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Loading the .50 BMG: Fun and Penny-Wise

Loading the .50 BMG: Fun and Penny-Wise/* custom css */.td_uid_2_5f379d7a8f0ba_rand.td-a-rec-img { text-align: left; } .td_uid_2_5f379d7a8f0ba_rand.td-a-rec-img img { margin: 0 auto 0 0; } Save time and get more bang for your buck by handloading the big .50 BMG. Unlike a musician, whose practice involves only time after the initial investment of an instrument, a tactician must invest in ammo. That can greatly affect how much practice you can afford. I’ve reloaded ammo since I started shooting. My first rifle was a .308 Winchester, and my first loading outfit was a Lee Loader. Even with the primitive Lee system, I got better results from the rifle at a lower cost than with relatively cheap factory ammo. As I shot more and got into pistols, reloading became an important part of my shooting. It still is, because my hobbies and professional career have centered around shooting. Loading the Big Gun Anyone into long-range shooting, whether as a professional sniper or target shooter, will shoot the .50 BMG. In this arena, reloading seems to be necessary to create affordable loads. Further, you can tailor it to the type of shooting you’re doing. A lot of military surplus ammo is available at lower cost, but most rifle makers recommend not using this ammo. However, current factory ammo can be quite expensive, and it’s not always available everywhere. I’ve also found that like every other cartridge I’ve reloaded, I get better results by developing a load for a specific rifle. There really isn’t much difference in loading the .50 than other stuff. It’s a blown-up version of the .30-06. Everything is bigger. Designed from .30-06 specifications, it even duplicates .30-06 velocities — only with a bullet that’s 10 times heavier. Be prepared to have a larger supply of components, especially powder. Charges are quite large, even in reduced loads. The press you’ll need is larger and must be firmly attached to a loading bench to size the big case. Otherwise, the process is similar. Depending on the components you use, reloading will lower your costs and produce a load that will complement the .50’s long-range capabilities. I started with RCBS, which has a .50 BMG package deal. It comes with a press, dies, a primer, a case trimmer, a huge powder-dump measurer and a bunch of the little do-dads that make the job easier. The press will handle the larger die size. It also comes with a reducer that can screw into the die threads and a 7 / 8 thread die can be used in the press. All you need for smaller calibers is an adapter that will facilitate various smaller shell-base holders. That makes the press a dual-function unit. Related GunDigest Articles Bigger and Badder: PolyCase Ammunition's New .50 Beowulf Inceptor Gun Digest Reloading Video Series Episode 01: Basics of Reloading Gallery: Top 10 Fun Guns for the Fourth of July I started by bolting the press to a sturdy table. I then mounted the powder measure next to it but toward the back of the table. After the priming was complete, the powder could be dispensed into the case and put in the press for seating the bullet. One Large Recipe I loaded some Barnes’ Banded 750-grain solids, which come 20 to a box. They are pointy-nose bullets designed to cut a clean path through the atmosphere, and they proved to be accurate for the loads I was making. I used Hodgdon H50BMG powder, which is made for the big case. Hodgdon also makes US 869, which can be loaded in the .50. Then, I gleaned some loading data from the Hodgdon website. The powder and bullets were easy to find, but I had trouble rounding up primers. The BMG takes a CCI 35 primer, and most places sell them in lots of 500. Most outlets I checked were out of stock, but I got some from a friend who owns a gun shop in Post Falls, Idaho, called Going Ballistic. The brass came from rounds I'd previously shot from The Hunting Shack and Extreme Shock. Both outfits assemble great ammo, and I found it to be accurate. The Hunting Shack’s A-Max bullet disintegrated on contact with the backstop, as did Extreme Shock’s soft tip.

What is an AR-15 Dissipator?

What is an AR-15 Dissipator?

Trending: Best Places to Buy Ammo Online and [Buyer's Guide] 7 Best AR-15s What the heck is an AR-15 Dissipator? Fear not… We’ll go over what makes an AR-15 dissipator, its pros/cons, and whether the design is still useful in this day and age. Definition Bushmaster Dissipator A “dissipator” or “dissy” is an AR-15 with a 16″ barrel but with rifle length front sight post .  There’s some controversy about who invented what, but they can first be seen in Vietnam era photos. Why? The concept of the dissipator hinged on two positives: A shorter barrel allows better maneuverability and weight savings A longer sight radius allows for better accuracy How? Original designs were created simply by cutting down existing 20″ rifles down to 16″.  However, this led to reliability issues due to changes in the overall timing of the rifle. Cutting down the extra four inches reduced the “dwell time” which is the amount of time the weapon maintains pressure so it can cycle.  You can think of it as the amount of time the bullet stays in the barrel after it passes the gas port.  In the dissipator barrel below, there’s almost no length left for the bullet after it passes the gas port which made the weapon unreliable. AR-15 Gas Systems & Barrel Lengths Current Dissipators Bushmaster Dissipator Bushmaster came out with the first civilian AR-15’s actually called the Dissipator which had shaved-down gas blocks at the normal carbine length and then a “dummy” A2 sight block up in front at the rifle position.  They are still available and now dressed up to meet current trends of Magpul MOE furniture. Bushmaster MOE Dissipator PSA also offers their mock version of the dissipator with a mid-length gas system. PSA Dissipator However, there are still some “real” dissipators out there with enlarged gas ports and just one real front sight/gas block at the rifle position that have since solved the reliability issues. Del-Ton ($430 upper) is the one that stands out. Delton AR-15 Dissipator Pros/Cons We’ve already gone through the major pros with shorter barrels and a longer sight radius. Some other advantages include a longer handguard which allows a more forward hand placement, protection from a hot barrel, and more space to accessorize.  And lastly, they bring an old-school kind of cool that resembles a short-barreled rifle (SBR) from far away. Some of the cons include reliability and weight. While reliability has mostly been fixed with gas blocks at carbine or mid-length positions, this adds additional weight from “dummy” gas blocks/sights at the front and longer handguards.  But, “real” dissipators with just one gas block at the rifle position also have fixed the weight issue with enlarged gas ports. Is the Dissipator Still Useful? With today’s free floating gas tubes and shift toward optics, does the dissipator still have a place? Our answer is if you are ONLY going with iron sights.  Otherwise, there’s too many other options to get the same advantages of a shorter barrel and more accurate sights with reliable red dot and holographic sights. Update : And check out the comments for some other points of view about the “dissy.”

