Preparedness Fitness

Preparedness Fitness

Fitness is one of those things that may seem out of reach for many, but preparedness fitness is achievable for everyone. There are many ways to achieve “preparedness” fitness, and we will cover some of those, but ultimately the key is using the tools you have at your disposal. One of my favorite resources is a book called Convict Conditioning. It is a series of body exercise workouts that progressively get tougher. For this type of fitness, simplicity is the key. 

Now, the purpose and goal of preparedness fitness are not to get super strong or extra lean. The number one goal is to be able to sustain. Now, what do I mean by sustain? What I mean is that we can get fit and stay fit, all while performing the tasks that necessary in a preparedness-type scenario. 

Now preparedness scenarios will vary for everyone, which is why this type of fitness focuses on whole-body fitness and building endurance. Preparedness fitness also can be achieved with zero weights or equipment. Unless your daily life includes physical exertion of some type, you should plan on spending at least 30-45 minutes a day exercising.

Now let’s get into some of the exercises and their purposes. These will be in no particular order.


To Speed Recovery, Try Pre-Sleep Pushups and Protein | Runner's World
Tried and true, pushups are great for working the pectoral, triceps, and anterior deltoid muscles. Very versatile as you can change up hand position, raised feet, or even adding movement to your pushups for the extra effort.


The Sit-Up That Works Your Triceps | Prevention
Situps and crunches focus primarily on the abdominal muscles. With some variations and the addition of weight, one can target their lower back muscles also.


Expert Answers: How Low Do I Need to Squat to Get the Full Benefits? -  Experience Life
Squats suck! But squats are an important exercise, especially if you sit for extended periods throughout the day. Squats help to unlock the hip flexor and tighten your glutes. Squats also increase muscle in the thigh and quad while increasing mobility. 

Jumping Jacks

7 Facts You Might Not Know about Jumping Jacks • Cathe Friedrich
If you can’t get out and run, do jumping jacks. They are a great cardio workout that is easy to perform wherever you are. It may not seem like it, but a few minutes of continuous jumping jacks can burn the same amount of calories as a few minutes of a jog. They also help with flexibility.

Mountain Climbers

How To Do The Mountain Climber Exercise | Benefits, Form Guide And  Variations | Coach Exercise Guides
Another excellent calorie burner. Mountain climbers work a lot of the lower and core muscles. If you are looking for a great warm-up routine, combine some jumping jacks with mountain climbers, and you will get your heart rate up and sweat a bit.


Fit Man Doing High Knees Cardio Exercise - High Quality Free Stock Images
Running requires the ability to get outside and may not always be possible. One way to get around is to run in place, also known as 
“high knees,” or if you have a basement, sprint from end to end. Running helps build lung capacity and also burns calories. Adding a weighted vest or carrying extra weight is a great way to enhance your run.


BREAK IT DOWN: The Deadlift - Experience Life
For this post, lifts can be anything from furniture to wood, children, or whatever else you can find to complete the task. The sofa is a great way to perform a deadlift of sorts. Utilize heavy trash bags to perform bicep curls. Use your imagination for this one.


How To Master The Bench Press | Coach Exercise Guides
Presses can be anything from a bench press to a shoulder press and more. Again use your imagination.

Axe Chop

How To Do The Dumbbell Woodchop | Coach
Now, I like this one for two reasons. First, it is an excellent exercise to strengthen arms, core, back, and hand muscles. Second, it can perform a chore that needs completing anyway. Chopping wood! 


DisruptiveStrong | Shop | StrongBagThe Drag and Carry is something that you will see military, fire & rescue, and sometimes EMTs performing. The two basic movements are a semi-squatted drag of a weighted bag and an over-the-shoulder carry of a weighted bag or similar. The Drag simulates removing a wounded person out of harm’s way. The Carry simulates the same and also helps with the ability to carry heavy objects.


9 Ways Stretching Can Improve Your Health & Wellness - Loudou Physical  Therapy
Stretching not only helps to keep from injuring yourself, but it is a great way to burn fat. Dynamic stretching combined with static stretching helps maintain a limber body and keep your muscles from binding. 


The Chin-Up Hypertrophy Guide – Outlift
Another pretty self-explanatory exercise. Palms facing you is a Chin-up, while Palms facing away from you are Pull-ups. Both have their function and should be a part of your routine. 

