Black is often the wrong color at night, let alone the day.

We often walk when it’s dark.
Truly anti-social is us during this time although we do like to be seen by wearing fluorescent work jackets (and bottoms) if the weather is truly dire.

The why is two fold.

  • Where we walk is pretty dim and it is not unknown for vehicles to be moving around so, rather than eat hospital food, we like to stick out like a sore thumb!
  • The second one is we could be taken as ‘security’ or someone at work.
    Either way, people leave us alone.

However, I also like to walk at night ‘incognito’.
After all it’s not much good foraging when you look like a banana on legs.
So I wear drab greys, dull ‘muted’ greens and blues.
Plus my beanie (usually black) or preferably my old tattered, dull, soft shades DPM (and decidingly greasy ‘jungle’ hat. Plus darkened gloves.

So do I blend in the whole time? I wish.
Even though the eye is less able to discern form in dull light, it is damn quick to alarm up on erratic or fast movement of a shape moving in and out of shadow / lit areas.
Which doesn’t mean I’m walking at a snail pace the whole time, just evenly and smoothly using what cover there is, being careful of backdrop and when moving in and out of shadow. That takes practice. Including the careful control of looking around and behind you.

There is an urban ‘thing’ going on where youth into young adults either wear black ‘security styled’ work wear, or black jeans and black hoodies or tops. Usually with a black ‘duck billed’ crap hat. Why? Go figure. The one thing it does is makes them stand out in an urban setting, day or night, especially as they have no concept of convert movement or sound discipline.

So what’s best?
Um, for what scenario / setting / time of day / weather?
In a city the grey man dressing down goes unnoticed EXCEPT if his garb is out of place with what everyone is wearing. Sort of obvious really.
If you look at the homeless, their camo is usually ‘functional clothing but drab’. Thus they are seen and dismissed. If it’s hot and you are wearing bulky and baggy, the street smart (let alone the trained eye) will be thinking ‘what’s wrong with this picture’. Add hand luggage and especially back packs and they might as well put up a lighted sign saying ‘Lookie here!’.

While any animated, loud or fast moving group of youth / military age can be dressed anyway they like and will always stand out.

I was always taught that getting your camouflage PERFECT still isn’t worth a spit if you start moving faster than a snail. Fun bit about that is I can still ambush game by just standing off and sitting quietly. That’s because wildlife have a ‘trigger distance’ where they generally won’t alarm up if nothing is moving (but they do up their game if you are  up wind of them). Simply because people STINK!

As for the general public at night?
For me the game is to move but not be noticed or at worse, draw a ‘long look’.
That and I love it when people walk past without noticing me.

However the complication of low light / no light CCTV, PIR, and the plain old ‘curtain twitchers’ will always catch you out in the end.

That alone is one reason for going into a ‘set’ well before a booking, and relying on your static camo, hide and sound discipline.

Your thoughts on what you do to move covertly in an urban setting are welcome.
After all, when things turn bad, if you aren’t confident and practiced about movement?
Best you stay at home as the light dims.

After the flood alert it’s time for a rethink.

What did we learn from our flood alert readiness, viability of our gear, and our overall plan?

One of the most notable observation for us was our flood bag and basic GHB (Get Home Bag) were never going to work in a severe flood scenario outside of its usefulness as a basic survival tool.

Our possessions and home is our wealth so, come a flood that wipes out our home, even with a good fast (LOL) insurance payout. We will probably end up wrecked financially and practically. That and more than a little heartbroken as some of our stuff is irreplaceable.

So, our VERY down to earth assessment of the outcome of a flood is we would take what we need to survive, our valuables and papers, and unfortunately we would probably end up losing some irreplaceable things.

Even if we could get the irreplaceable things into the attic / loft. When a house gets well dunked in flood water, unless everything is hermetically sealed, it’s going to be ruined over time. Only sometimes even doing that isn’t bullet proof as we found out to our cost when a storage container we used had a small leak and the end result was just about everything clothing and fabric we owned had to be junked as our main method of sealing just couldn’t hack the humidity and 60 degree temperature swings in the store.

Thus whatever we put together won’t be a GHB or BUG Out Bag and will be more in line with an INCH (I’m never coming home) bag. Very comprehensive so considerably larger than we would normally entertain and bordering on the limits of being man portable.

Thinking about constructing our flood INCH BAG.
Our bag? One bag for each makes sense, but EQUIPMENT wise, there will be duplication. A wise thing anyway? If you ended up separated yes. If you aren’t, maybe not so. A bag also needs to be transportable.

However, there are weight limits for even the fittest.
Typically (ignoring military doctrine) a loaded backpack shouldn’t weigh over 20% of your body mass (various sources).

In real life, I’m 78 kg, 20%? 15.6 kg. (34 lbs). ROTFL.
The only way I’d be able to carry that weight for any distance is:-

So I would have to use a vehicle to bug out.
The argument now is why bother with weight limits as a vehicle can carry more.
Correct, as far as it goes. That’s the vehicle I’m talking about.
Fuel, breakdowns, some officious Gov jerk, or some other idiot (be they para-official or criminals) trying to stop us.

Much as I would stuff the car with everything, there will be an INCH bag within that is ‘body’ transportable.