Best Glock Reflex and Red Dot Sights 2020 Honest Review

Best Glock Reflex and Red Dot Sights  2020 Honest Review

When it comes to improving your accuracy, especially at the range, nothing beats a reflex or red dot sight for your Glock. But which is more effective and which should you choose? In this article, we look at the difference between the two, as well as the best products on the market of the year. At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Glock Reflex and Red Dot Sights OUR TOP PICK: Burris 300234 Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount 3 MOA Sight (Black) Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sights Leupold 0603-1936 119687 Deltapoint Pro BEST BUDGET OPTION: Ade Advanced Optics RD3-009-2 Red Dot Sights Trijicon - RMR Type 2 RM07 6.5 MOA Adjustable Led Reflex Sight Comparison of the Best Glock Reflex and Red Dot Sights IMAGE PRODUCT Our Top Pick "Burris 300234 Fastfire" III with Picatinny Mount 3 MOA Sight (Black) Best overall Glock red dot sight with unmatched accuracy Choose between automatic brightness or 3 manual level settings Versatile sight great for competitions, defense, and practice View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews "Vortex Optics Venom" Red Dot Sights Sturdy and durable aluminum housing with easy-access controls Automatic brightness levels and 10 manual brightness settings Top-load system to change battery without dismounting "View Latest Price" → "Read Customer Reviews" Leupold 0603- "1936 119687 Deltapoint" Pro Motion-sensor technology for automatic deactivation after 5 minutes of inactivity Solid construction and waterproof up to 33 feet for hunting and tactical use Diamond Coat Aspheric Lens improves field of view and clarity View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Best Budget Option "Ade Advanced Optics" RD3-009-2 Red Dot Sights 5 MOA red dot with illumination settings for QTA and accuracy Comes with a Picatinny mounting base and works with other base plates Waterproof design with lenses being shock and fog-resistant View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Trijicon - RMR Type 2 RM07 6.5 MOA Adjustable "Led Reflex Sight" 6.5 MOA red dot for long-range accuracy and easy acquisition 8 easy-to-adjust brightness settings and durable housing Long battery life estimated to be around 4 years View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Reflex Sights vs. Red Dot Sights First, it’s important to understand the difference between reflex sights and red dot sights so you know what you’re getting. Let’s look at the specific qualities of sights and how each differs: Reticle ​ The reflex sight superimposes a reticle on top of targets, which creates more of a simple, 2D picture that’s somewhat quicker to interpret.  Red dot sights present a red dot over your target and are viewed more similarly to traditional iron sights in that regard. Light Conditions ​ Reflex sights generally have brightness levels to increase visibility. Red dot sights do not have this feature. Size ​ Generally speaking, reflex sights are larger than red dot sights. Reflex Sights vs. Red Dot Sights ( Source ) Battery Life ​ Reflex sights require more power, and thus, typically have a much shorter battery life than red dot sights. Precision ​ Reflex sights typically have a range of reticles. Sometimes, you can choose between several and all are extremely precise. Red dot sights are generally five MOA (minutes of angle) and less precise, although they are a substantial improvement over iron sights. Additionally, red dot sights sometimes have the ability to adjust the MOA, affecting the reticle’s size and thus, precision. Simplicity ​ Lastly, reflex sights can quickly become complex, with a range of features and a shorter battery life, whereas a red dot sight has minimal features and can last for up to 50,000 hours, making it a much simpler (and perhaps reliable) instrument. Aspects to Consider When Buying a Reflex or Red Dot Sight As you can see, both have distinct advantages and disadvantages and there is no “right” choice. As is often the case, the best choice is really a matter of your preferences. You should consider: Reliability ​ If you’re not careful, it’s easy for a reflex sight to leave you hanging with a dead battery. Red dots are much less likely to do so with regular changing. Range ​ It’s certainly a generalization, but a red dot sight is likely to be easier to adapt to at mid to long ranges, whereas a reflex sight is perfect for any range, including very long range. Consider how far away you plan on shooting to decide which works best for you. Mid Range ( Source ) Budget ​ This has less to do with the decision between the two types of sight and more to do with the fact that both can range from very affordable to extraordinarily expensive. You’ll often get some amazing features with expensive sights, but sometimes you’re paying for a premium brand more so than quality or features. Quality of Life Features ​ Wouldn’t a unit that automatically adjusts the brightness be great? It would if it’s in your budget. Thankfully, many of our choices are affordable and offer great features like this, but be sure to pay attention to them so you can reap the rewards! Reticle ​ Do you want a triangle? A traditional dot? What MOA makes more sense for you? A pinhead-sized reticle is great for long distance, but may not be appropriate for a lot of close shooting. Quick Take - The "Best Glock Reflex" and Red Dot Sights These are our recommendations for the best reflex and red dot sights for Glocks: Burris 300234 Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount 3 MOA Sight (Black) Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sights Leupold 0603-1936 119687 Deltapoint Pro Review of the Best Glock Reflex and Red Dot Sights Now that you’re armed with the knowledge to decide what options are right for you, let’s get down to the best of the best. The products we’ve rounded up are top-performers amongst reflexes and red dots, including both budget and premium-quality builds. You’re sure to find the perfect sight for you as long as you keep our advice in mind. 1.​ Burris 300234 Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount 3 MOA Sight (Black) CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy Installation Top-Accessible Battery Compatible With Front Iron Sights 3 MOA Reticle Provides Great Precision Auto-Brightness Setting Adapts on the Fly to Any Light Conditions Cons No Protective Cover Included The Burris Fastfire III is an excellent choice for a scope, as it offers auto brightness which works exceptionally well at automatically adapting to any light condition. Of course, you can adjust it yourself to three brightness levels or turn it completely off. Additionally, the unit intelligently remembers your last setting, perfect for those long hunting trips where you want to save battery life between shots. The battery is accessed from the top, by the way, which can be a real pain in the rare gun configurations where changing the battery could require a complete uninstallation. As for the reticle, it is a precise three MOA dot. This will take some getting used to for those accustomed to using sights and may require a couple of sessions, but once you are used to it, your accuracy will be spot on. For this unit, there are no adjustments to be made to the reticle, but it works just fine as it is. Installation is quick and easy and most who know what they’re doing could get it up and running in 15 minutes or less. Additionally, once installed, it is compatible with front iron sights. Burris has also provided the ability to adjust windage and elevation on the fly without the use of tools through simple dials on the side of the unit. It’s worth mentioning that it is also available in an eight MOA variety, and with or without a Picatinny mount. Eight MOA would be more ideal for close range, but all other features remain the same. We’d suggest sticking with three MOA for the greater precision and flexibility in range. Overall, there’s not much to dislike here. We’d be nitpicking, but there is no protective cover. The sight is made from hard tempered glass, so that’s not a problem. But during cleaning, if you splash your sight, you’ll have to clean it, even if you weren’t cleaning your sight itself. It would just be nice to be able to cover it when doing routine work on your Glock to keep it from getting dirty. All in all, it’s a great baseline—but high—standard for sights. It operates smoothly, has auto-brightness, and is easy to install. Bottom Line "The Burris Fastfire" III isn’t the most feature-loaded sight, but it offers everything we’d ask for as a baseline standard and delivers those features with exceptional quality. 2. Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sights CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros 3 or 6 MOA Dot Available Includes Protective Cover Auto Shut-Off for Top-Accessible Battery Light-Filtering Contrast Performs Like Magic on Haze Ten Brightness Levels, as Well as an Auto-Brightness Feature Built Like a Tank to Withstand Water, Grease, Debris, Shock, Fog, and Scratches Cons Performs so Well You’ll Find Yourself Wishing You Also Had Magnification The Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sights are very capable sights. Right off the bat, we want to point out that it is designed for any environment, as it is fully waterproofed and can withstand rain, dust, and snow. Additionally, it is sealed against fog and condensation, while the shockproof construction turns it into a veritable tank. An Armortek coating protects the lens from oils and scratches, too. Environmental conditions are further stretched thanks to the ability to adjust between ten brightness levels. Additionally, the Viper High-Density Glass produces exceptional contrast, which is capable of filtering through hazier conditions. Add an auto-brightness setting, and it is a perfect sight for hunting. Picture it like this: you’re out at pre-dawn, with only the faintest ambient light filtering through trees, with half the landscape still blanketed in shadow. The light moisture in the air isn’t noticeable around you, but in the distance, it takes the form of thick, drifting blankets of white. You look through this sight and your picture is as crisp as could be. It truly works like magic. Taking the shot is a piece of cake with a crisp three or six MOA dot. We recommend the three MOA for maximum precision, but the six MOA is fair for those who do more close-range shooting. Additionally, you get tool-free adjustable windage and elevation. Battery life is a solid 14 hours and Vortex Optics estimates it will last 150 hours with the auto shut-off for most users. The battery is accessible from the top. It’s hard to find any downsides here. They’ve even included a protective cover. Our only potential con might be that with performance this great, you’ll want to really stretch your capabilities and may find yourself wishing you had magnification, too. Bottom Line For those who want a premium red dot sight capable of operating like magic in any condition, the Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sights are hard to beat without breaking the bank. 3. Leupold 0603-1936 119687 Deltapoint Pro CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Auto-Off Function Preserves Battery Includes An Optional Dovetailed Rear Sight Compatible With Many Other Styles of Guns Designed to Withstand Environmental Conditions Triangular Reticle Provides Exceptionally Fast Targeting Cons Slightly on the Higher-Priced Side, But Not Unreasonable The Leupold Deltapoint Pro is an excellent sight, created to be fully waterproof and fog-proof, with a DiamondCoat abrasion-proof lens. Additionally, it is housed in durable, but lightweight, aircraft aluminum and shrouded by spring steel. As for performance, you get a triangular reticle. This is a specific use case and a matter of taste. A triangle reticle is ideal for shooting at closer ranges up to about 50 yards. The triangle shape is very quick to draw in the eye, as you’ll automatically focus on the wide base and shift to the precise point. That said, some shooters find that going beyond 50 yards is more suited to a precise dot reticle, while others insist that the triangular precision is better—what matters is what you think, so if you’ve never used a triangular reticle, be aware that it’s a never-ending debate. At any rate, Leupold certainly backs up its short-range game. Included is an optional rear iron sight that dovetails into the housing, allowing co-witnessing. This further enhances short-range accuracy. Motion sensors deactivate the unit after five minutes, helping to save battery life. Additionally, the sensor turns back on when motion is detected. Contrast this to other units which need to be manually reactivated. This very intuitive, although it will drain the battery faster compared to those units. The battery, by the way, is super-easy to access from the top, hidden by a spring-loaded compartment that only requires your fingers to open. Lastly, we appreciate that the Deltapoint Pro works on far more than Glocks. If you decide you don’t want it on your Glock, move it to an AR, shotgun, or whatever else you’d like to improve. Our only potential downside is that it’s a tad on the pricier side, although nowhere near outright expensive. You know we always demand value. If you’re looking for a quality triangular reticle-based sight, this is what you’ve been looking for. Bottom Line For those who prefer a triangular reticle or versatility in shooting close, the durable Deltapoint Pro is an excellent choice. 4. Ade Advanced Optics RD3-009-2 Red Dot Sights CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Excellent Value 5 MOA Dot is Crisp Weatherproof Design Easily-Accessible Battery Five Illumination Settings Cons Lacks Many Advanced Features Such as Auto-Brightness or Auto Shut-Off On a budget? By now, you know that we’ve got you covered. Or more specifically, Ade Advanced Optics has your back with this completely weatherproof and shock and fog-resistant unit that goes the distance for anyone who needs quality without spending a lot. You won’t be sacrificing features here, either. You get a crisp five MOA dot and five illumination settings. This provides a clear picture in any lighting condition. Additionally, the lenses aren’t cheap—they offer precision grounding with no discernable parallax. You get full windage and elevation adjustments, which are lockable, and unlimited eye relief. There are no annoying trade-offs. The battery is loaded from the top and easy to access. Installation is straightforward and each part seems to be of consistently high quality, operating smoothly with the Glock during and after loading up. That said, this is a budget solution. It works beautifully for what it is, but you’re not getting an auto-off feature. Nor are you getting any particularly great enhancement to the picture beyond the adjustable lightness. It also will not automatically find the best lightness setting for you, as you will have to do it manually. In short, you’re sacrificing handholding for a unit that costs a fraction of what others do. We think that’s a more than fair offer. If you’re looking for a budget red dot sight that is still high-quality, durable, and weatherproof, Ade Advanced Optics agrees with us that you shouldn’t have to settle. Bottom Line For those on a budget, Ade Advanced Optics provides a red dot sight that maintains high quality standards and performance. 5. Trijicon - RMR Type 2 RM07 6.5 MOA Adjustable Led Reflex Sight CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros One of the Most Reliable Sights Available Great Quality of Life Features Like Audible Windage Automatic Functions Perform to Exacting Standards Simply the Most Premium Reflex Sight for Your Money Excellent Durability and Performance Under Any Conditions Cons You Pay for What You Get (Although We’d Argue You Get a Lot More) For those who demand premium performance, Trijicon is always ready to up your game and you should expect no less from their reflex sight. After all, this is the company that produced ACOG, so you can bet they’ve got some tricks up their sleeves. Let’s start with build quality. As you’d expect, you get a forged aluminum housing that is completely weatherproof. The glass itself is unbelievably clear to the point that even though it’s obviously filtering your view, it seriously looks as though it’s otherwise invisible. That said, it is bullet-proof strong and resists grease and oils. There are eight brightness settings but the automatic brightness works so well that you will likely never use them. The automatic adjustment is seamless and smooth and the eight brightness settings just seem so well-calibrated that you’ll forget there are even gradations to the setting. Additionally, you can easily adjust the brightness of the dot independent of the view, although once again, the automatic function works so well you’ll probably never use it. The dot itself is exceptionally crisp, but it really shines when it’s paired with the auto-brightness settings. Both your view and your reticle are simply perfectly calibrated together to provide maximum clarity. We like a minor innovation, in that the adjustable windage and elevation produces audible clicks. Turn the easy-to-access dial and it produces a very smooth adjustment that you can see and hear. Trijicon is a favorite of law enforcement and the U.S. military and as such, their components are rugged. In testing, this reflex sight holds zero and never flickers over the course of thousands of shots. We’re not suggesting it’s failure-proof, but it’s probably as close as any will come. Bottom Line If you’re willing to spend a little more for a reflex sight that will never let you down and can provide optimum accuracy under any conditions, then rely on Trijicon’s RMR Type 2. Conclusion Deciding between a red dot sight and a reflex sight for your ideal reticle is something of a lifelong battle, with so many great reasons to choose from the many available options. Our guide offers clarity on the value behind those options and rounds out a list of products that cut through the noise of lesser products. No matter what you choose, you’re sure to take your game to the next level. More Glock Buyer Guides Triggers Aftermarket Glock Barrels Compensators Threaded Barrels for Glock 19 Extended Mag Releases Connectors