Being prepared is not something that you should think about once you are in an SHTF or Shit Hit the Fan scenario. Preparedness is something that should be a part of your everyday life. Likewise, preparedness fitness is something that everyone should work into their day to day life. You never know. One day your life may depend on it! 

10 Skills Every Person Should Learn

10 Skills every person should learn in their lifetime. Many of these skills may not seem useful until you need them, but when you need these skills, they will be invaluable to have on hand. These skills will range from easy to expert. Every skill listed below is learnable by anyone. A few may require you to seek a person trained to teach you. 

Skill #1 – Cooking

Now I know this may seem like something everyone knows how to do, but you would be surprised how many people can not prepare a simple meal. FYI, the Microwave is NOT a cooking device. The ability to cook a quality meal using the stove/oven or even a campfire is an essential skill to have in your arsenal. Also, prepared meals tend to be a healthier option.

Skill #2 – Making Fire

I figure since we just touched on cooking, making fire would be a perfect segway. There are many methods in which one can make a fire, and the ability to make one without a fuel source or fire element like a Bic lighter is essential. The first way which I highly recommend learning is using a Ferro rod and tinder. A Ferro rod or Ferrocerium rod is a synthetic alloy that can reach temperatures of 3000C when struck. Combined with a synthetic or natural tinder, you are sure to get a roaring fire started with one of these.

Another method is the good-ole’ flint and tinder. Similar to the Ferro rod, the flint creates a spark that then ignites the tinder. Lastly, bow and tendril are one of those tried and true methods that have and will always be around. This method requires a little bit more work and training but can be found anywhere and used to make a fire. 

14 Ways to Start a Fire (No Matches or Lighter)

Skill #3 – Knots / Knot Tying

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Learn to tie knots; All kinds of knots. Knots are infinitely useful skills, whether tying a boat to a dock or pitching a makeshift shelter. 

Here is a great video showing some useful knots. – 8 Knots You Need to Know

Skill #4 – Building/Repairs

The ability to build or repair things in and around the house is another invaluable skill to have. Many people can’t do something as simple as replacing a sink faucet or toilet fill valve. Both projects require a few tools and are very easy to do. With the plethora of online resources, this is one skill that you shouldn’t skimp on or ignore. You may want to build a shed or a chicken coop; it is much cheaper to build yourself than hire someone to build for you.

Skill #5 – Self-Defense

Now, this is not an ordered list, and if it were self-defense would be much higher on the list, but it isn’t, so here we are. Self-defense is probably one of the most important skills any person can have. Many people don’t like to think about bad things happening, but the ability to protect yourself and your family is one skill that should be at the forefront. Self-defense could be something as simple as spatial and situational awareness, to owning a firearm.

Martial arts, specifically non-sport martial arts, are a great choice if you are looking to improve your hand-to-hand combat. This skill is great if you are someone who doesn’t want to rely on weapons, or your environment does not allow you to carry a weapon. The one commonality to what you choose is practice, practice, practice. 

Skill #6 – Water Purification

Water is the life-blood of humankind. We, the human race, cannot survive without water, which makes the ability to get and purify water such an important skill. There are quite a few ways in which a person can purify water. The simplest is boiling the water. Water must be boiled for one min at a rolling boil to be purified, three minutes at altitudes above 6500ft.

Another method is using liquid bleach. For this method, you will need to let the water sit for at least one hour before consuming it. Also, this will not remove any chemical pollutants from the water. The standard mix is a quarter teaspoon per 1 gallon of water.

The last method(s) are purification tablets and filters. Now, filters you purchase through the store should be a five-layer filter to make sure you are removing the most amount of contaminants, but they also take the longest to filter through. Filters also have a finite number of uses. Water purification tablets are one-time use and take time to purify the water. Time obviously will vary based on the amount of water to be filtered. Tablets are a solid choice because they can travel with you and don’t take up much space or weight.

Skill #7 – Offensive/Defensive Driving

I am sure many people will be like, but I drive every day I already know how to do this. That is where you would be wrong. Offensive and Defensive driving are very particular skill the majority of people will never learn, nor need. I won’t dig too deep into these, but both have their purposes, and there are driving schools that teach both. 

Skill #8 – Hunting/Skinning 

Now this one may be slightly controversial to some. But the ability to harvest your food and process the animal for things such as mittens and moccasins is a skill that seems irrelevant but is invaluable. 