Another consideration is what time of year is it?
Winter, winter to spring, spring into summer, summer to the fall.
They all present different requirements in clothing and what you need to survive.
Thus one build standard won’t fit all seasons.

Kinda obvious really but something you need to think about when building your bag.

To that I add the latest ‘things screwing up plans’. Climate Change.
The climate in the UK is changing, and FAST.
Wet is the new norm as is a longer, damper, windier winter.
Air temperatures last year only fell to minus 8°C (17°F) BUT, with windchill from a couple of 60 mph on shore storms last winter. That made for an unpleasant -22°C (-8°F). aka it was BLOODY FREEZING! So if we had to bug out, beach wear and flip flops for night use wouldn’t be a top priority.

Chapter Two.
First thoughts of the dangers of flooding would be:-
Fast moving material (be that debris, water, or mud slip) with the possibility of drowning and / or injury. Then there are the real dangers of electrocution, gas explosion, and structural collapse.

If you survive the first surge, hypothermia is the next danger, then poisoning and ingestion of toxins and pathogens from injury or ingestion.

After that it gets bad because all water and wet items must be considered toxic, not only to drink but to touch, and that includes clothing.

Keeping clean could be a major difficulty as to fall ill with a wrecked infrastructure and unknown medical support, may turn terminal.

The survival rules of three will assist you in prioritizing your efforts.

  • 3 seconds without cover from attack or Injury from that flood surge.
  • 3 minutes without a heart beat or breathing.
  • 3 hours without adequate cover.
  • 3 days without clean water, and the possibility of poisoning from a toxin or illness from a biological pathogen. To this you can include loss of your scripted medicines, and a safe way to keep clean and toilet.
  • 3 weeks without safe food.

If we were in an isolated or remote location, and had not received aid within a week, you will need to move to a safer uncontaminated area to seek aid. As for foraging? THAT NEEDS TO START IMMEDIATELY, but everything you do must be moderated by dangers of injury, toxins, and poisons you may be exposed too.

Chapter 3.
So what’s important?
I’m not going to be boring and make lists.
There are plenty of them on the Internet so pick one.
It’ll probably work but everyone’s priorities will be different so you’ll need to tinker about with the contents.

As an example, for us, whatever happens,

  • All paperwork is going to be important.
    Insurances, proof of address and identity, bank and savings books.
  • Plus anything of significant value. (LOL, as we haven’t got a lot!)
  • Rightly (but wrong in the UK), self defense tools will be a priority.
  • Foraging will be a must and those tools will be added.
  • The need for clean water will come first but med’s come a VERY STRONG SECOND as we are both medicine dependent.
  • Because floods cause a lot of pollution, PPE is going to be important as it the means to thoroughly cleanse ourselves.
  • Short range two way communications will be important for foraging.
  • Torches, plus spare batteries, and (if safe to use) a few candles.
  • Not forgetting a wide range of ignition devices like matches, lighters, fine steel wool, and the preppers all time friend, a ferrocerium rod aka a steel match.
  • One of the most left out things in a bag contents list, is something to sleep in.
    Two hammocks are needed plus over sheets or capes. (But why?)

In a HAZMAT/HAZCHEM scenario, getting off the ground is VITAL.
As is choosing your resting place with care.
It needs to be secure, uncontaminated, but easily ventilated as fumes and other airborne toxins will build up in confined places.
So, if you choose a house, open the BOTTOM and TOP windows. Best you vent fumes and other smells anyway you can than take a chance of a build up of some sort of toxin.

Thinking about sterilization of water, keeping you clean, and cooking. You’re probably going to have to start a fire. Only choose that spot carefully due to the dangers of flammable fumes like gas leaks, or fuels.

Finally as word about self defense.
In survival you may have to do things you would normally never entertain.
Defending your life and your equipment for survival are two of them.
Most aggressors (criminals) are after what you have.
Most desperate people will be the same.
There must be no different rules for one or the other.

To survive means you need ‘stuff’.
To give anything to another will lessen your odds of survival as resupply may be impossible. So the rule is simple. DON’T GIVE ANYTHING TO ANOTHER!

Survival is a selfish game.
Look after ‘you and your own’ AND NORMALLY THAT’S it.
Unless teaming up with someone is to your advantage.
Yet there are dangers doing that.
After all you have to sleep at some time.

Drinking Beer is safer than tap water in the UK!

One of our friends was doing a post on his Berkley water filter.
So I thought I’d share how ‘pure, clean, and hygienic’ our mains water supply is and you’ll soon see why we use the Berkley the whole time.
We have been using a Berkley since we were liveaboards on a narrow (aka canal) boat for 3 years as ANY water you put into a holding tank runs the risk of contamination from the source and the sometimes dubious quality of the hoses left at refilling points. We also added tank steryliser (Aquasol) to our holding tank as the last thing you need when boating is diarrhea.

Meanwhile, now, living in civilization and not quite our Nirvana. (And yes we do miss boat living). Outwardly, our tap water looks sort of fine (occasionally it has particles of sand in it) before filtration EXCEPT it DID HAVE a chlorine tang to it.

I write DID HAVE because our caring UK government allowed water companies to ‘not use so much purification’ as there were supply difficulties this year with the chemicals used to make drinking water safe. And that rang alarm bells, especially when others were complaining of ‘upset tummies’.

