08Aug/16

Evolution…

We all start somewhere, and as we learn, adapt, and overcome, we evolve. This evolution manifests itself in many different ways,  from simple changes in theory, to a thirst for training, to changing how you do things, the list goes on and on.

I am no exception…

To this point, I have and do carry my pistol at the 4-5 O’Clock position on my belt. I have done this for many years, and it has been comfortable. That said, training, theory, and some good’ol speculation has me re-thinking this going forward, and it appears as though appendix carry may be a better and more capable alternative.

Image borrowed from JM Custom Kydex

“Why?” you might ask.

Well, as I get older and more in tune with my limitations and capabilities, coupled with my testing of my setup / kit, I have found that my ability to utilize my carry with my off hand is less than ideal. It’s as simple as I’m not quite limber enough to easily reach across my body and pull my pistol in the event that something happens causing me to be unable to use my dominant hand.

Of course, if you’ve spent any time on youtube, training, or talking guns with others, you’ve undoubtedly come across a plethora other reasons why you might want to appendix carry. Things like it being easier to pull your pistol when on your back or sitting, better ability to conceal the weapon, and some would argue speed. Let’s not forget my personal reason for looking at it, accessibility.

Some of the reasons I have been apprehensive about making the switch have been physical conditioning, training philosophy, and ergonomics…

Physical conditioning is pretty self-explanatory, I’m concerned that my mid-section may prohibit me from carrying comfortably. I may need to lose a couple more pounds, but it seems as though it isn’t a problem for some people with more girth than I have.

Training philosophy revolves around my, arguably inaccurate, belief that I should always have my sidearm in the same location regardless of my level of dress. I will be talking about my “end of the world” load out in a future article, but suffice it to say that I have a few different levels of dress depending on the situation. So, I tried to keep my pistol in that 4-5 o’clock position in all levels of dress. At this point, I think that the pro’s may outweigh the cons as long as the different training encompasses some level of pistol manipulation.

Ergonomic’s are the biggest unknown at the moment. How will sitting, bending over, using the restroom, etc. be impacted by moving to appendix carry? Most reveal a small adjustment period in which you re-train yourself into small re-positioning as you move from one position to another. Sitting being the primary source of my apprehension.

And the process begins…

  1. Photo by ComptacFind a holster
  2. Get comfortable
  3. Train

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

04Aug/16

Testing…1…2…3…

I’m a gear guy by nature. I love having “cool stuff”. Whether it’s the latest and greatest gadget, or some milsurp awesomeness, I spend plenty of time drooling over things. Heck, I can even be found accessorizing my purchases before I’ve taken delivery. It’s definitely exciting and fun if you ask me…

…and quite often a lesson in futility.

You see, there are many times where I look at something and think it will augment my kit well, only to find out that it just doesn’t do what I need it to do. Whether it be a primary item, or an accessory, I’ve found plenty of times where it’s worse than not doing what it needs to do. Instead it gets in the way and limits my (or the item it’s accessorizing’s) overall functionality and capabilities.

Magwell GripA prime example of this with regard to an accessory was a magwell grip I purchased some time ago. The idea seemed sound and the aesthetics were pleasing. I bought it, received it, and promptly attached it. At first glance everything appeared to work well and it was a comfortable, albeit less stable for me, grip. It wasn’t until I was at the range that I found it wouldn’t accept the majority of my magazines. Now, this was neither the fault of the manufacturer of the grip or the mags, they were simply incompatible.

Had that discovery happened in a real world scenario, and I was unable to reload under duress, I could have had a really bad day.

So, it’s with that in mind that this article is being written. A philosophy of ours here at Tri-Point Outfitters is that it doesn’t truly work unless it’s been tested, and tested in the manner in which your going to use it. Also, if you’ve made a modification to something that’s been tested previously, you may have just taken something that works perfectly well and made it insufficient for it’s intended use. Of course, this isn’t an absolute by any means. If you’re simply adding a pouch to your 72 hour kit or a light to your pistol, you can likely revert the change quickly with no impact.

