when preparing. It takes about 15 to 25 minutes to cook
most of them. Freeze-dried vegetables take only boiling water and about five to seven minutes to be ready to serve.
This difference in preparation could be important if fuel were limited, but in an emergency the time difference is
probably not important unless under attack.

Storage Life

Air-dried fruits and vegetables have been canned and stored for many years now. I have seen cans of apples,
peaches, carrots, and other products that have been stored over ten years. Most of them have darkened slightly in
color and become harder than when originally stored. For the purpose of this article, I dug out of my personal
supply a can of air-dried apple slices and a can of air-dried green beans.

Both were canned about six years ago by SamAndy before they had the capacity of a vacuum box to reduce oxygen
content to less than 2% as they now do. (In other words, today’s canning methods are better.) The apples were as
white, crisp and tasty as the day they went into the can. The green beans seemed to be a little darker (but since I did
not have an original bean I cannot be sure) and the odor of the can seemed to be strong. However, when I cooked
the beans, the texture and flavor were excellent.

The storability of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables remains almost unknown. They have been canned in
heavy-duty cans with nitrogen atmosphere for only about eight years, and while Mountain House is now in the
fourth year of a carefully programmed study on the effect of time on taste, texture, and color, there is no long-term
study available.

My own storage is less than four years old and therefore, I did not feel it necessary to open any cans for
comparison. However, I spoke to W. Mikelberry of Oregon Freeze-Dried Foods and he was kind enough to share
what knowledge he had of storage life of their Mountain House products.
He informed me that they were just starting the tests for last year (the third) and so all information related to
products only two years in the can. These tests found no loss of acceptability and, except for a whitening of the
color of carrots, no change in texture or color. The foods were taste tested by a wide group and found to be as
acceptable as a new batch. He mentioned that they had tried some products that had been stored about eight years
under unknown conditions and they were found acceptable. But this was just a curiosity test and not aimed at being
at all scientific.

He reconfirmed my information that there has been no scientific testing of nutrient values on their products and also
reminded me that high storage temperatures would affect the coloring of sugars over a period of time.

My recommendation is to expect a minimum storage life of about eight to ten years on most air-dried and
freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. This is an unscientific, gut feeling of a person who has been selling food storage
for ten years and has found that those products tested have tasted and looked good for this minimum time. I am sure
that there is some vitamin and nutrient loss over the years- but until someone takes the time and money to test the
same, little can be said on the subject with confidence.

After a can has been opened, if you reseal it immediately with a plastic lid and only open it for brief periods of time
to remove ingredients for cooking, air-dried fruits and vegetables will store for six months or more. Freeze-dried
foods, due to their hygroscopic qualities, can only be stored six to ten weeks after opening before they become
rehydrated and therefore susceptible to spoilage.

This article will be concluded in Issue No. 11