However, In summer? Let’s just say it usually has a ‘colorful’ tang about it. So when others are offering us a cold drink, we always opt for tea i.e. made with boiled water.

It also doesn’t ‘keep’ so chilling water in the fridge for a hot day in summer isn’t exactly wise. Boiling the water first gets rid of the tang but that’s not really the point. Leave a jug in the fridge and it spoils quickly (and no it’s not the fridge!).

Enter Berkely and we haven’t had a problem, EVER, with the water we use for cooking, and drinking.

Maintenance of the ‘no moving part’s except for the tap and top lid ‘ Berkey consists of a 3 monthly clean out and scrub down of the ceramic ‘candles’. Then a general clean of the water hopper, plus every six months the bottom ‘cleansed’ water hopper gets a wipe out.

The reasons will be better explained by three pictures.

Get the idea why we pay attention to our water supply?

So, I know my friend will read this post and now understand why we change our filters every year and scrub them every three months.

About ceramic filters.
WE LOVE THEM! Except some have the idea that they can stop bacteria, viruses, and chemicals (including heavy metals). In short everything that can harm you. We have even read in some misinformed prepper journals how some think they will stop dissolved radio iodides and cesium.

It’s been our experience that ceramic filters CAN stop a lot, but there isn’t one that can stop EVERYTHING (including lime scale). To that end you have to be careful about what you order AND read the small print before you do. As for dissolved chemicals and heavy metals. The same applies. As for radio active gunk in the water? Same thing.

The armed forces use a combination of filtration which can include:-

  1. Mechanical Filters (think fuel filters BUT BETTER)
  2. Absorption Filters (Activated Charcoal)
  3. Sequestration Filters (Chemical isolation of scale)
  4. Ion Exchange Filters (Beads remove scale)
  5. Reverse Osmosis Filters (Forces water though a filter)
  6. Ceramic filters (And back to Berkley!)

Only they have unlimited resources.
Little people like us preppers?
We use workarounds.

A note of caution.
I have read in some preppers advice that distillation is the ONLY safe way to purify water. Just bear this in mind. Some really nasty chemicals and radio-iodides have a slighter lower boiling point than water thus campfire distillation is not 100% proof. As is using tablet form purification.

Boiling, Distillation and Tablets may kill most bugs but when in HAZCHEM / HAZMAT environments? (Especially when fracking has ruined your groundwater).

That would include the other myth that rainwater collection is always safe to drink! Think twice about where you get your water from and always go high tech when purifying it.

As for beer being safer? Cockroaches die when they fall in so it must be pretty safe to drink!!

Air Weapons And The Need For Speed

The need for speed.
With traditional firearms, the faster that bullet flies, the harder it hits.
It’s a simple calculation of kinetic energy.
An object doubling its speed has four times as much kinetic energy aka “SMACK”.

A good effect of speed is the trajectory is flatter.
It gets there sooner so there is less time for gravity to work its magic. That and less time in the air over a given distance means the object is not so affected by wind drift.

Woo Ho, Pile on the muzzle velocity!
Except for air weapons.

Approaching the speed of sound (around 1100 fps) a pressure wave builds up called the sound barrier. Once the pellet approaches that threshold, the turbulence of that wave AND passing through a sonic boom totally destabilizes the common diabolo (waisted) shaped pellet and as a result, most barn doors breath a sigh of relief as you probably won’t hit them at range.

But why should it destabilize? What’s going on?
The diabolo (pinched waist) style pellet is designed like the old shuttle cocks of badminton.

The last one is a typical slug profile, and I’ll explain later how useless that is in most low powered air weapons.

That flared waisted diabolo skirt produces MASSIVE drag which, with a little spin stabilization, keeps the heavy head of the pellet in line. Although that spin rate is usually pretty lame.

OK, if speed is the worry, let’s go for weight.
And a lot of high power air rifle owners do just that.
Problem is the diabolo shape sort of maxes out at round 30 grains.
Thus 900 fps and 30 grains (assuming little drag) gives you approximately 54 ft lbs of smack at the muzzle. That and an ICBM sort of trajectory to travel any sort of distance.

OK, change to slugs. Bullet shapes, like the 22lr.
Now we can generate WEIGHT, a solid blob of lead!

A number of problems come into play now.
First and foremost is you lose stabilization as few air gun barrels can spin a slug fast enough to achieve the optimal rotation speed.

What’s that optimal speed?
That all depends on the LENGTH of the projectile where long needs a higher spin speed. It’s also a function of the rifling twist and just how fast the projectile passes down that barrel. Calculated as muzzle velocity X 720 / Twist Rate = RPM

Which doesn’t mean a lot as I still haven’t quoted a standard that fits all comers.
Truth is there isn’t one basic spin speed that fits everything as the projectile’s weight, form, and speed all play a part in getting a nice stable flight. Which is why pellets of an equal weight, but different design, will fly differently through the same barrel at the same muzzle velocity.

aka Find a pellet your weapon likes and stick with it.

In a low powered air weapon using a diabolo shape, the twist in an air weapon is more than in a firearm, typically 1:25 to 1:16, which at 500 FPS through a 14 inch barrel gives something around 14400 RPM. Slow isn’t it but just enough to do the job. One of the reasons why most use the waisted shape of the shuttlecock to aid stabilization at these lower rotational speeds.