12 Best AR-15 Bolt Carrier Groups (BCG) [Hands-On]

12 Best AR-15 Bolt Carrier Groups (BCG) [Hands-On]

Trending: Best Places to Buy Ammo Online and [Buyer's Guide] 7 Best AR-15s A sports car needs a great engine.  An awesome AR-15 needs a great bolt carrier group (BCG). But there’s A LOT of choices. Best AR-15 BCGs From full-auto to lightweight, different coatings, MPI inspections, and more.  It can make you go nuts (the above is probably half of my BCGs). But don’t worry, we’ve got our list of our go-to BCGs. We’ll cover some of the choices and then our favorites for different purposes (and budgets)…from mil-spec to competition and even some builds just for looks. Table of Contents Loading... Full Auto vs Semi-Auto Bolt Carrier Groups First off, “full-auto” BCGs are legal and don’t magically make your AR-15 automatic firing. The slightly longer and heavier bolt carrier group has an additional lug at the rear of the bolt carrier group. BCG Shroud, AR15.com On a full-auto AR-15 or M16, this rear lug pushes the sear release downwards which allows full auto (or burst) fire.  In a semi-automatic rifle, this has zero effect on how the gun functions. Semi-auto carriers are now the ugly step-child of the BCG world and don’t have much purpose…like commercial buffer tubes and stocks. Semi Auto (top) Vs Full Auto (bottom) The semi-auto ones have an extra cut that takes out some mass.  Mass that should help with reliability. Semi-auto versions used to be significantly cheaper than FA versions, but now the difference isn’t as drastic. Main lesson… get a full-auto weighted BCG if reliability is a concern. Mil-Spec " "Bolt Carrier Group" s" Mil-Spec is a bit of a buzzword in the AR community.  Mil-Spec generally means the rifle is built to pass military specifications. If only everything were this easy. Mil-spec doesn’t mean greatest ever, or worst, it’s just in spec to a military contract.  Here’s some of the important bits: High Pressure Tested (HPT) Magnetic Particle Inspected (MPI) Heat treated and shot peened Bolt carrier machined 8620 steel Carpenter 158 steel bolt Chrome lined interior bolt carrier key and bolt carrier Torqued and staked gas key screws Coated with a matte black mil-spec finish HPT and MPI Tested See that “high pressure tested” and “magnetic particle inspected” above?  That means each bolt is individually tested at a proof load. Here’s a shot of magnetic particle inspection applied to a slightly different type of bolt. Usually it’s printed onto the bolt (either as MP or MPI).  But not all the time. Aero Precision BCG with MP tested bolt If it doesn’t say in the description…it probably is only batch tested.  And you never know if a batch is 10 or 1000 BCGs. Again, if it’s a duty or self-defense gun…I’d opt for something MPI and HPT tested. Different BCG Coatings Mil-spec means phosphate coated and is matte and a little bumpy.  Which does its job but does requires more cleaning than newer coatings. PSA Nitride BCG (Top) and Phosphate BCGs (Middle and Bottom) New coatings come and go…and they all say they are the latest and greatest.  Here’s my opinion… Nitride is black and shiny.  And is easier to clean. While Nickel Boron (NiB) is silver and shiny.  And easier to clean. And more exotic stuff like Titanium Nitride (TiN) is gold and pretty.  And easier to clean. Now let’s get on with our actual picks! 12 Best AR-15 Bolt Carrier Groups (BCG) 1. Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) M16 BCG Let’s just start with our editor’s pick for a branded mil-spec BCG. If you ask most people online what’s their go-to BCG…the vast majority is going to be BCM’s M16 BCG . BCM M16 BCG Nothing much to say except it’s mil-spec everything and has a great reputation. Gold Standard Mil-Spec BCG Bravo Company Mil-Spec BCG 169 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 169 at Brownells Compare prices (2 found) Brownells (See Price) Rainier Arms (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing What’s your take on the BCM? Readers' Ratings 4.92/5 (525) Your Rating? 2. Brownells Nitride M16 BCG Looking for something a little more budget? Brownells Nitride M16 BCG gives you the added benefit of the Nitride finish which makes it slicker and easier to clean. Brownells Nitride BCG It’s MPI tested and otherwise mil-spec…except that the bolt is made of 9310 steel instead of Carpenter 158. The chances of that mattering for an average shooter that puts even a few thousand rounds downrange a year is super slim. In the back of your mind you’ll know it’s not mil-spec…but it’s about half the price of the BCM. Brownells Nitride BCG 140 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 140 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing 3. Rainier Arms Match Grade Nitride BCG Want something in the middle…that’s mil-spec AND Nitride coated? Check out Rainier Arms’ Nitride BCG which meets or exceeds mil-spec. Rainier Arms Nitride BCG Plus has a different/more aggressive cut on the carrier around it’s logo…if that matters to you. And priced at a nice price point between the BCM and Brownells. Rainier Arms Precision Match Grade BCG 170 at Rainier Arms Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 170 at Rainier Arms Prices accurate at time of writing 4. WMD Guns Nickel Boron BCG Nickel Boron (NiB) used to go for a lot more in price but now they’ve stabilized at around the BCM pricepoint. WMD Guns NiB BCG I do like them in terms of increased lubricity and ease of cleanup.  Plus it the silver color pops out in your upper receiver. My WMD NiB BCG been chugging along in my AR pistol for a few thousand rounds…and I’ve only needed to wipe it down with some cleaner and microfiber cloth. My pick if you want to go with the best-known name in the NiB BCG game. Best Nickel Boron WMD Nickel Boron BCG 175 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 175 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing 5. Aero Precision BCG One of my favorite uppers and full rifle manufacturers is Aero Precision (review of their M4E1 5.56 upper ). Aero Precision M4E1 Upper with ATLAS Handguard And the BCG that comes with their upper has always gone bang through many thousands of rounds.  Full mil-spec everything. Aero Precision BCG Great combo with their builds if you’re buying stuff from them anyways unless you want a different coating. Aero Precision BCG 125 at Aero Precision Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 125 at Aero Precision Prices accurate at time of writing 6. Palmetto State Armory (PSA) BCG This is where you can go stupid cheap on builds…that still work reliably ( PSA 3 AR-15s Review ). PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde Their mil-spec phosphate BCGs are a little bumpy but they work. PSA BCGs Disassembled And they are actually the cheapest in the whole article. PSA Mil-Spec BCG 69 at PSA Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 69 at PSA Prices accurate at time of writing Looking for something a little lighter? Best Low-Mass or Lightweight Bolt Carrier Groups Low-mass or lightweight bolt carrier groups are relatively new on the market.  We also have a whole guide just for choosing a lightweight bolt carrier group , so be sure to check that out if you want to know more. Lightweight and Regular BCG’s A low-mass BCG serves two purposes . If you are following the current fad of super lightweight AR-15s you want to trim weight basically everywhere.  You can cut a few ounces off by using a low-mass bolt carrier. A Mil-Spec BCG is about 11.6 ounces, but you can much lighter now…especially with cuts and exotic materials like titanium.  The primary advantage of this is to reduce recoil. Too much recoil can impede accuracy. Since the bolt carrier group is shot backward towards the shooter the weight of it affects recoil. The more mass you have coming rearward the more recoil you’ll feel. Any reduction in recoil and firearm movement, in general, helps you stay on or get back on target as you fire.  A low mass BCG moves faster which could increase your rate of fire, but skill makes a bigger difference in cyclic rate than bolt weight in a semi-auto gun. Brownells TiN Lightweight BCG, Rear Why do regular bolt carrier groups still exist? A lightweight BCG is designed for a tuned rifle and a builder who’s willing to toss an adjustable gas block on and really tune the gun system.  The heavier standard BCGs are better suited to running any kind of ammo through any kind of gas system. So, if you’re building a SHTF, zombie-apocalypse-proof, rifle…go with a regular BCG. Building a performance-tuned competition rifle with an adjustable gas block ?  Go with a light-weight BCG. Here’s some of our favorites… 7. Faxon Lightweight BCG Want to go lightweight for competitive shooting? Before you had to go with different materials for the carrier like aluminum…which turned out to not be a great idea.  Aluminum carrier rubbing an aluminum receiver led to the carriers being used up in a few thousand rounds. But now you have aggressive weight reducing cuts like with the Faxon Lightweight BCG . Faxon Lightweight BCG It comes in at a much lighter 8.5 oz (compared to a full auto 11.6 oz). Faxon Lightweight BCG, Rear And has worked out great in my Faxon builds ( Faxon Barrel Review ). Faxon Upper Receiver and BCG Lose the weight but keep the steel. Most Affordable Light BCG Faxon Lightweight BCG 249 at Faxon Firearms Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 249 at Faxon Firearms Compare prices (3 found) Faxon Firearms (See Price) Brownells (See Price) Rainier Arms (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing 8. Brownells Lightweight BCG Brownells has thrown a contender into the ring with their lightweight BCGs .  And now with different coatings. I of course went with their Titanium Nitride (TiN). Brownells TiN Lightweight BCG Their bolt uses 9310 steel but again…it is likely never going to matter. It weighs in a little lighter than the Faxon at 8.2 oz probably due to the one additional cut. Brownells TiN Lightweight BCG, Rear Save a little with their Nitride…but might as well go big or go home. Brownells Lightweight BCG 119 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 119 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing 9. Rubber City Armory (RCA) Titanium BCG My current go-to for competition shooting is the RCA BCG but costs a pretty penny since the carrier is Titanium. RCA Titanium BCG I’ve shot many thousands of rounds through it and it still looks new…not even that many wear marks on the touch points. RCA Titanium BCG, Front Total weight is 7.87 oz which isn’t that much less than the other steel cut lightweights…but I like having the complete full-auto form factor.  9310 bolt but that is the standard for lightweight builds. Best Light BCG "Rubber City Armory" Titanium BCG 360 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 360 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing 10. Brownells Titanium BCG And of course…Brownells has entered the game with their version of the Titanium BCG . Brownells Titanium BCG It comes in at 7.9 oz and is indistinguishable from their regular Nitride version except when you pick it up.  Again…9310 bolt. I’m still testing this one out but it might be a good substitute for the RCA one at some decent savings. Brownells Titanium BCG 300 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 300 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing 11. Walker Defense Titanium BCG Another recent addition from the makers of the most hi-tech AR-15 muzzle brake…one that’s 3D printed from Inconel (think rocket ship engines). Nero Muzzle Brake You can check that review out in Best AR-15 Muzzle Brakes . But you’re here for BCGs… "Walker Defense Titanium" BCG And there’s their Titanium BCG for 5.56/.300 BLK. If you look closely you’ll see that the Titanium carrier is black (DLC: diamond like coating) while the bolt is silver (nickel boron). The DLC was chosen for high wear resistance and a low coefficient of friction.  While the Nickel Boron on the 9310 steel bolt was chosen for being easy to clean, having a low coefficient of friction, AND with the benefit of heat dissipation. Something something about the bolt having similarities to a heat sink and making contact with fresh/cooler air. Main thing is that it looks great and is performing great so far too.  With that comes a Gucci price though… But…the makers have hooked you up with coupon code “PewPew” for 10% off.  The link here and below will auto-add it. Walker Defense Ti BCG 5.56/.300 BLK 339 at Walker Defense Research Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 339 at "Walker Defense Research" Prices accurate at time of writing 12. Bootleg Adjustable Carrier My newest BCG and one that has a trick up its sleeve… Normally if you want to control the gas going back into your AR-15 you’ll need to pick up and install an adjustable gas block. Bootleg Upper and Adjustable BCG Bootleg’s adjustable carrier gives you this capability in the BCG itself with a couple clicks on the side. So far I can definitely feel the recoil difference between the different settings.  And although there’s only 4 settings so you won’t get down to the perfect setting for your rifle and loads…it’s a great system if you don’t want the hassle of swapping out a gas block. "Bootleg Adjustable Carrier" 175 at Optics Planet Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 175 at Optics Planet Compare prices (2 found) Optics Planet (See Price) Rainier Arms (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing Conclusion That does it for BCGs…there’s lots to choose from… Our Favorite BCGs But if mil-spec is the name of the game…get the BCM. Gold Standard Mil-Spec BCG Bravo Company Mil-Spec BCG 169 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 169 at Brownells Compare prices (2 found) Brownells (See Price) Rainier Arms (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing If you’re looking for something mil-spec and a little upgraded with a Nitride coating…get the Rainier. Rainier Arms "Precision Match Grade" BCG 170 at Rainier Arms Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 170 at Rainier Arms Prices accurate at time of writing To enter the lightweight BCG game…start with the Brownells Steel Lightweight.  But be sure to get the most out of it with an Adjustable Gas Block . Brownells Lightweight BCG 119 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 119 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing What kind of BCG do you run?  There’s so many BCGs out there so let us know what we missed.  And check out the rest of our Best AR-15 Upgrades .