The same can be said with regard to items of, let’s say, questionable quality. If you buy a wheat grinder at a discount price, you probably don’t want to wait until you need to make some bread to find out that the teeth on the gears don’t mesh well. A power outage isn’t the best time to find out that $2 LED light you picked up on your last outing falls apart when you try to turn it on.flashlight

Even the best tool for the job with the best quality can leave you wanting. Did you order a new jacket online? Was it sized optimistically, and you should have gotten the large instead of a medium? Stranded in a blizzard is the last place you want to be when you realize  you can’t zip it up.

The point is that it’s imperative that we take great care to know what works for us, how it works, and to be fairly confident that it will serve us well should we need it. As I see it, the only way to stay on top of these things is to test our gear not only when we get them, but routinely to ensure that they continue to serve us as we see fit.

So, get out there, put that hard earned gear to use, and find out what fits your needs!

Life is trial and error, every relationship is not meant to work, sometimes you’re just meant to learn the lesson.

03Aug/16

D-D-D…

What is D-D-D? Simpy, it stands for “Don’t Discount Desperation”.

To us, this is a relatively dark topic. We tend to think that people, in general, are good. Sure, there are those out there who are inherently bad, but it would seem as though they are the exception. This can quickly change when times get tough. We see good people doing bad things when faced with no other choice. You simply can’t discount what a person can and will do when they are desperate.

The problem is, most people are heavily reliant upon the “system”. Getting food is as simple as trip to the grocery store or restaurant, clean water as close as the tap, and security a mere phone call away.

This isn’t always the case. We can look into recent history to see that in the event of an emergency the system can, and often times does, break down. As you can imagine, when the system breaks down, we lose the convenience that comes along with it, and this is when desperation sets in.

Few of us have been truly starving or thirsty. Sure, we’ve sensed the need for a drink or a snack, but that’s nothing when compared with what we would feel if we went a day or two without ANY food or water. It’s in these cases that our sense of desperation drives us to a primal place where we might do things we wouldn’t do normally. Some survival stories reflect people drinking their own urine after a day without water due to the bodies intense sense of urgency to be re-hydrated. I think most of us can all agree that is not typical behavior.

stockpileIt’s this desperation that drives normally good people to do horrible, despicable, things. With that in mind we urge you to keep your preparations somewhat close to the vest. If an acquaintance knows you have something they need, and they are desperate to get it, they may turn on you.  Remember, don’t discount desperation, and be prepared to deal with desperate people in the event of an emergency.

“We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.”
~Jim Rohn

25Feb/13

Winter storm…

As we start to see some light snow here in Duncan, OK, we’re reminded that being prepared for unexpected troubles when traveling can literally mean the difference between life and death. Taking a few minutes to set aside some simple provisions to keep you fed, hydrated, warm, and entertained should you get stuck on the side of the road is a simple level of added insurance.

blizzard

Here are some quick tips you may want to keep in mind should you get stuck in a blizzard:

  1. Pull your car to the side of the road, a safe distance from the path of travel in an effort to reduce the possibility of an accident with another vehicle.
  2. Stay inside your car unless there is an open building where in which you can seek shelter. It’s far too easy to get out and lost during a snow storm.
  3. Buckle UpKeep your seat belt on. While you may be out of the path of traffic, accidents do happen. Your seat belt could be the difference between a rude awakening and a trip to the hospital.
  4. Stay hydrated. Drink water from your emergency kit to reduce the possibility getting hypothermia. If you have to resort to drinking snow, be sure to melt it first to avoid reducing your body temperature further than necessary.
  5. Start your car every so often to warm it up. When doing this it is imperative that you check the tailpipe prior to doing so to ensure it’s not blocked by snow. If it is, clear it away to keep carbon dioxide from backing up in to the car and killing you. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless so it would be imperceptible.
  6. Use your emergency blankets and stretch or exercise a bit from time to time to stay warm, however do not over exert yourself.
  7. Leave your dome / overhead light on to alert others to your presence.

Stay tuned for an upcoming article about vehicle preparedness kits…

“Advice is like snow – the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper in sinks into the mind.” ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

12Oct/12

Children…

Many of us have children whom we love and care for. They tend to be one of the reasons why we do the things we do, and can provide motivation when we need it. This is just as true for us.