So will a firearm shaped slug stabilize at those rotational speeds?
Nope, not a cat in hell’s chance. Without the drag of that flared skirt it will tumble and go unstable over a moderate distance.

Waiting for the big bore air weapon people now.
Only big bore is NOT THE SAME as the humble air weapon.
It’s firearms technology married with precision high pressure air management.
Ergo range, accuracy, without the BOOM, or restrictive licensing.

The spin is imparted to the projectile by the rifling and in most air weapons, that is a MICRO depth rifling. Again, that’s ‘death’ for slugs as they don’t expand so efficiently as the diabolo so don’t grip the rifling as well. Meanwhile, in a firearm (and big bore air), the rifling is WAY deeper than in a standard air weapon.

The problem is the more power you apply, the less micro rifling works and theoretically all it does is shave the slug down a few thousands of an inch.

Acceptable? What do you think!
Worse case, you end up with a VERY lead fouled barrel and every bunny in the world feeling safe.

Whilst firearms is all about DAMAGE and KINETIC and HYDRO-SHOCK, they have an excess of power to employ to achieve accuracy and smack down.

With an air gun it’s all about pellet placement i.e. putting the shot EXACTLY where it is going to do the most damage. For that you need a CALM, smooth discharge, and a well designed stable pellet working fast but no where near the speed of sound.

Muzzle blast from a firearm isn’t usually a problem, unless you are thinking tactically. So, at the speeds an airgun pellet leaves the muzzle, the air blast is untidy, usually faster than the pellet, and perfectly capable of toppling the back end of the pellets waisted / ‘shuttlecock’ shape.

Most air gunners NOT worried about noise use a thing called an air stripper to deflect the muzzle blast. Clean operation, but does nothing to deaden the noise.

Those worried about noise use a moderator aka suppressor which slows down the muzzle blast which allows the pellet time to clear the barrel before the spent air leaves the moderator.

Never use a damaged (deformed) pellet.
Remember, it’s an undamaged shape that gives it stability in the spin!

To see what I’m on about, knock up a little gyroscope only ‘hurt one side’ to introduce a weight in-balance. You’ll soon understand what I’m on about.

A word about synthetic shrouded pellets and sabot rounds.
A sabot (discard-able carrier) round starts off leaving the barrel and the “skirt” drops away leaving the spin stabilized core to fly on. A shrouded type uses a plastic “slug format” with a heavy core.

Usually lighter than lead, they boast ultra high velocities. To some that sounds brilliant and as explained above is a total waste of time as the spin speed is still lamentably slow, and too fast can destabilize as it approaches the speed of sound, as described earlier.

So my personal advice is don’t waste your time upping the energy to it’s max plus, pushing for more velocity, and playing with slugs in air weapons.

As a minimum fit an air stripper or shoot with a moderator to stop the high velocity air blast tumbling the pellet.

That an concentrate on accuracy.

Quality of shot as opposed to a high cyclic rate.
One shot, one kill is the norm for air gun hunters with spray and pray for shotguns and safety shots the norm for most “gun hoe” firearm users.

Something else to think about.
An air gunner goes out with 500 rounds in a little tin.
While firearm users need a day pack to carry the same, let alone all those magazines.

2200 PSI

That is what is stored beneath the barrel of my pre-charged Pneumatic air rifle in a steel tube. About a liter of compressed air.

So what?
Get it wrong and Bang!
What sort of damage could it do?
I’d like to show you a picture.
I’d like to but couldn’t find one and have no intention of blowing up my pride and joy for the sake of an article, so I’ll just settle for this.

So why write about it?
A fool recently filled his airgun with bottled Nitrogen.
That in itself should have not caused the problem as Nitrogen is an inert gas (although not for use in PCP airguns) BUT the fool assumed that all gases are stored at the same pressure in the same sized bottles.

Um, he couldn’t have been more wrong and at 6000 psi, the slack hand twist of the valve was sufficient to ruin his day.

OK, a bit dramatic, a bang, no one got hurt, £900 ($1400) worth of airgun died, but imagine if he had done the same with Oxygen?

Well not quite but this I can show! (pic found on the web).

So a word of caution folks.
PCP pre-charged Pneumatic air guns are to be charged with plain old desiccated (moisture free) clean air not whatever is left over in welding torch bottles.

What caused the bang?
High pressure oxygen and general purpose petroleum or organic based greases.
In the same container, they can ignite spontaneously and burn with explosive violence.

So what grease is safe to use with high pressure gases?
A lithium soap based grease or a silicon based grease.

However, you should NEVER USE Oxygen in a Pre-Charged Pneumatic weapon as there are areas in that weapon that could have been lubricated with ‘the wrong’ type of grease.

.22LR verses .22 Air Rifle

Not the tiniest of ammunition, but the all time favorite for small game, the rim fire .22 Long Rifle (LR) has been round for ever. (Well since 1887).

A good round developing about 100 (at the muzzle) worth of “smack down” with the familiar 40 grain soft lead bullet.