Skill #9 – Gardening

Ok, don’t laugh at this one because gardening is just an encompassing term for all things growing. Specifically, learning how to plant and grow a variety of plants and crops. The ability to be self-sufficient is an important skill to have. This particular skill goes hand in hand with hunting also. The ability to grow your food could mean the difference between life and death if the need should ever arise. 

Skill #10 – Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is simply the ability to be aware of your surroundings and the situations that may arise. Extremely important to helping avoid putting yourself or others in a scenario that may not be conducive to your health.

Jeff Coopers 4 Levels of Situational Awareness

Lastly, I would like to mention an honorable mention skill that may not seem like a skill too many people. That is the ability to unwind or destress. Many people find this to be a difficult task to accomplish. And if you can perfect this, you will find your life to be much happier and more fulfilled. 

The 5 Guns Every Hunter Should Own

I have been trying to write this for over a month now and have been struggling with what to put on this 5 guns list, so here goes.

Most people already have their 5 guns list or have already set up their own collection. This is how we came up with our 5 guns list.

Coverage is the name of the game (stolen from Steve Rinella). The five firearms in this list allow a hunter to pursue everything from wing shooting and small game, to big game. The following calibers chose are common and relatively inexpensive, but also shtf-proof. Have you visited a sporting goods store lately? If so, you have probably noticed that most of them are sold out of the popular calibers.

With all that in mind, it may seem like a good idea to buy a gun that is chambered in a round other than the common types. The only problem with that thinking is, unless you are a reloader, those rounds will become increasingly hard to find in a SHTF scenario or if manufacturers produce the more common rounds to keep up with demand.

12 Gauge Shotgun (Pump/Semi-Auto)

This one may come as no surprise as the Shotgun is synonymous with versatility, dependability, and inexpensive. Particularly the 12 Gauge is one of the most versatile and well rounded shotgun calibers. With the simple swap of a choke, shot, and barrel you can hunt anything from Pheasant, Dove, Grouse, Rabbit, all the way up to White Tail and Bear.

I have seen people put rifled slugs in a 1in group at 100 yards. Which is why this makes such an effective well round firearm to have in your hunting arsenal.

.22 Long Rifle (Semi-Auto)

Now this one may seem a little controversial to many in that there are some very solid bolt action .22 Long Rifles out there. For me though, looking at this as a end all be all 5 gun setup, the semi-auto variant is hard to beat. In particular I am a huge fan of the Ruger 10/22 Take Down rifles. With a super small footprint and easily storable in a backpack, this makes the .22 a perfect companion for all hunts.

Whether you are hunting squirrel, rabbit, or other small game, the .22 long rifle is super quite and usually won’t disturb other large game that might be in the area. Also as I stated this can be a companion rifle that comes with you on all hunts, which means even if you don’t find your intended target, there will always be something to eat.

The rounds for this are super small, lightweight, and pack a decent punch. Also 1000 rounds for $15 bucks isn’t a bad deal. You can stock pile ammo for this and know that you will never be without. Add a suppressor and some sub-sonic ammo and this thing is all the fun you will ever need again, hence why it gets the nickname, Plinker!

.308 Win or 6.5 Creedmoor (Bolt Action/Semi-Auto)

Ok, now I do admit, this one is more of a bonus, but hear me out. Everyone has their own personal preference. 308 is definitely tried and true, and the 6.5 Creedmoor has been gaining a lot of notoriety the last few years. Notably because of the smaller cartridge but higher ballistics coefficients.

Both are great calibers and both can pretty much hunt the same animals. I would tend to say the .308 might pack a little larger punch at greater ranges. In all honesty I haven’t had an opportunity to try a 6.5 Creedmoor out past 300 yards. You can get various grain weights for both calibers; although due to length of cartridge being available, from what I have seen the .308 wins in this category. The downside to the .308 is that it is a super popular cartridge and flys off the shelves.

Personally I have a .308 that I use for hunting and right now I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love the versatility it offers the readily available ammo selection and it is super easy to reload. Ultimately you will need to choose what feels best to you and what your intended uses are for this particular rifle. Side Note: I 100% will be building a 6.5 Creedmoor in the AR platform for LRS Competitions.

.300 Win Mag (Bolt Action)

Now this is a fun cartridge. Not the lightest weight gun in the world; but super fun to shoot and excellent at handling those longer range shots, that might be just out of reach of your .308 or 6.5 creedmoor. Personally, I don’t feel like any 5 guns setup is complete without one of these in the bunch. People who swear by the 7MM in contrast to the .300 Win Mag. If forced to take a shot from say 600 yards on a Mule Deer or Elk or any other big game, I would put my money on the .300 Win Mag.