When we stared our journey, we had a single child, a wonderful daughter. She was still a baby, so the preps for her were unique, and fortunately for us we ran through them so fast we always tried to have plenty on hand. In that capacity it was easy. As she continued to grow, we had to account for her changes in what we set aside for her. This included making sure she was covered in our portable 72 hour kits while she couldn’t manage her own bag.

Of course her safety was our responsibility, but it never did feel like it was a ‘have to’. It just felt right. Later when our son came along we continued to bolster and add to our kits and other preparations. Again, no hard feelings were felt. With that said, we have met some people who have treated their children as an afterthought, and when we’ve talked to them about their preparations they seem stumped when we asked what they’ve done specifically for their children. While it wasn’t a conscious misstep, they believed that if they took care of themselves, they’d be able to manage for the kids. We believe that this is simply a misconception. We urge each and every one of you to take heed and be conscious when you have a child to take care of.

As we mentioned, at the start our children’s needs were relatively few and easy to take care of while being very specific and unique. As they grew, and continue to grow, their needs have changed and evolved. And those needs continue to be as unique as the child themselves. This is why we involve our children in our discussions and planning. This allows them to think through their needs, and gives them the ability to add a couple of luxury items. This also let us get them their own go bags when they were able to shoulder their own fair share so that we could reduce our load.

In reality, preparing older children is no different than preparing for ourselves. We have the same basic needs, and we have to consider any special needs they might have. We’ve found that the major thing that we have to deal with when working with our children is their tendency to want to over pack. Our enjoyment of hiking and camping has given us a unique insight into how much of a mistake over packing can be. We might be able to handle the weight at the onset, but over time it can become grueling and unbearable.

So far we’ve talked a lot about preparing out 72 hour kits and setting our kids up with kits of their own, but there are some great things to ensure you have around the house for emergencies as well. If your kids are anything like ours they are well immersed in technology, playing games, reading, and getting the rest of their non-physical activity through the use of electronic devices. With many of the emergencies we deal with we often find ourselves sitting at home without power. Its in these instances that we’ve found having a couple of board games and children’s books can really help pass the time. It can also be the difference between kids laughing and playing and them fighting like cats and dogs.

Our experience and knowledge as parents / guardians / adults is the best tool at our disposal, and out edge. It’s what helps us mold our children as they grow into adults. It’s also what lets us prepare them for life with and without us so they can deal with whatever comes their way.

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
~Margaret Mead

11Oct/12

Every Day Carry…

Every Day Carry, or E.D.C., is a term we see a lot when looking into preparedness and survival information. As the name suggests, it’s what you carry on your person every day. So imagine if you were to empty your pockets, whatever might be in there on any given day would be your every day carry.

As we see it, it shouldn’t be daunting to gather it up, and it shouldn’t weigh you down. Yet again, our philosophy plays a huge role in what we have with out every day carry. We look at it as a very temporary stop gap should we get caught in an emergency while out. In most cases we’re not very far from the house, car, or office, so it will give us some tools that will allow us to get back to one. We tend to have a level of preparations in each place that are a little (or a lot) more substantial. Augmenting is part of our philosophy, and the every day carry could be considered tier 1, with next level prep (car / home / office) being tier 2 and so forth. With that in mind, we are very deliberate when deciding what we should add.

Now, some of this every day carry material is very common sense. Most of us carry our ID and keys when we leave the house, and it’s becoming more and more common for people to carry their cell phone every where they go. Each of these are great pieces of your every day carry, and they can be bolstered to increase their usefulness. Things like apps for a smartphone, adding a small knife or paracord to your key ring, or adding extra cash and emergency contact info to your wallet are all great examples of bolstering.

Some things that we have added to our everyday carry may also already be in your pockets. What we’re talking about here are things like a pocket knife of lighter. I’ve been carrying a pocket knife for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t thrown in with preparedness at the forefront of my mind, but looking back on it I certainly was preparing for my day should I need it. The lighter found its way into my pocket as I started getting into hiking and I found it could be useful in everyday activities, so it stayed.