Compared to what I use for hunting which is a simple cheap little air gun pellet weighing in at only 21 grains and through my UK legal Air Rifle it develops just 11.7 Ft.lbs

OK, you can stop laughing now because you’re all thinking no comparison and ballistically you’re quite correct.

Highlighted in green is the little air gun pellet
(JBM Ballistics)

Trajectory of both over 50 yards (zeroed at 50 yards)
So what’s the appeal of the obviously under powered air gun pellet over the .22 LR? It can’t be trajectory, it can’t be “smack”, could it be accuracy?

Ballistic coefficients (BC)?
For beginners BC is its shape, it’s aerodynamics, and how it slows down from air drag. With a high BC, it cuts though the air like a hot knife through butter, low BC and the air acts like molasses slowing the projectile REALLY FAST.

  • The 22 LR 40 grain soft lead, 1040 fps, BC is 0.169 (Internet figures, not great, not bad)
  • The 21 grain air pellet at 500 fps, BC is 0.034 Chrono’d, (Absolutely DIRE)

As I used to shoot 97-99/100 prone at 50 yards with a .22 Martini-Henry Target Rifle, I can’t really fault the 22 LR in any way.
Having said that, 94-98/100 prone on the same range with the air gun pellet in my PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) it pencils out as pretty even.
A difference of 0.12″. Not really worrying about is it?

So, accuracy is about the same just low on the “smack down power”.
Although do you really need the power?

I regularly go out rabbiting and pot the occasional hare should one be stupid enough to come into range. Furry’s are my main prey with grey squirrel, wood-pigeon, collared dove, and if I’m really lucky, a duck.

My maximum effective kill range on furry and feather is only 35 to 40 yards.
At that range 8.75 ft lb of smack is tiny when compared to the 22 LR (86 ft lb).
Yet I often come home with a net full of eatables. So it can’t be power.

The advantage for me is I can use my air gun in an urban environment safely when pest controlling, and with the moderator on the front, it’s virtually silent.

Does the US hunting world bother to moderate (silence) their 22’s? I’ve got it in my mind that moderators are banned in some US states, is that still right? Certainly in the UK a moderator (silencer) is a listed accessory on a firearms license.
Not on an air gun though.

My absolute maximum range is pathetic too.
Initial Angle: 25.0 deg Terminal Angle: 57.5 deg
Terminal Range: 406.7 yd Terminal Velocity: 119.1 ft/s
Terminal Time: 7.7 s Terminal Energy: 0.7 ft lbs

I’m thinking you’ve got to be a lot more careful as the little 22 LR slug can carry way over a mile.
Initial Angle: 35.0 deg Terminal Angle: 66.1 deg
Terminal Range: 1980.0 yd Terminal Velocity: 281.3 ft/s
Terminal Time: 20.6 s Terminal Energy: 7.0 ft•lbs
(JBM Ballistics)

Why is that important?
Because we all miss occasionally and when shooting upwards into trees, the bullet or pellet just keeps on going till it does its ICBM bit and falls to Earth. It only takes 163 fps (2.3ft lb) to penetrate skin and 213 fps (4 ft lb) to break bone (Belkin, 1978)

OUCH! Your little 22 LR slug is WAY over that. Mine? Perhaps a bruise.
Boy, have you .22 LR users got to be careful about back drop when shooting.

Whilst talking about shooting into trees.
Most anyone who shoots tree game must have had a ricochet or two because even if you penetrate the prey, green wood has a nasty knack of returning the bullet or pellet to the sender with little reduction of power.

I’ve had a few pellets come back at me one taking out my safety glasses frame (never go out without wearing a pair) and putting a nice “dent” into my eyebrow.
I know a 22 LR coming back will do serious damage as I’ve seen what one did to a fellow pest controller when it came back off two trees and dug into his knee. He’s still limping on cold days, that’s now 10 years ago.

Um. So I can’t shoot fox or deer (both of which I trap) with my little air rifle and its pathetic power and range. Not looking good for me is it?

Yet, for safety, covert operation, cheapness of ammunition, licensing, and putting the listed food on my table, I’m quite happy with my little 22 Air Pellet.

Now I sit back and wait for all you US shooters to (figuratively I hope) shoot me down. Probably noisily, expensively, and with tales of rabbit shoots with whole pick up trucks full of bunnies.

There again, it’s only the little people in the UK that eat rabbit.
Or those with money that can afford others to cook for them.

A footnote.
Big bore and 30 cal air rifles.
The newest of the (FX) range will hold under a 6 inch group at 300 yards.
In 30 Cal (145 ft lbs) and as .22 (30 ft lbs)
Both powers are ‘upwards’ tunable.

While the 22LR? 80 yards at the most.

Laugh at air power if you like but I’d rather have a self chargeable weapon that can be moderated to almost a whisper and has a long reach. With the added advantage that they not governed by the same B.S. laws as firearms (except in the UK).

There again, it is possible to modify anything, if you have the will and learn the skills.

Finally what use in self defense?
The 22LR is a useful round but has little stopping power at distance when compared to the ever popular 5.56. Having said that, at phone box ranges, it does a fairly efficient job on humankind.

As for the .22 air pellet? It can tear out a neck vein, will happily punch out an eyeball, will penetrate into a bare chest cavity, but as a standard for dropping humankind everytime? Not a hope in hell.