Higher pressure loads and a bullet that to me has better ballistic coefficients than that of the 7MM or similar cartridge. Makes this a great go to long range shooter or back up hunting rifle. Lets be honest, if you only brought one gun to a hunt and slip or fall and break a scope, you are unfortunately shit out of luck.

.50 Cal Muzzleloader

There really isn’t much to say here about this one as it speaks for itself. Been around forever and they are as basic as it gets. They are legal in all 50 states and effective out to 150 yards. (Or so I have been told, as I personally have never hunting with one).

If anything these are super fun to take to the range.

Parting Shots

While this 5 guns list may or may not fit for you. The simple fact of the matter is no hunter should be without one. You may want to swap out the .300 Win Mag for a 7MM or even a .338 Lapua. You may want to say forget the .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor and go with a .45-70. Being prepared to hunt in any conditions and in any location is the point of the 5 guns list. I urge every hunter to put together your own.

Lastly .30-30 is the god cartridge! 🙂

Happy Hunting!

Jeff Cooper’s 4 Levels of Situational Awareness



“I never saw him coming.”

“He came out of nowhere.”

“I had no idea he was there.”

These are phrases uttered by people who end up in bad situations. They did not see the danger or threat before it became a serious problem.

Situational awareness is a term shared in countless classes and training programs, yet few people discuss in detail what it really is. Situational awareness is much more than some tactical, combat-centric skill set. It is as much of a lifestyle as it is a skill. The applications of this awareness are infinite and reach into all aspects of our daily lives. In the most basic way, situational awareness is about being plugged into your environment and the people in it. There have been sages in the past who have expressed exceptional summaries of the need for this awareness. One of the most respected was Colonel Jeff Cooper. Originally meant for military applications, the principles he shared quickly spread to those concerned about their self-defense.

Ready To Respond

Stay Alert and Aware in Your Everyday Life, jeff cooper, jeff cooper color code, jeff cooper situational awareness

Colonel Cooper designed a color code chart that associates levels of awareness to specific colors. By understanding how we process danger, we can formulate a method to train ourselves to be more aware.

The first color is white. Condition White represents a state of complete unawareness and unpreparedness. In this state you are oblivious to things going on around you and are exceedingly vulnerable to attack.

The next level is yellow. Condition Yellow represents a state of relaxed alert. There is no specific, obvious threat present, but you are aware that danger is always a possibility. You are aware of people around you as well as the environment in general. Condition Yellow is our goal state for everyday life.

Stay Alert and Aware in Your Everyday Life, jeff cooper, jeff cooper color code, jeff cooper situational awareness

Next in line is Condition Orange. This is a heightened state of awareness in which you observe or are aware of a specific threat. In this condition, you are beginning to formulate possible responses to deal with the danger. An example of this is when you realize that a threat is indeed following you or advancing toward you.

The final condition level is red. The level of awareness for Condition Red is essentially the byproduct of having to take action from Condition Orange. This is the stage that is associated with action. Things have escalated to the point where you are either engaging a threat or are in retreat. It is physically and mentally exhausting to be in Condition Red, as it demands that you be 100-percent dedicated to the danger at hand.

Everyday Defense

Our goal is to maintain a Condition Yellow in our daily lives. This is the base level of awareness and the springboard for any further escalations in conditions. Staying at Condition Yellow in everyday life allows us to be aware of our surroundings and better protect ourselves from threats. This applies to driving in rush-hour traffic as much as it does personal protection situations. The ability to stay in Condition Yellow takes conscious effort in the beginning, but it will shortly become second nature. The methods used to help with this can be turned into life games. What color was the car you parked next to? How many people were sitting near the park benches? Small exercises like this can enhance your base level awareness skills.

Prepping 101

Prepping 101

A Beginners Guide to Prepping

Prepping 101. If there is one single thing in this life that should be valued over anything else it would be preparedness. This is not just preparedness for times of catastrophic levels but even everyday life. It could be as simple as keeping bottled water on hand in case of a water main break. To the extreme case of a hurricane. Being prepared is not something one should do after the fact. Nor, at the time of an event. It should be done well in advance and done with strategic planning.

Prepping 101 is designed to get you to think about these types of scenarios. What you might personally need to “ride it out” as the saying goes.