Of course, we talk about our preps evolving over time and our every day carry is no exception. A couple of things that I added over time were a flashlight and paracord bracelet. The flashlight came from hiking as well. It ended up being used quite frequently, and I found myself missing it as I was taking walks in the evening. The bracelet just seemed like a smart idea that didn’t take up any room or add any noticeable weight.

One thing I haven’t talked about is a firearm. Carrying a firearm is a very personal decision, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Assuming that you make the decision to carry a firearm daily be sure to know and comply with the laws where you are, and we urge you to get advanced training.

With that said, we carry our pistol and an extra magazine every day, unless the place we are going prohibits firearms. As we see it, having a gun for every day carry does you no good unless you carry it.

Consider this a primer on every day carry, and look forward to more detailed and elaborate posts outlining the individual components. Over time you’ll see what we’ve chosen and why we chose what we did.

“Be prepared.”
~Boy Scout Motto

10Oct/12

Philosophy…

Philosophy impacts many aspects of over every day life. From politics to religion and everything in between, and preparedness and survival are no exception.

Everyone has their own philosophy when it comes to preparedness and survival preparation. It serves as the purpose and motivation to get us moving and keep us moving. It encompasses our ideals and drives how we prepare, and where we place our focus. You may not be conscious that you have a philosophy regarding your preparations, but you can rest assured you do.

Some of the things that give us purpose and motivation in our philosophy are relatively simple. We’ve even shared these with you before. We see people who run into personal emergencies or tragedies every day, and when they are ill prepared to deal with it, it can have a major impact on them. Death, Fire, burglary, weather, the list goes on and on, and they are all good reasons to prep, and can be a starting point and the thing that gets you going.

My catalyst was 9/11 2001. Before then, I was simply ignorant when it came to the idea that something, anything, could happen that would impact me in such a way. I chalk it up to having a sense of invincibility due to my age and live experience. By noon on the 11th I was reeling through scenarios from the extraordinary like foreign invasion to the more localized and immediate like a house fire. To be honest, I was a mess. It was the best thing that could have happened to me, and it got me moving.

The uniqueness of 9/11, at least in my eyes, caused me to take other things into consideration as well. It caused us to become very cognizant of our surroundings and the political climate. We are aware that unemployment is currently upwards of 8% and has been over 12% nationally. We know that there is unrest in the middle east, and that there is dissension here at home. Global events could be quite tumultuous to say the least.

All of this gives us cause, but what do we do about it? How do we cope with it and address it all? It’s simple really, we take it one step at a time, and one day at a time.

This yet another aspect of our philosophy. We facilitate it by focusing on the smaller things and augmenting them as we progress. Not only is it overwhelming to try and be prepared for everything all at once, it’s far to overwhelming. Being prepared to weather a power outage from a storm that may last as little as a few minutes to a few weeks is much more benign and easy to prepare for. Once we’ve gotten prepared to weather a power outage, we can look at preparing for longer more impacting disruptions in our life. We extend our preps from 1 day to 1 week to 1 month and so on. I’m sure you get the idea.

It’s this same philosophy that tells us that we’re going to stay at home unless we’re forced to leave. Of course our situation impacts that decision. With that in mind we tend to focus our preparations that we can store at home, and will extend our capacity to endure at home. It’s this same portion of our philosophy that tells us to not put all of our eggs in one basket so we prepare to leave if necessary, while incorporating dual purpose preps that can be taken on the road. We’re well aware that if we do have to leave we’ll be limited in what we can take, and we’ve made the conscious decision to sacrifice some portability by planning to pack our every day preps instead of camping food. We’ll elaborate on some of this in a future article.

This continues with the evolution of our philosophy. It was with the idea of using the same types of preps for both staying and going in mind that we decided to being preparing by focusing on every day items. You’ve likely seen us say eat what you store and store what you eat in another article, and this is the best way we can see to bolster our preps.

And we continue. As we move from one aspect to the next we build the philosophy to meet our needs, and you will do the same. Everyone’s philosophy is going to be somewhat different, and it will continue to evolve over time. Yet another aspect of the philosophy. You’re always going to be tweaking it.