However, the shock value of someone taking out your eye at 50 meters, silently, should not be sneered at. That being a simple 8 ft lbs strike.

Some will point out that a pair of safety glasses would stop that.
Quite right, sort of, but the point is taking accurate fire to the face and neck from someone you can’t see, showing no flash with or without a moderator fitted, producing little report, will put a target behind cover.

What of the gun hoe who will spray the area in the hope of hitting the shooter?
Fine, away you go.

However, a ‘what if’ creeps in as how will you know you have succeeded?
How will you know if that weapon has relocated?
How will you know if the rounds coming towards you aren’t close aboard but coming at you silently from distance, covertly, and propelled by silent air?

Quite simply you WON’T.

Defense isn’t all about one shot, one kill.
Sometimes defense is all about making an advance too expensive to continue or to slow it down to allow other resources to set up.
Two effective ways being to wound many and/or target the leadership.
After all that also takes personnel away from the attack to tend to the wounded.

31 Inches of Wooden Pain.

I used Dural (An alloy of Aluminium, Copper and Magnesium) walking sticks for quite a few years but, like me, they got a bit tired and creaky. More accurately I’d almost battered them to death!
That funny shaped handle turned out to be really good when held as a side baton and slipping off the rubber ferrule made the Dural a pain giver and a half when it stuck (or stuck into) you.

Only that wasn’t quite enough as Dural is strong but light and when it comes to striking someone, YOU NEED WEIGHT!

Amount of force (clout)= mass of baton multiply by the speed that you were able to generate swinging that baton.

Luckily I found a couple of new heavy-duty 1¼ inch thick ash walking sticks.
Each one weighs 15 oz or TWICE the weight of the Dural stick and boy these sticks pack one hell of a punch.

Self defense with sticks? You’re kidding right?
No, I’m not, and anyone who has been educated in the use of a long baton will tell you, it can be highly effective in three ways.

  • It is acceptable to carry one in public (if you need it)
  • It is great at incapacitating a person and controlling them,
  • It can be a bone breaker and a life taker
  • It’s best feature is it extends your reach which helps immensely when you think along the lines of “Distance is King in Combat”.

Something foremost in my mind when thinking about knives.
Why them especially? The best defense from a knife is to not be there.
Only I can’t run now. So it’s using barriers or attack hard without mercy.

The commonest street weapon in the UK today is a blade and usually used in an ambush mode (which is pretty much unstoppable) or with a degree of brandishing and knife dancing. All very pretty (not) but even when the blade is machete sized, a decent stick defense can keep an assailant out of reach while you are hollering for help, which NO attacker likes, as it draws attention to them.

So why not just shoot them? Humph!
I’m thinking you missed the bit about “the UK today”.
About the best I can legally in the UK is shoot at them with a bit of harsh (non sexist, gender neutral, and not racist) language.

How to learn what to do?
Military Manual FM 3-19-15 chapter 4-6 is all about using a 36-inch baton. [Link]
There are also stick self defense courses for civilians [Link] (including the Elderly)

Just a few pointers.  Always learn and practice with a buddy.
Start slow and build that muscle memory first before speeding up.
Remember slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
When a stick is in a full strike swing, unless you hear it ‘sing’ or ‘whistle’, you haven’t used enough force, and don’t forget to carry that force right through your target.

Where do I aim for?
The ankle, shin, or knee.
Mainly because if they can’t stand, they can’t pursue.
However, if things get out of hand,
I train to target the shoulders up.
Or ‘bayonet drill’ and use the stick against the center mass.
However, the last two regions CAN KILL.

There again, UK law permits reasonable force in self defense of yourself or another up to lethal level if you think your / their life is in danger.

Intervene or not? That is the question.

Would you intervene in a dog or cat fight?
Both can result in injury, to you, and both can occur in a split second.

So what actually is the difference between teenagers, or two drunks slugging it out, and a couple of feral dogs or cats scrapping? I submit not a lot!

Whilst I may still assist a person getting a beat down by some low life, today’s world is a weapon rich environment, and while UK law prevents us oldies from carrying adequate means to protect ourselves (be that non lethal or not), it’s more a judgement call whether to stand back and pick up the pieces or risk personal injury.

Statistically it’s the under 25’s that sustain and inflict the most injuries on the streets.
You may note I haven’t put a bottom age limit to this. That’s because toddlers aged around 7-8 are carrying some sort of weapon nowadays and have little restraint in using them. However, most other violence is the main preserve of the under 50’s and usually fueled by alcohol.

So where does that leave the onlooker in the UK?
I submit on very dangerous ground when facing young rage, bladed weapons, acid, or whatever. Add drink and drugs, little effective policing, a weak justice system, and no political will aside from ‘sound bites of indignation’.

In the UK, street law is rife, and folk MUST be willing to break the law to stand a chance of survival in a volatile, dangerous world.

By that I mean taking in and understanding the words of a master tactician.
“Unarmed combat is only for those FOOLISH enough to be caught without a weapon.”  Capt W Fairbairn

So would I intervene?
Yes, if a guy is beating on a female, or a child, or the assault has moved into the kicking a helpless person around.

