SureFire is known as one of the most highly regarded brands in the tactical flashlight world. They are expensive but quality is outstanding. As good as their products are, many of Surefire products aren’t as exciting for flashlights fanatics, also known as flashaholics. There are several brands out there that are more affordable, offer good value and update their products more frequently to satisfy the demands of their lumen thirsty clients. Surefire recently presented two new EDC lights that depart from their more classic line. Both are keychain lights, which is a category I’m always interested in. I firmly believe that what you have in your keychain is likely to be there when needed most, so I pay particular attention to that.
TheSurefire Titan Plus is the one that really caught my attention. I droll all over a powerful AAA keychain light and this one is currently the brightest at 300 lumens for high (300 lumens / 1 hour), medium (75lumens / 2 hours) and low (15 lumens / 7 hours). Like the Sidekick, it has a proprietary faceted reflector (MaxVision Beam™) which creates a broad, smooth beam.
The second one is a small keychain light called Surefire Sidekick. It has the form factor of a small square polymer remote control, multiple intensity outputs, Low (5 lumens / 45 hours), medium (60 lumens / 4 hours) and high (300 lumens / 1.25 hours). The nice thing about this light, besides its peculiar shape which departs from the traditional tubular form factors, is that that it uses a fixed battery rechargeable through a micro USB port. I favour replaceable batteries but I do like the micro USB recharging feature. Given how common these are I can see how someone would easily integrate this to their routine, recharging his EDC light just like they recharge their phone with no problem. FerFAL
A recent article in CNN (World’s best and worst passports revealed) reminded me of what I know to be one of the most powerful survival tools, maybe THE most powerful one besides your own body and mind: A Second Passport, especially one in a first world nation or EU. But isn’t it food, water, guns, ammo, meds? Yes, they are all very important, essential even, but for a worst case scenario, for when you have to bug out and do so even out of the country due to pandemic, war, tyranny, then a second citizenship is without a doubt your most valuable tool, and that’s just one of the key advantages it has. Many Americans could get EU citizenship through Ireland, Spain, Germany and Italy. If you have a grandparent from one of these countries, in general it costs very little money, just making a few calls and having patience. There’s a reason why an EU passport costs millions of dollars. (I believe Malta still offers the cheapest one just under 2M) What are the advantages? Wealthy people from other nations find it to be a powerful tool for business and financial reasons, having assets and investments in countries that offer favourable conditions. That may not be of as much interest to you but there are other key advantages for the average Joe as well. 1)Healthcare. In Europe you’re entitled to it, for free. And it’s far better than most Americans think. Entitlement sounds bad until you’re dying and you don’t have the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to save your life, or your kids, or your grandkids. A plane ticket to an EU country where you have citizenship means you will get treated. 2)Education. How about studying in Europe for free or very cheap, a quarter or less of what it costs in USA? Again, your kids and grandkids will enjoy those same rights. 3) Refugee. If we can learn anything about the current refugee crisis is that it sucks to be one. With a second citizenship from a serious country you have an embassy, you have a country backing you and a place to go to… as a citizen. War, disasters of great magnitude of an authoritarian regime means you have somewhere to go to. It may seem unlikely, distant, but remember this is a right you can pass on down your family tree. Maybe is not your own, but your kids or your grandkids who you’re saving. If you believe you can get a second citizenship, don’t even think about it just do it. Your kids, great grandkids or a family member further down the bloodline may thank you for it one day. FerFAL
A very good film to keep in mind for those interested in survival and preparedness. If you get the chance, it’s worth watching. The film is very intense and it is rated R, so keep that in mind if you have children. FerFAL
For years I’ve adopted the same setup: My multitool on my right front pocket and a folder on the left front pocket. The folder is kept sharp, mostly intended for emergency use while the blade in my multitool is what gets used for most things for which a pocket knife is needed from opening wrappings, cutting cardboard, cutting food, cord and that long list of etceteras. For years this has worked for me extremely well. As years went by different items in my EDC have been upgraded. Flashlights seem to be the one thing that keeps improving the most and gets updated often. For years I carried a Cold Steel as my folder and still do on occasions, but mostly the folder in my left pocket has been updated to a Zero Tolerance 0630. It’s a rugged tactical folder that self deploys as it comes out of the pocket. That’s a speed advantage I like having. Now, when it comes to the multitool, that has remained the same over time. I have tried others, but as years go by I still find theLeatherman Charge Ttito be the best multitool to have. I have tried others though, so here’s my top 3 list of best multitool:
The Sidekick along with theWingman have been Leatherman’s best-selling multitools. Truth be told it’s the Wingman the one that sells best. The Wingman has large scissors that can be accessed from the outside of the multitool just like the blade. A lot of people favour scissors, especially good solid ones. The Sidekick drops the scissors in favour of having a saw instead which I like better. Most things that can be cut with scissors can be cut with the knife. The saw on the other hand is harder to get by without when needed. Are these top quality multitools? Not so much. They are great budget tools and for a 40USD limit they are the best you can find in the market, but the metal used is pretty thin. With moderate use, you can expect the tool to show signs of wear, more wiggling and play between its parts so don’t expect it to last as long as the more expensive tools offered by Leatherman. It’s a good thing that Leatherman offers such a good warranty because there’s a good chance that after some time of heavy use it may need some service. Leatherman Wave
Here’s were Leatherman shows what it’s capable of. TheLeatherman Waveis a long time classic and often chosen by those that need a full size, hard use multitool. The choice of tools in it is very good. While made of folded metal, the steel used in the Wave is visibly thicker than the one used in the cheaper tools made by Leatherman. Even though it costs twice as much as the Leatherman Sidekick and Wingman, this is in my opinion the best bang per buck in multitools given the design, tools included, quality of construction and durability. Here’s a tool that will last you a lifetime and serve you well. Leatherman Charge Tti
Best of the best. I haven’t found a MT that does so many things as well as the Leatherman Charge Tti. The charge is basically an upgraded Wave, which is already excellent. What the Charge improves on is on the steel used in the blade and the titanium handles. S30V is a premium steel, far superior to the 420C used in the Wave. While 420C is ok for a small folding knife, it is mediocre compared to the edge retention of premium steel like S30V. This may seem as a small detail since we all know that the importance of steel used in knives is often exaggerated. Having said that, the smaller the knife the greater the wear and the more important it is to have good steel, especially so in a small pocket knife that will see a lot of use and considerable wear. There’s where I’ll happily pay for good steel. A second trait I greatly appreciate of the Charge is the sculptured titanium handles. Having used both considerably, I can say the Charge is FAR more comfortable to use. For small jobs it’s not that big a deal, but when using pliers, the blade or screwdrivers for extended periods of time (say you’re putting together something from IKEA) the more comfortable handles does make a difference. If you can afford it, this is the one you want for your EDC. It can take a lot of use, even a bit of abuse within a reasonable limit. Mine has served me well for many years of constant, daily use. What about the Signal?
The Leatherman Signalcould have been a great multitool but I find the design to be inferior to what Leatherman is generally capable of. Maybe it’s not Leatherman’s fault, but the consumers. It was the consumers that asked for a multitool… with a whistle… oh, and a firesteel! Gotta have a firesteel! Oh, and I need to sharpen my two inch blade pretty often when I’m out in the woods doing survival stuff. I can imagine the smart people over at Leatherman pulling this one together, very much like Homer Simpson’s brother’s company workers putting together “The Homer”, Homer’s dream car. So yes, that’s the Signal. Problems with the Signal? The blade. It sucks. Both regarding the lack of strong fine tip and that combo edge and the choice of steel. I wont have a 420C steel blade when I already have the far superior S30V in my Charge. Pliers are nice, but having replaceable steel inserts in my pliers won’t make my day. I’d rather have that 154CM steel in the blade thank you very much. The plastic whistle, firesteel and sharpener look gimmicky. Any serious outdoorsman or survivalist will have a better whistle and better fire starter. Oh but its an emergency, your Signal is ALL you have. Well, then I also need clothes, boots, first aid kit, a flashlight and a long etc. Since you cant have it all, at least have good things of what you have. And if you’re going to integrate a whistle and firesteel, do it right, meaning a)without compromising the rest of the tools, which are why you carry a MT in the first place b)Give me quality items that are up to the standards of the rest of the tools in the MT. Don’t get me started on the sharpener. Useless waste of space which could have been used to improve the other tools. And by the way, if you can’t sharpen a knife with a smooth stone well enough then the multitool won’t help you anyway. I see why I would like to access the diamond file on my Wave or Charge to sharpen the knife, sure would be nice, but a simple cut on the existing file in the Wave and Charge with little else being changed would make that possible, all while leaving me a much useful tool. Very likely to get lost or disengage unintentionally? Sure, but not more likely than loosing the already useless sharpener in the Signal.
Nice vehicle. Hondas are pretty reliable vehicles. I would offer one thought though: how do you drive a standard transmission if one of your legs or arms is incapacitated ? Twenty years ago, I pulled a rotator cuff tendon on my right arm, forcing me to keep it slung for two weeks for it to heal. If I had to shift a manual transmission, it would have been very difficult. Likewise, a foot / leg injury would not allow me to disengage the clutch, not without some difficulty.
Just food for thought.
That’s actually a valid point.
On one hand manuals are more durable, simple and allow greater control of the car and engine. Having used nothing but manuals my entire life (other than some rentals here and there) I can drive one using one hand or even one foot. Granted, not exactly something I recommend doing.
On the other hand an automatic is easier to use if an arm or leg has been injured. It’s also better regarding fuel efficiency in most cases. The ease of use by drivers that don’t know how to drive manuals and the ease of use when injured are probably the reasons why military vehicles such as Humvee have automatic transmission.