As you can see, we didn’t go into any specifics, that’ll come in future articles. We just wanted to give some insight into how your philosophy will guide you along your way towards being prepared for what life may throw at you. So, get out there, start building your own philosophy, and nourish it. Enjoy the trip, it’s an exciting journey.

“Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.”
~Edgar Allan Poe

09Oct/12

Gear Review – Magellan Sportswear® Men’s Laguna Madre Fishing Shirt

As you already know, we enjoy getting out on a good hike from time to time. When hiking we encounter a lot of different terrain, and sometimes it can be pretty relentless on the clothes we decide to wear on our journey. Of course, you don’t need to be on a hike to run into things that will wreak havoc on your attire. Every day life can certainly take it’s toll.

Durability isn’t the only thing we take into account when selecting our clothing for hikes. When we started, we had a tendency to wear cotton t-shirts and cotton over shirts when we thought we should layer for warmth. It wasn’t long before we realized that cotton tends to hold sweat and water, and that causes it to be inefficient at dissipating or retaining heat. It’s with this in mind that we started looking for alternatives, and we found that nylon and other sweat wicking materials are a much better alternative.

Enter the “Magellan Sportswear® Men’s Laguna Madre Fishing Shirt”.  This was our first purpose specific shirt purchase. We have two that were initially used for an extended hike, but have found a home in our every day lives.

The shirts are 100% nylon material with a polyester lining. I’ve found that they do well in most temperatures. In the heat they seem to wick moisture, which is likely attributed to the Vented cape back. As the temperatures drop the nylon blocks out some wind, and with the way the vent is constructed, it can also block out winds. With that said, it’s not necessarily an all weather shirt. I have found that it’s good by itself above 70 degrees ferinheight, and as an overshirt I’m comfortable down to about 60 degrees. Beyond that, I tend to wear some type of coat.

One thing we look at when preparing for our hikes is UV protection. We’re typically exposed to the elements for hours at a time, so we wear sunscreen to protect against the harmful effects of the sun. Now, to be honest we didn’t have this as a forethought when buying our clothing, but it makes sense that if you can get some protection from your clothes you might as well. These shirt give you just that. They specify that they provide UPF 50+ protection. That’s good in our eyes.

Some other things we like about these shirts are that they are button-down and long sleeve. They tend to be more versatile than a short sleeve shirt, especially in spring and fall where the mornings and evenings can be cool with a warm to hot mid day. These also add buttons and tabs to the mid sleeve so that if you roll up the sleeves they can be secured. In day to day office activity I didn’t really find a need for the securing tabs, but when out on a hike or working in the yard I have seen their benefit.

While we are not fishermen this is a fishing shirt, and with that it has some additional features specific to the sport. It comes with 2 pockets that have drain holes. I can say that they drain well after experience some pretty rough water on a kayak trip. They also come with a waterproof pouch that clips inside one of the pockets. I actually got rid of it. It seemed well constructed, but I like carrying my entire wallet and it simply wouldn’t fit in the pouch. The pouch would be better suited for an ID, a credit card, and a couple of dollars in cash. Lastly it has a rod loop.

All things considered we believe that this is a quality product. It’s stood up to the rigors of hiking, canoeing, yard work, office work, and plenty of play. It’s been through the wash more times than I can count and is no worse for the wear. It has survived snags without so much as a tear, and lived through abrasions without any marking. They shows no signs of staining, which could be due to the khaki colors we bought. We’d certainly recommend these shirts.

“Nothing to mountaineering, just a little physical endurance, a good deal of brains, lots of practice, and plenty of warm clothing.”
~Annie Smith Peck

08Oct/12

Point 3 – Training…

The third point we at Tri-Point outfitters believe are essential to being truly prepared is Training.

Once you have the knowledge of what it is you may encounter you’ll need to begin to apply that knowledge. Applying that knowledge in a non-emergency scenario is training at its essence. This training needs to be done at all levels from battening down the hatches to taking to the road, and should encompass all facets of each plan. Further skills training needs to be added as well, like first aid, map reading, and firearms. I guess you could look at all of it as skills training, as even being able to lock down your house could be considered a valuable skill.