Emergency Foods from Wild Plants

Many people start learning about wild foods from common field guides focused on the subject.  There are often plants mentioned as wild foods that are not abundant enough to supply much of a harvest (such as Spring Beauties , or Fairy Potatoes), not nutritionally rich enough to offer much to survival situations (such as the many greens, which have few calories), are not very tasty (such as bitters like Dandelion), or are difficult to harvest and prepare (such as tree bark).  Further, the limited season of many nutritious edibles (like Cattail pollen and acorns) keeps them unavailable for much of the year.  The forager naturally sorts through plants as he learns about them, more-or-less forgetting many while focusing on the “choice” edibles.  (Mushroom hunters in particular refer to the best edibles as “choice”.) For those who are learning about wild edibles to add to their daily diet or to harvest for restaurants, it only makes sense to focus on the best.  For the sake of preparing for end times, survival situations, and emergencies in the woods, however, one should learn as many edible plants as possible.  Perhaps many are not tasty or are time-consuming to harvest and/or prepare, but while these are very legitimate obstacles for every-day life in the “normal” world, you will likely enjoy even strange flavors when you are starving. The gathering of calories might turn into your top priority when there are none at hand.  In order to prepare for emergencies, it is well worth learning about the wild plants that the field guides deem “trailside nibbles” or “survival foods”. Quick Navigation Tree Bark Additional Foods From Trees Roots Cattail Seeds Vegetables Conclusion Warning Tree Bark A very important survival food is the inner bark of trees.  It is a common belief that the work “Adirondack” means “ tree eaters ”.  Maybe this is originally from the Mohawk word for porcupine , or maybe it was mostly derogatory referring to bad hunters (who had to, therefore, eat tree bark) but the truth is that Natives of the woodlands ate many tree barks.  My favorite is Slippery Elm .  I have prepared much of the powdered bark available through commercial herb distributors.  Cooked with Maple syrup it is a delightful breakfast “cereal” from the trees.  It is worth considering the powdered bark for emergency storage as an edible and medicinal.  Learn to recognize Elm trees and learn where they grow for emergency use and because they host the famous Morel mushroom. In my area they are found mostly along rivers. Another tree I have consumed a bit of is White Pine .  While I was stripping bark from the logs for my log cabin , I chewed on the inner bark and prepared it as a “tea” (decoction- material is simmered, not just steeped).  I did not get around to grinding it to prepare as meal, as the Native Americans did with many of the barks they used as food.  It was enough work for my spare time to drag logs through the snow and carve notches in them.  Plus, I am still trying to figure out just how much of the evergreen trees are safe to consume.  Pines and their relatives have been important survival foods as well as winter foods, providing many medicinal and nutritional benefits.  However, there is concern regarding ingesting too many of the thick, resinous compounds in the pitch.  These agents give the evergreens many of their medicinal properties, but can gum up the kidneys if over-consumed.  Perhaps Native Americans knew things about preparing these barks that have been lost to the modern world.  When the end times come, however, we might be wishing we did our research. Many other trees have edible inner bark, such as Poplar (though it was probably more often used to feed horses so that more desirable food could be hunted) and Ash . Additional "Foods From Trees" It is much more common today to consume the needles and small twigs of the evergreens by preparing as a tea, than to strip the bark and prepare as gruel.  By steeping the needles we can extract the vitamin C and many of the aromatic constituents.  For survival situations, I am sure thicker inner bark has more to offer nutritionally. Read Also: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies Many other parts of trees can be used as food and should be mentioned here, such as the leaves of Basswood (American Linden).  Of course, one of the most important wild foods from trees is nuts, such as from Hickory and Black Walnut (which is another important medicinal, being used for parasites and fungal infections).  We also have acorns from Oak and many lesser-known seeds such as Beechnuts from Beech .  Many don’t realize that sap can be made into syrup from more than just Sugar Maple, including other Maples as well as other trees like Hickory.  It is clear that the survivalist has much to learn about trees in preparation for emergency. A major consideration for emergency food, are the winter caches of wildlife.  Squirrels and other critters store piles of acorns, nuts, and seeds, which can be found by digging through leafy brush piles and other areas conducive to storage of such foods. Roots Plants store energy in two distinct places- roots and seeds.  There are many roots that are generally overlooked as edibles, but could prove life-saving in emergencies. Evening Primrose , for instance, was once a staple vegetable of Natives.  Today, it is common to find along roadsides and is worth getting to know for roadside emergencies.  Like many edible roots (including Burdock and Wild Carrot ), Evening Primrose is biennial and best harvested in the fall of the first season or the spring of the second.  During the second year the plants develop their flower stalks and the roots become tough in order to support the stalk and because they are on their way out (they will die after seed is produced, while the autumn of the first year they store energy for the next). Garlic Mustard, because of its pungency, is usually used as a condiment (like Horseradish) more than a vegetable.  When push comes to shove, however, you might overcome the bitter, pungent flavor, or figure out how to reduce it through cooking.  Yellow Dock is similar in that it is avoided largely because of its intense bitter taste, and because being perennial it will get tougher with age.  Yellow Dock species are quite common and I am very often told by budding wild food foragers that they began eating the greens.  Usually I assume that if someone is eating Yellow Dock they have not learned about the other, more palatable options, and I tell them so.  Often, when seeing them at a later time I am informed that they moved on from Yellow Dock to tastier greens.  However, concerning survival, Yellow Dock might be an option. Strong flavors generally indicate that the plant is not suitable for consumption in large amounts.  Bitter, pungent, and sour flavors are commonly indicative of constituents that shouldn’t be consumed in large amounts.  There is a reason we appreciate these flavors in relatively small doses.  Likewise, there is a reason we like the sweet flavor – it is the mark of calories (food energy).  All our macronutrients are sweet, which includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.  Roots that are relatively bland or sweet, such as Evening Primrose and Burdock, are generally more edible.  Wild Carrot also has a bit of pungency, and although Carrots are staple food, many members of the Carrot Family ( Apiaceae ) are quite toxic.  It should not be assumed that because something tastes good it is edible.  It is said that Poison Hemlock tasted quite good to those who were able to tell us so before they died. Cattails produce very starchy roots (rhizomes) along with many other edible portions. Cattail Cattails were called “Nature’s Pantry” by Euell Gibbons , one of our nation’s first famous wild food experts.  The rhizomes store much starch, which can be easily extracted to used for porridge or baking.  The young shoots are edible as are the bases of younger leaves.  The best vegetable portion is the young flower stalk, including flower, while it is tender and still wrapped inside the leaves.  