AND YES, I do know that if I get it WRONG, I could be hurt at worst, and arrested for assault. Yep, in the UK a good Samaritan ALWAYS gets arrested.
Incidentally, years ago I helped a LEO who was bring pounded. Then his backup arrived. Guess who was thrown up against a wall and handcuffed? That would be me.

Luckily, the downed LEO remained conscious enough to tell them I was a good guy. So, I was released on the understanding that the ‘drunk as a skunk’ attacker could lay criminal charges against me at a later date. Guess who would have provided evidence in that trial supporting the fact that I attacked the idiot? The police.

So there is the BUT bit. Which I’m pretty certain many in the US will understand if they draw and use a CW or just a length of 4 x 2. The state, or the lowlife (or the family of), may come after you in a law court.

Anyway, what’s my MO?
Close up, fast, and without warning, down the assailant.
How? Apart from being old, there is another reason why I carry two heavy walking sticks.

What’s the dangers?
The human body (even if soaked in drugs or alcohol) has numerous weak points, only if someone is in full attack mode, their pain threshold (let alone their ability to think straight) may be dulled enough for them to engage you.  After that, restraint is something you can’t consider, as is engaging in a long drawn out defense.

Are all Gray man proponents unfriendly?

A cream puff looks more aggressive than I do and visually there is no tactical kit look about me. No backpack. At most only an old beaten out army surplus gas mask bag. (Think canvas man bag).

The best survival option is to let life walk past you, not noticed, part of the background, not worth a second glance, and even of someone did look at you, they would rate you as no threat or simply not worth the trouble.

After that the secret is to be ready without that being apparent.
To switch into competent aggression, a controlled effective response, something unexpected from a nobody, a nothing, a shadow, and too fast to counter effectively.

Is the gray man Persona ringing any bells?
If you think and live as a gray Man, and adapt accordingly to where you are, in manner, clothing, and knowledge, the last thing you’ll be doing is wearing tactical clothing, anything new, high-tech, or using too modern equipment, as all it does is draw attention to yourself. As I learned years ago, it marks you as rich pickings carried by a fool.

Historically, my time on the streets was influenced by a young street girl called Megan who taught me how to blend in AND, more importantly, when it is better NOT TO BLEND IN. Adopting a confident persona, the ‘I’m not a victim so don’t mess with me’.

Years later I met my keeper, SWMBO!
She taught me to interact with people in a controlled way on slightly better terms than a ‘grunt’ and a rare nod. Knowledge she learned from years of interacting with the worst kind of people in the world, the general public. That has helped me to evolve and enhance my gray man persona, a new aspect that I would not have thought possible, an ‘outwardly friendly’ gray man.

It’s an interesting concept.
To be known, accepted, but not portraying a victim or, and even more importantly, any level of leadership material. Why? Because you don’t need people to look to you for help when danger is near.

Training will pick up on that.
That involuntary glance in their direction, a look of ‘help me’.
Something which may promote you from ‘victim’ to threat or a burden.

A threat to an enemy is anyone who would stand up to them or for others.
Someone who could organize resistance and that can be wide ranging.
Like a preacher, someone ‘well thought of’ or respected, any professional person, or anyone with military experience.

So how are ‘we’ doing this.
The first thing is to be known on a casual level.
Not as a giver or a taker, just someone who is known but offering little in clues about who they are. Only it takes time. Progressing from a nod, to a smile, to  ‘Hi, how’s you day’? Just a familiarity, not a bond, no long chats, just acknowledging the other person’s existence.

Some would argue that we are deliberately exposing ourselves and ‘standing out’ from the crowd. Funny bit about it is now people just accept us. No one is surprised to see us, we are just part of the background of everyday life, and considered harmless.

That’s the other side of the Gray Man people often ignore.
I simply call it ‘Open Camouflage’.

Spot the Gray Man!

People possess 6 senses.
They are sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, and your sixth sense.
Even if you don’t know you have one.

If any of them are triggered by that person, one or more of those senses may trigger a reaction in you. What that reaction will be depends on you the person, training, or an evolution reaction that will typically be fight or flight.

Mind you, if a gray man triggers ANY reaction, he, or she, has failed.
So what could go wrong?
He or she did something your mind picked up something.

For instance.
Does that person act or move in a threatening or different way to everyone else?
Movement may be out of the norm. If everyone is gawking and that person is moving, why aren’t they doing what everyone else is doing? If everyone is strolling and that person is running, why?

It’s all about ‘What’s wrong with this picture’ and consciously or not, your mind will detect the unusual.

Before going on, it might be useful to reprint something I scribbled in 2013 about the gray man persona.

Note that although I say “him or her” in this article both ,and a couple, are equally adept at achieving this persona.

So why play the Gray man card? It’s simple security.
If you don’t form an opinion of a person, if you don’t know anything about them, if they are there but NOT there, 9/10 times, you’ll leave them alone.

That’s precisely the position you want to be in.
It allows you to develop your plans, your resources, assemble your survival equipment and train without drawing attention to yourself.
Then, whatever event happens, you’ll probably be left alone and provided you continue as “Mr. or Mrs. Nobody”, you’ll not be bothered.

The gray man persona is the ultimate in camouflage and the hardest role to play.
Exponents of the gray man are extremely difficult to identify simply because you don’t notice them.