Message: http://www.kdrv.com/news/Ashland_Police_Warn_of_Continued_Kidnap_Scam_.html I believe you called this “express kidnapping” in your book, where somebody calls the mark and claims to have a relative of the mark who they kidnapped, and to send money. Keep in mind that this isn’t New York or Los Angeles, but sparsely populated south Oregon-Medford is the main city, but it only has around 80,000 people. It looks like you’re right yet again. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, history may not repeat itself but it rhymes.
.. That’s very interesting, thanks for the link. Indeed, it happens a lot in Argentina. This is what we call “virtual kidnapping”. Basically “virtual kidnapping” is any kind of scam in which the victim is made to believe that a loved one has been kidnapped but no one has been actually taken. It can be anything from random calls to scams made with knowledge of the supposed kidnap victim being away, maybe on business, or otherwise. In one case I remember from Argentina, the “virtual kidnap” was perpetrated because the virtual kidnapper knew the victim would be away for several hours with his mistress, cell phone off to avoid being located. That gave the virtual kidnapper a good window of time to work with and collect the ransom money from this person’s family. These kind of scams are precisely why it’s so important in a place like Argentina (and I guess now USA) to have your cell phone with you at all times so as to quickly contact family members. “Express kidnap” is different. It involves someone actually being kidnaped. It’s called “express” because it’s usually a very fast action, not involving the intel often found in more elaborate, typical kidnaps. “Express kidnaps” often involve criminals simply driving around looking for targets that seem wealthy. This may be people wearing expensive clothes, location (wealthy neighbourhoods) fancy cars or private school uniforms. At one time several private schools encouraged students to stop wearing the school uniform because pupils were being kidnapped because of them. The amount of ransom money asked is usually far less than a classic kidnap. The idea is to get paid little money but get paid fast, minimising the chance of getting the police involved. FerFAL
I’ve seen you write about criminals attacking cars using foam or other things to force a driver to stop so they could steal the car, did you ever see criminals attack a car’s tires? Also did new tires become hard to acquire or did they just go up in price like everything else did? Sean
. Hi Sean, Thanks for your email. There’s actually a few things worth mentioning. First, yes tires did become pretty expensive, even more so than in USA or Europe, especially if you wanted to get good ones and not some cheapo ones made in China. You have to understand that once a country goes down like Argentina did after the economic collapse, there’s an amazing number of factor that come into play all at the same time and tires are just an example. A bankrupt government means very poorly kept roads. Roads fall apart surprisingly fast if not cared for. There’s potholes all over the place and are at times impossible to avoid. Sometimes they are downright craters that can not only ruin a tire or rim but break an axis as well. Suspensions need to be changed pretty frequently as well because of this. No money means no cleaning and the roads are full of all kinds of litter and debris, the chances of getting a punctured tire are pretty big. An economic collapse means people are desperate for money… including mechanics and tire shops. It was and still is pretty common for shops to “spike” the roads with nails so as to get more work repairing flat tires. At one point the roads were so full of nails you could easily get two or three flat tires a week until you realized which roads had been spiked.
Criminals also use this same method to force you to stop and carjack you or mug you. The most sensible thing to do if you got a flat tire in an isolated part of the road was to keep driving anyway you could until you got to a gas station or more populated area so as to avoid getting attacked. Even then there were no guarantees but yes, it was a tactic commonly used by criminals as well. Maybe the most common one is to simply throw a brick through your windshield to force you to stop. People have been serious injured, even killed because of this.
This is yet another reason why I believe a SUV makes so much sense. A bigger car with bigger tires is more likely to have more rubber and hold on better against nails and such. If possible, I think it’s a great idea to get runflat tires just for this kind of situation. If anything, at least check your spare tire, have an inflator (or better yet a charger compressor combo like the one above) and know how to change a tire. Take care, FerFAL
This guy came back shooting. Crazy! C- Thanks for the link. Notice a couple things, 1)The window of opportunity. The two most vulnerable moments of the day in high crime areas (and the most vulnerable even in safer ones) is when leaving or entering the house. That’s when you’re more likely to be attacked, that’s when you should be extra careful and aware of what’s going on around you. 2)The legality of the shooting. The attacker threatened the victim first with a gun. The home owner didn’t rush in guns blazing. While in some States you can use lethal force in defense of your property, in others you are required to be in legitimate fear of your life. In this case there’s no doubt about the house owner being threatened with a firearm and the justification of the shooting. It could have easily been a very different outcome with the victim in jail instead. Make sure you know your local laws and make sure you know them well, especially when it comes to the legal status of the use of firearms, self-defense and the use of lethal force. I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6. Sure, no argument there. But you know what’s the reality-based survival twist to that saying? If I’m getting judged by 12, I sure as hell want a “not guilty” verdict. Counting on WROL working in your favour is as wise as counting on getting away with doing something illegal, its just a VERY bad idea. FerFAL