The pollen can also be gathered, which is very nutritious. Because starch is very water soluble and due to the structure of Cattail rhizomes the rhizomes can be pounded in a bucket of water.  The starch is then suspended in the water making it possible to strain out the fibrous strands, joints, and peel.  It can then be left to sit so that the starch settles to the  bottom.  Maybe not the ideal form of carbohydrates to the modern man, but an abundant source of nutrition in a survival situation. The vegetable portion can be nibbled off the bottoms of leaves that are young enough to have a tender portion intact.  The young shoots at the end of the rhizomes can also be harvested.  In my opinion, one of the best wild vegetables is the flower stalk.  Many old books refer to treating it like corn on the cob.  This has led to the misunderstanding that one should eat the flower (the “cat tail”) off of the stalk.  However, it is the stalk itself, when tender, that is the delicious vegetable.  It can be found by peeling the coarser material away to reveal the tender part.  You can develop an eye for the ones with flower stalks developing by the way the plant elongates upward during growth.  It resembles corn on the cob because it can be cooked in the same way, which is also why it is a very convenient camping or survival food.  Simply pick the whole above-ground/water plant by pulling straight up so that it separates from the rhizome.  You can confirm that is has a flower stalk by observing the base.  If there is no stalk, you will only see the crescent-shaped overlapping leaf bases.  If it has a flower stalk you will see it’s round base.  Then throw the plants, green leaves and all, directly onto some hot coals.  Turn them until thoroughly cooked.  When done, simply peel back the tough parts to reveal a tender, cooked vegetable within. The pollen is gathered after the flowers emerge above the leafy portions by shaking the yellow powder from the plants into some kind of container.  It is very nutritious and should be considered an important emergency food and nutritional supplement.  Many other pollens, such as Pine, can be harvested as well. Seeds I have already mentioned seeds from trees above (in the section “Additonal Foods from Trees”).  Here we will consider seeds from shrubs and herbaceous plants.  Perhaps the best-known staple of our Northeastern woods is the Hazelnut.  Although, because wildlife love it Hazelnuts are often hard to come by.  Still, the survivalist should learn to identify the shrub. Amaranth seeds, though small and covered by a tough outer layer, are edible and very nutritious.  Plus, the young plants are good as cooked greens.  Likewise, Lambsquarters, one of the best cooked greens from the wild, can also provide nutritious seeds. Jewelweed, which is well-known as the poison ivy remedy, has edible seeds.  They pop from the ballistic seed pods when ripe and disturbed (by wind or animal).  Pinched just right, the seeds can be released into your hand.  Small, but they taste just like Walnuts.  The young shoots of Jewelweed have raised concerns regarding their edibility.  I used to eat them when a few inches tall and after cooked, but I have not done so in years. Vegetables There are many wild vegetables.  It is worth learning the lesser-desirable species as well as those commonly sought after.  However, vegetables are not the focus of this article because in emergency survival situations we are often more focused on calories.  Although greens are nutritious, they are not calorie rich.  Still, in survival situations there might be need to focus on certain nutrients that are available from vegetative plant parts.  Many greens are high in nutrients that would be cooked out of other plant foods.  For this reason, it is important to include some lightly cooked or raw vegetables in the diet. Related: Choosing the Best Survival Tools for Your Bug Out Bag Dandelion, in spite of its strong bitter flavor, is a safe source of edible leaves.  They are high in calcium, iron, and many other nutrients.  The flowers are also eaten.  The root is too bitter to be a common vegetable, but is often dried and/or roasted for tea. Sorrel, including both Wood Sorrels and Sheep Sorrel, are edible and tasty, but shouldn’t be eaten in large amounts because of the oxalic acid content.  Oxalic acid binds easily with calcium making the calcium unabsorbable and potentially leading to other problems, like kidney stones.  Lambsquarters (mentioned above) is also quite high in oxalic acid, as is Purslane.  One should be aware of these things, as it very well may come into consideration in a survival situation.  Purslane has many nutritional benefits, most notably that it is high in essential fatty acids for a vegetable. Many of the important vegetables must be cooked before consumption.  Those mentioned above with oxalic acid can be cooked to reduce the acid content.  (The old fashioned parboiling that is looked down upon today as destroying nutrition has its place here.)  Plants like Pokeweed and Milkweed are put through a couple changes of water to render edible because of their toxic properties.  Ironically, when this is done they become two of the best wild foods.  Some greens need to be cooked to a lesser degree, such as Winter Cress (Yellow Rocket or Wild Mustard).  It doesn’t require changing water, but it should be cooked thoroughly. Conclusion The plants listed above are only a few of the many options in the wild.  There are choice edibles – those few species we seek after as even superior to domestic veggies.  There are the deadly poisonous – some so much so that one bite can be fatal.  Then, there is a large spectrum in between.  The vast majority of plants are somewhere between choice and deadly, and the vast majority of them are not consumed.  In an emergency that includes a food shortage, it could be very useful to know obscure edible properties of plants. The survivalist should learn to identify the two ends of the spectrum first.  Obviously, anybody at all interested in the subject wants to know about the best edibles.  It is perhaps even more important, however, to first learn the most poisonous (watch for another article).  If you know the handful of deadly plants to avoid, you can more safely explore your options in an emergency even if you don’t know everything about all the plants at hand.  Then, the survivalist can continue to explore the vast world of wild edibles in order to prepare for any situation. Warning In this article many wild plants are mentioned that might be toxic if prepared improperly, might have toxic parts even if other parts are edible, or might produce very real problems if consumed as part of a dramatically imbalanced diet (such as what might occur in a survival situation).  I only mention them here.  If you want to eat wild plants, ensure that you are thoroughly educated beyond what can be gleaned from a short blog article.  Read books , attend walks, and seek out knowledgeable foragers. Further, this article contains speculation regarding possible survival foods.  Details regarding the situation, including climate, health conditions, and other aspects of the diet might make certain foods more-or-less inappropriate.  Several plants have been mentioned with some toxic or possibly some toxic properties.  If over-consumed as part of a diet deficient in essentials, some of these plants might be harmful, even if they can be regularly enjoyed as part of your regular diet.  Consider rabbit starvation , during which what many consider to be good meat (rabbits, for instance) possibly becomes worse than not eating at all.  The ideas expressed above are done so in the spirit of researching for possible survival scenarios.  At the brink of starvation it might just make sense to wander into the gray area of wild edibles and to risk consuming things that are not usually consumed.  In everyday life, however, it is best to avoid eating in such risky territory. Photos Courtesy of: Rich Bradshaw Julie Falk All other photos are in the public domain. Other interesting articles: Deadly Poisons, Wild Edibles, and Magic Medicinals of The Carrot Family Emergency Storage of Wild Plant Foods Five Emergency Toothache Remedies From Wild Plants Wild Edibles & Poisonous Plants of the Poison Ivy Family