The “FIVE” of Prepping 101:

  • Fire
  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter
  • Communication

Now, these may seem super simple to most people. For many, these are items that they have never been without. They have never had to make their fire (without a fuel). They never had to go without food because a grocery store is right around the corner. Water comes out of the tap or they can buy bottled water at any time. And since cell phones are in every pocket communication has never been easier.

The recent development of COVID-19 and previous outbreaks like H1N1 and SARS, this should serve as a warning to all those who believe life will always go on as usual. We have seen complete shutdowns of schools, non-essential businesses, and stay-at-home orders across the country. You might be asking yourself where do I begin? Well, you came to the right place.


Let us start with water as it is essential to life as we know it and is a great starting point. On average an adult needs 1 gallon of water a day. Now this varies from person to person and day. Some days might require more water some less. The less active you are the less water you will need, the same goes for temperature, the hotter the more water your body will require.

Water is an inexpensive item to start stockpiling. An average-case of 32 – 16oz bottles of water will run you roughly $4 depending on where you are. Let’s do a little math, shall we! Let’s use a single person for this as the math can then be multiplied; depending on the number of people you have in your party. Our starting point is 1 gallon of water a day.

The Math!

1 – gal = 128 fl oz of water
1 – 16oz x 32 = 512 fl oz
512 / 128 = 4 days

One person with a 32 case of bottled water has essentially a 4 day supply of water. So if you are looking to stock up for a family of 4, do the math. That is what you will need to sustain your family for a minimum of 4 days.


Now food can come in all shapes and sizes as we are well aware and this wouldn’t be a true 101 if I didn’t mention the fact that one can get their food through hunting, trapping, and fishing. For this 101 we will be discussing the types of food that are good for stockpiling long term and what may be needed to cook said food.

The average adult needs 1200 calories a day to survive and from 2400 to 3200 to thrive. Keep this in mind while prepping.


Freeze-Dried foods will always be one that is on the top of my list. You can get these in a variety of shapes and sizes, but one of the best and easiest to store and cook is going to be a #10 can. Two of my favorite brands are Mountain House & Augason Farms. Both offer a great product and pricing is reasonable for what you get. The #10 can specifically store very well and are stackable. They also allow for “in-out buying”, which is the practice of buying a can and keeping the newest in the back and always taking from the front is the oldest can, but with a 25-year shelf life, you usually don’t need to worry about this.

Energy Bars

Energy Bars are another great choice to keep on hand. They are easy to transport, usually decent calorie count, and have ample sugar to keep you going. These aren’t always the cheapest option, but if you plan and buy as you can these have a decent shelf life and are great temporary meal replacements or added calorie snacks.


Protein is an essential element of your daily caloric intake, especially if you are active and tend to burn calories throughout the day through any sort of physical exertion. These days protein comes in all shapes and sizes. Red meat, powder, beans, and even milk are fortified with protein. That being said not all protein is created equal. To maintain your body and not lose critical muscle in a survival situation 10 – 20g of protein a day is needed. Plant-based protein will burn quicker in the body than a meat-based protein, so keep that in mind. Similarly, protein bars are going to be higher in sugar which will balance the burn of sugar and protein.


Carbohydrates in a survival, situation carbs are your friend. Carbs provide much-needed energy and sugars to help you power through the day. They can come from grains, beans, nuts, but they should be on hand in some fashion or another. Pasta will always be a great choice to stockpile as it lasts a decent amount of time and is fairly easy to prepare, while loaded with carbs.

I could go on forever about the different types of foods. In an SHTF scenario though, these staples will prove invaluable to help see you through it.


Ah, fire! The warmth-giver and the ever mesmerizing temptress. Fire is essential to life as it allows us to cook food, stay warm, and light our way. Although technology has replaced things like oil lamps and torches they are still in use by many preppers. There are 5 types of fire starters that I will always have on hand no matter what.

Side Note:

Now, many are probably thinking isn’t a Zippo a windproof lighter? Yes, but 2 is 1, and 1 is none. There are different types of windproof lighters and Zippo is one. There are very specific types of windproof lighters that I consider to be, actually windproof. If you have ever used a Zippo on the golf course or in a large open field you will know what I mean.

Along with the actual starter, I will usually carry some sort of waterproof tinder or fire starting material in a waterproof case. Here is one of my favorites as they are easy to use and store. Exotac Tinder


Shelter is pretty self-explanatory. A place where you can get out of the elements and stay warm and dry. This could be anything from a lean-to to a tent or house. Depending on a bug-in or bug-out type of scenario you might already have a shelter or not. A quality lightweight tent is always a good thing to have on stand-by. In the case you need to move from your home base to find food or water.