They’ll be tactically aware the whole time, fitter than they look, trained to better than competent in a wide range of survival skills yet to look at them they’ll be no different than the next guy or girl.

Neither macho or exhibiting strong personality, they appear without fanfare, and you never actually notice when they leave. If you asked a room full of people what the gray man looked like the common theme would be nondescript.

In dress, they are never bright BUT never overly dour.
They’ll dress to fit the occasion. If everyone is wearing casual, so will they yet strangely their apparel will not stand out. If anything you’ll notice they dress in quiet colors, usually earth tones.

In manner, they will come across as private, a little shy, respectful, and polite especially in the presence of authority. Although they won’t offer to help, but they will quietly aid with everyone else who does.

Difficult to engage in conversation, they come across as an average, pleasant, polite personality. They offer no new opinions, are never contentious, or argumentative.
Having said that, the individual may be slow and calculated in their answers to the point where you think they are feckless and uninteresting.

Friendships will be restricted to polite acknowledgments.
It’s unlikely they will give out or take up invitations for meals, coffee, or BBQ.
To you it’ll appear as shyness. In the worse case they will appear stand offish BUT a true exponent of the gray man will disarm that by their acquiescent neutral behavior and personality.

Push too hard and they will just quietly fade into the background.
It would be a mistake to pursue ANY issue as you would have been flagged by them as a hazard. The harder you push, the further they will withdraw.

However, NEVER make the mistake of thinking that they are being cowardly or can be pushed round. They may just be waiting till they can deal with you on their terms and they probably will provided it does not draw attention to themselves.

The two ages of man will engender different opinions from others even though it will be hard to guess their age by their dress or manner.

The young gray man may appear a bit wimpish, shy, and withdrawn.
He’ll step back from a crowd (yet moves forward with little effort).

The older gray man may appear a bit “vacant”, like he’s not all there and might even be a bit unstable in movement. Not quite hesitant, they can also make good progress with little effort.

Both will appear calm and relaxed although they are constantly assessing the risk to their situation, their contact with others, and the location for exit and choke points.

A learned person liked them to ducks. Its a good analogy.
Calm on the surface but paddling furiously under the water.

Don’t forget couples can be exponents of the gray man persona.
If there are a pair but split up, individually they may appear apart but their positioning and focus may be on each other in a protective “watching the other guys back” role.

At work the gray man will arrive comfortably on time, do their days work methodically and without contention. If people have sick days off, so will they. If people occasionally work over time, so will they.

At play they’ll probably do singular activities.
If they have to share facilities i.e. swimming baths or ranges, they’ll be a creature of habit. Same procedures, same times, yet not quite.
They’ll always be tucked away from the crowd.
Not noticeably separate, just on the sidelines.
Mostly paying cash “as they go” in preference to setting up accounts.

What car they drive will be nondescript.
No huge 4×4 or truck unless that is the norm.
The vehicle won’t look new or old BUT it will be well maintained.
If the police stop this vehicle, everything will work, the paperwork will be present and correct, the contents on a cursory search benign.
The driver will be highly respectful of authority and VERY law abiding.
He’ll probably wave to the police.
You may recognize the vehicle eventually but it’ll be driven without contention.
Once again it will be unremarkable, no bumper stickers or noticeable features.

In transit they’ll be dressed comfortably but “dull”.
No tight tops, loose fitting shirts, a generic top layer i.e. if everyone wears anoraks, so will they.

They won’t be wearing an obvious “vest” or tactical webbing though.
If they are carrying, it won’t be obvious with either a small of the back, fanny, or ankle holster. See (Additions to Urban lugging thoughts) for thoughts on vests.

If the local religion or culture calls for head gear, the gray man will conform.
However, be cautious of using a shemagh.
Patterns and colors may identify you as being a member or follower of a religion, race, or gang member. Get it wrong and you make yourself a person of interest.

Footwear won’t be tactical, no assault boots, probably clean “lived in” work boots.

People acknowledge dirt yet they notice a dirty or VERY clean person.
Having said that, you’ll be neat and average.
No discernible perfumes or fragrances. If you want to deodorize, wipe down with alcohol as it kills the bacteria that makes the smells and evaporates off without odor.

As for what you carry?
On foot in transit was covered in Urban Load Lugging
Take careful note of my choice of ‘pack’ and how I learned that from another living on the street. Also note the use of a vest under your not too baggy clothing.

So how do you blend in?
Match the surroundings and the people within that area.
Always keep to neutral ‘earth’ colors and stay in the shadows.
Hug what cover is available to you, move slowly or at least the speed everyone else is moving. If everyone is moving at a different direction to where you want to go, DRIFT in that direction but don’t suddenly change your route.

What other factors could catch you out?
You in your bearing, size, and how you are transiting and interacting (or not) with others. When you do interact, don’t hold eye contact.
Scanning is acceptable, looking into another person’s eyes is not wise.

Is that it? Over the years, the one constant thing I’ve learned is avoid tactical in manner and dress. That and the gray man technique constantly changes because of the scenario and location you find yourself in.

While people can write books about it, by the time it’s printed fashion or trends may have changed and people watching remains as the best way to learn what is acceptable, where, and when.

If I was describe the whole Gray man bit in a couple of words.
It would be for you to BLEND IN, and somehow tactical never does.