Fortifying Your Home: How To Guide for 2020

If a burglar, kidnapper, or home invasion robbing crew targeted your home, it would be good if your home were a hard target, like a castle for fortress of the ancient days, but the reasonableness of your security measures must take into account the likelihood and severity of the risks you might face. Let’s go over some ways to make your home more secure, focusing on hardware and structural changes, not skills or techniques to learn. Quick Navigation Fortifying Your Home: Things to Consider First Objective: Know They’re Coming Second Objective: Block Their Entry Third Objective: Have Hard Cover in Your Home Conclusion "Fortifying Your Home" : Things to Consider Most people have already considered moderately-effective security improvements such as getting an alarm system, installing deadbolt locks on exterior doors, installing exterior lighting all around your home, trimming trees and shrubs around windows, and getting a dog.  Almost everybody reading this article will already own one or more “home defense” firearms.  These are all good steps, but so much more can be done. For the purposes of this article, let us acknowledge that unless your home is built from the foundation up as a fortress, you cannot expect any security measures to stop a determined team of burglars who are willing to take some time and make noise to get inside. If they come when you are home, your security precautions can give you a warning, so that you can put your defensive plan into effect . If you are not home, your alarm and other security measures could give cops or your neighbors time to respond. Check out this detailed blueprint on how to prepare your home First Objective: "Know They’re Coming" In order to defend your home and/or quickly send other people to defend your home in your absence, the first thing you need to know is that an attack on your home is beginning. It would be desirable to see the arrival of the criminals on your property.  For this, you want windows or cameras looking out into your yard from every direction– the street, the sides, and the back yard. Windows and cameras Every side of your home should have windows from which you can see out. Upper floor windows make for safer viewing out and are less vulnerable to being entry points for intruders. Windows are also potential defensive positions for you and your family to try to drive off or repel the attackers. Virtually all security-sensitive businesses, government offices, and the homes of VIPs, have a camera surveillance system as part of the security plan. Today’s security cameras often come with infrared lights to work–with limited range–even in total darkness. We would all be safer if we had them for our homes. A peephole can be more useful than a window sometimes. All your exterior doors should have one-way peepholes in them, preferably with wide-angle lenses so you can see people standing to the side of the door. Check out SurvivalCache’s recommended survelaince systems: Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security Camera... See Price on Amazon ANNKE Home Security Camera System 8 Channel 1080P... See Price on Amazon Last update on 2020-06-22 at 18:48 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API Exterior lighting Motion detector activated lighting is important, as are Onforu 2 Pack 50W LED Flood Light, 5500lm Super Bright LED Floodlight, IP66... that you can also turn on with a switch.  They should be positioned to shine away from your home, so that you can see out without getting any glare, and without the lights making you visible from the outside. If one side of your home has no windows, consider mounting a camera there.  Studies show that good lighting of your home and yard at night is one of the most cost-effective methods of home security to discourage burglars. Check out SurvivalCache’s recommended floodlights: Ring Floodlight Camera Motion-Activated HD... See Price on Amazon Onforu 2 Pack 50W LED Flood Light, 5500lm Super... See Price on Amazon Last update on 2020-06-22 at 18:48 / Affiliate links / Images from "Amazon Product Advertising" API Perimeter motion detectors Another way of knowing when somebody is coming onto your property is to use a perimeter warning circuit in your home alarm system. Most home alarm systems will accommodate this kind of addition, but most homeowners do not upgrade to this level of protection.  Perimeter detection can be either of two popular types: wide area motion detectors or beam-break detectors.  Both kinds are available with two kinds of underlying technologies: passive infrared light, or microwave signals. Related: Handling an Active Shooter Situation Perimeter warning units mount outdoors around your home and yard, on posts, tree trunks, or the side of your home.  Wide area motion detectors will alert to a human or large animal’s movement in your yard, within a cone-shaped zone. Beam-break type detectors come in sets of two units, and one projects a beam toward the other, and the line between the sending unit and receiving/reflecting unit is the “beam” that is being monitored. If anything crosses that line, its body will temporarily block the beam of infra-red light, and the alarm is triggered.  The more common models that you might buy at a big box home improvement store use IR light, and they have a range of about 50-75 feet. The commercial models used by businesses are more expensive, but reach out to over 300 feet. Perimeter alarm systems work best in conjunction with physical barriers around your property, such as fences, and a gate across your driveway to slow the approach of unwelcome vehicles. These barriers serve to give you more of a warning, as the criminals approach will be slower and noisier. Check out SurvivalCache’s recommended perimeter systems: Best System Best System Guardline 500 ft. Wireless Driveaway Alarm Our Favorite Home Security System Configure up to 10 sensors with 1 receiver Configure easily. No Wifi needed. No subscriptions Check Price on Guardline's Site Check Price on Amazon.com Second Objective: "Block Their Entry" If criminals attack your home, you want them to find all your doors and windows closed and locked. They may try to break through one of these points of entry, probably a back door, where they cannot be seen from the street or may not be visible to the neighbors. You want your doors to resist being pried-open or kicked-in.  Here is how you can make your exterior doors stronger: Strong exterior doors .  Not all doors are equal when it comes to construction. Some are thin molded plastic glued to a wooden frame. Others have steel sheet metal over a wooden frame.  Wood is weaker than fiberglass and undesirable in a high-security door.  Even solid wood doors, though strong across the middle, are weak where they are drilled-out for the lock components. Commercial fire-rated steel doors are stronger than ones made for residential applications, but they’re a lot more expensive. Choose a door that does not have windows in it, especially if that glass is located close enough to the lock mechanism that a criminal could smash the glass and reach through to the lock. The weakest link of the door itself is where it has been hollowed-out for the lock sets– the door material here is pencil-thin and easy to rip away from the metal lock components. High-security locks and door-mounting hardware .  