Of course, there are many ways to attain this training. The most rudimentary is practice. This can be done by yourself at your own pace, or even with friends. Practicing with those affected by the skills you are training to use can sharpen the edge you have should you need to utilize those skills in a real world scenario.

Sometimes we don’t have the basic skills that would allow us to practice on our own, or we want to progress our existing skills and knowledge to the next level. The best way to do this is to seek out people who have attained more knowledge and skill through training and research of their own, who can provide you with skill specific classes. In almost every aspect of our training there will be an individual or group who specialize in the skill we’re trying to attain. First aid training is a perfect example of this.

One major thing we need to keep in mind is that our skills and abilities tend to atrophy over time, and without routine training, we may lose the ability to function at 100% when necessary. Sure, we’ll be able to preform the task, but will we be able to do it at the level that we need to, with the speed and accuracy that can help us survive? It may be like riding a bike, but if you haven’t been on a bike for quite some time you’re probably not going to perform with the same efficiency that you did during the previous session.

So far we’ve focused on the skills, but we think it’s important to elaborate on this. For most of the gear we purchase, point 2, we will need to hone our skills in their use as well. To maximize the efficacy of said gear requires training.

While this is true of all gear, we think it’s important to state that this couldn’t be more true than with firearms. From safety, to use, to accuracy, if you’re going to own and utilize a firearm within your preps you should be well trained in its use. Take the time and you won’t regret it.

While some may suggest that one of the three points is more important than the next, we believe that it take a combination of all three to be truly prepared. It’s with this in mind that we urge each of you to apply the three points to your preparedness in an effort to allow you to have peace of mind that you’re prepared to handle any issue that may arise to the best of your ability.

“The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit.”
~Morihei Ueshiba

05Oct/12

Non-portable ideas…

Up until now we’ve talked about having preparations that revolve around being used whether you stay at home, or if you have to hit the road. The 72 hour kit, durable shoes and clothing, and having them in a pack are great starts.

What about if you’re not forced to leave your home? What if whatever you’re weathering lasts more than 3 days? Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to try and get out and restock?

In recent events we can see tornadoes, flooding, blizzards and more. Each of these can and has taken out vital infrastructure, essentially shutting down local commerce. No power can cause the stores to close. Road issues can keep you from getting where you need to go, and keep resupply from reaching its destination. The list goes on and on, so as you can see it’s perfectly feasible that you wouldn’t want to get out into the mess if you didn’t have to.

So, this is why we believe that it’s important to have supplemental preparations. At one point there was a recommendation of keeping 3 weeks of food on hand, and we tend to agree. Of course, having more is never frowned upon, but once the 72 hour kit has been completed 3 weeks of additional food and water on hand would be a great move.

This is where we want to share our philosophy, which is shared by many others, and that’s to store what you eat and eat what you store. This will allow you to rotate through your preparations keeping them fresh while allowing you to eat familiar food during any emergency that has you cooped up at home. This is sure to help you keep your spirits up. We believe far better than if you were eating pork and beans or freeze dried food for every meal.

We see a lot of people who go out and spend hundreds of dollars on prepacked freeze dried long term storage kits. While we agree that long term storage is important in the long run, we don’t think it is the best place to start. Many times these preps will sit, unused, and even though they are for long term storage they will go bad. This is why we continue to suggest people start with the store what you eat and eat what you store program. Once in place, you can build upon it and allow it to progress at a natural pace.

Here’s the kicker. When you store what you eat, and you eat what you store you can build up your stock with vary little effort. Simply pick up an extra couple of items every time you go grocery shopping. Before you know it you’ll have a day, two days, a week, and more in the pantry should you need it. One thing to keep in mind is that the extra items you buy shouldn’t be removed from the next week’s shopping list. That said, if one of your storage items is an ingredient in your meal for the week, rotate out the older item and put the new purchase in it’s place.

“Stock up your pantry and your freezer with things that aren’t perishable: Your favorite jar of tomato sauce that lists ‘tomato’ as the first ingredient, lots of grains, olive oils, vinegars, tomato pastes, onions, shallots. When you go to the store, you only have to pick up meats and produce.”
~Giada De Laurentiis