A standard exterior door lock has a short bolt that only engages a tiny bit into a recess in the door frame. A deadbolt , mounted several inches above the standard doorknob, gives you a second bolt with a much longer range of motion; it will often reach over an inch into the door frame. Make sure the fit of the door to the door frame and strike plate is good, with a very small gap. Many locking doors have a lockset that is supposed to prevent easy opening with a stiff plastic like a driver’s license but in the real world sloppy installation or the loosening of the door frame over cause misalignment that will allow anybody to “jimmy” the lock. To address the inherent weakness in doors and door frames due to flimsy and thin wood components that surround the lock parts themselves, buy door security hardware (such as Armor Concept’s Door Armor Max ) that lets you screw steel reinforcing plates or “wrap-arounds” over the part of the door that has the lock mechanism. You can also reinforce your strike plate, which is the rectangular metal piece surrounding the hole in the door frame into which the bolt of the lock will enter. In addition to bolting steel plates to your door around the lock mechanism, as reinforcements to the door itself, you should use bigger, longer screws in and around your door. Replace the short, skinny nails and screws that your door was installed with. Use deck screws, which come in lengths of over 3.5 inches. Check out SurvivalCache’s recommended products: PRODUCTS FEATURES Must Have Must Have Door Armor MAX Combo Set - Armor Concepts Our Favorite Door Jamb Prevents kick-ins and prying attacks Police tested Check Price on Armor Concepts site (15% OFF) Check Price on Amazon.com Recommended Recommended Schlage Deadbolt Our Favorite Deadbolt Strong deadbolt with built-in alarm system Connect to home security monitoring system Check Price on Amazon.com Augment your door’s locks with an external bar. Remember, no matter how good your door’s locks are, the bolts can be cut with modern cordless power tools. Criminals have been known to use such battery-powered tools to cut chains and locks. Another way to prevent a door from being forced open is to use a locking bar that is propped against the door at a 45 degree angle. Some such bars require a slot or stud hole in your floor, but others use a rubber-coated end and friction to prop the bar in place. Reinforce your windows. As for windows, the most obvious problem is that a criminal can break the glass, reach in, unlock the window sash, open the window, and climb in.  To make your windows stronger, consider putting up another layer of barrier in addition to the glass panes. Some people use rigid panes or sheets of clear plastic, and this is good if the type of plastic is polycarbonate, such as the brand Lexan . Do not use cheap acrylic plastic, it is not particularly strong nor shatter-resistant. There are also “security film” window treatments on the market. They are tough but flexible wraps of clear (or tinted) plastic that apply to glass doors and windows just as one would apply tint film to car windows. This security film will hold the window together even when the glass underneath is broken. It is tough enough and energy-absorbing enough that it can’t easily be ripped away to create a big opening for an intruder to climb through. However, a window’s sashes or frame can be smashed-through, just like a door. That’s why some people in high crime areas fortify their windows (and sometimes doors) with burglar bars. These bars cover the entire window opening with a cage or screen. They are much less attractive than clear plastic. Although they look “ghetto,” they are high security.  One risk that comes from covering your windows with burglar bars is that it will often prevent the window from opening.  You should consider whether you might need to use that window for ventilation or for an emergency escape, such as in case of a fire. Some burglar bar sets have a quick-release system, accessible only from the inside of the home. Check out this detailed blueprint on how to prepare your home Third Objective: "Have Hard Cover" in Your Home If intruders made it through your doors and windows and get into your home, while you and your family are there, one or more of you may want to fight off the intruders, while others escape, either by leaving the home or locking themselves in a safe room. Safe room. A safe room is a place inside your home for you to stay out of sight and out of reach of intruders, even if that means the intruders can steal anything they want from the rest of your home. It should be a room that is very hard to break-into, and one that is equipped for you to comfortably stay there for a long time. The door to the safe room should be an exterior grade door, or a fire-rated door suitable for commercial construction. It should have good locks and lock-reinforcing hardware installed as described previously in this article. The door should have a one-way, wide-angle peephole. If you were building or remodeling your home, I would suggest making the walls of one of the smaller rooms in your home (a guest bedroom, big bathroom, or a large walk-in closet) extra strong for future use as a safe room. For this room, you may want to put steel mesh screen across the studs before you enclose them with sheetrock (drywall). A good type of screen for this purpose is “remesh” made for reinforcing poured concrete driveways. You may want to have the studs placed at 8” center to center instead of the normal 16” spacing, to make it impossible for an intruder to rip through the flimsy sheetrock and step into that room by passing his body in between the 2×4 studs. Or you could use sheets of plywood to cover those walls first, and then use drywall. Check Out: Estwing Axe The safe room should also have weapons inside it to deal with the intruders should they manage to break into that room. You should also have an axe and pry bar in that room so that you can break OUT of it, if necessary, if for some reason that strong door was blocked or its lock jammed so that you could not open it. Consider what is “cover” inside your home. If you had to grab a gun and fight intruders, would it be to your advantage to position yourself behind bullet-resistant cover? Of course it would. Every tactical shooting course and every instructor on the topic of combat arms shows you how to make use of cover while engaging your adversary. Inside your home, think of what you have, or could that would serve as cover. Keep in mind that cover is not the same as concealment. Concealment just hides you from sight. Doors are concealment. Even the interior walls of your home only “conceal” you from the bad guys, but interior walls will not stop incoming bullets. Cover is defined as something that effectively blocks or deflects bullets. With your knowledge of the layout of your home, you should anticipate the likely point of entry for intruders, and you should choose a few defensive positions in your home.  Don’t count on the corners of walls, or doorways, as reliable cover. All popular handgun and rifle bullets, as well as buckshot or slugs from a shotgun, will go right through interior walls easily, with lethal velocity as they emerge on the other side.  The only parts of an interior wall that can stop or significantly slow down handgun bullets are the wooden wall studs– and there is only one stud per 16 inches of wall length in most walls. If the bullet hits any of the other 15 inches along that section of wall, it encounters only a couple layers of drywall. Bullets go through drywall like a knife through butter. A bookcase whose shelves are filled with books and other paperwork can stop bullets. A refrigerator full of food and beverages will stop handgun bullets and buckshot from a shotgun, and some small, high velocity rifle bullets. The same applies to ovens, washers, and dryers– consider them “cover” as to most common handguns, but not for rifle rounds. Furniture is no good as cover. Wooden chairs and tables don’t usually stop even pistol bullets, and upholstered furniture like sofas and reclining chairs are only “concealment” if you duck behind them, not cover. Your bedroom dresser, with the drawers full of clothes, makes better cover than the mattress and box spring of your bed. Conclusion In times of peace and relative safety, certain security measures are more “worth it” than others. It all depends on the risks you and your home face, and how much peace of mind you would attain from having a fortified home with a good security system. Because conditions in our society could change rapidly, it may not be unreasonable to beef up your home now, when you have easy access to all the hardware at the local shopping center. In times of trouble, the roads may be more hazardous for travel and the hardware and home supply stores could be closed or sold out of the products you need. It’s better to prepare now. Check out this detailed blueprint on how to prepare your home Other interesting articles: SHTF vs TEOTWAWKI? Guide for 2020 Urban Survival Guide for 2020: All You Need To Know! Best Bug Out Shelter For Your Bag: Guide for 2020 Tornado Survival: Guide to Surviving a Tornado in 2020

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