Often overlooked but extremely important, communication devices will be not only used for communicating with the outside world. They are a prepping 101 staple and will also be used as a means of calling for help or helping others. There are 3 types of devices I recommend to first-timers and one will require you to obtain a license to operate.


You may be asking yourself, why a whistle? Well, plain and simply a whistle is a great tool that cuts through everything and if you are hurt, lost, or trying to communicate under the radar with people in a close distance, a whistle is an amazing tool. Be sure to buy either a marine whistle or a survival whistle as these will be sturdy and loud.

Two-way Radio / CB Radio

Now, I put the two-way and CB in the same category because they are both short-range, and operate on channels vs frequencies. Neither requires you to obtain an FCC license and they are a cheap and effective way to communicate at short range. Unlike the whistle, only people with radios and on the same channel will be able to hear you or communicate with you. Make sure to do your research and purchase a quality item and enough to fit your needs.

Ham Radio

This is where things start to get interesting. The world of Amateur radio is an interesting one and unfortunately a dying art. Now, if you are looking to just listen and not talk it is 100% legal to own and operate a ham radio. If the time comes that you ever want to talk by using the PTT, you will need a license from the FCC, which will come with a “call sign”. Ham radios can reach extremely long distances with the right equipment and in an SHTF situation will be an invaluable resource.

In Conclusion

Seeing all the panic buying and irrational behavior that COVID-19 and the media have created, there are probably many of you who are looking into starting to prep. It may be to account for another lockdown scenario, or it could be a larger prep for something more substantial. Whatever the case may be I am glad you took the time to read prepping 101 and start somewhere. Interested in helping keep the blog alive check out our shop.

Stay calm, Stay safe, Stay strong.
Happy Prepping!

15 Most Common Home Security Weak Points

15 Most Common Home Security Weak Points

Foxfire Armory focuses exclusively on performing security assessments for residential/private residences. These are the fifteen most common problems that we find when conducting home security assessments, along with some possible solutions for remedying these problems.

#1 – Inexpensive Lock Hardware Used on Exterior Doors

Builders typically use inexpensive lock hardware when they build a home, sometimes even at homes which cost millions of dollars. Most inexpensive lock hardware made with cheap materials, which can easily be forced open or otherwise compromised by a potential intruder. These inexpensive locks use traditional pin tumbler lock cylinders, which can be “picked” or “bumped” open by a potential intruder.

Solution: Replace existing locksets on all exterior doors with heavy-duty lock hardware from a reputable manufacturer. We recommend the use of ANSI Grade 2 locks at a minimum, with the use of ANSI Grade 1 locks preferred. For the highest security, the use of high-security lock cylinders (such ASSA or Medeco) help reduce the risk of picking, bumping and unauthorized duplication of keys. Many residential handlesets come with only a deadbolt, but for added security, a lock set with both a high-security cylinder and a high-security deadbolt lock is preferred.

#2 – Inadequate Reinforcement of Door Frames

One of the most common and easy ways for an intruder to gain entry to a home is to kick-in the exterior doors. The reason this is so easy is due to inadequate support provided by standard door frames and cheap lockset. Often, the bolt and/or latch enters a wood frame that provides a 1/4 inch or less of support for the door bolt or latch. A swift forceful quick kick to the door near the lock set provides enough force to split the wooden door frame, allowing the door to be easily opened.

Solution: Install heavy-duty strike plates in conjunction with minimum 2 1/2 inch wood screws on all exterior door frames. Use longer strike plates with a greater surface area that permits the use of more mounting screws. Fasten strike plates with longer screws, we recommend minimum 2 1/2 inch, that extend into the wall stud (2×4) next to the door rather than just into the door frame itself. For added security, consider using door and frame reinforcement kits, such as the StrikeMaster II Pro or Door Armor MAX.

#3 – Exposed Hinges on Out-Swinging Doors

Some homes have out-swinging doors, which leaves hinges that are exposed on the outside of the door. To open the door from the outside, an intruder simply needs to remove the hinge pins, allowing the door to pulled out of the door frame.

Solution: Security studs added to all the hinges on out-swinging doors will prevent someone from removing the door even with the pins removed. Commercially-made security studs can be purchased, or studs can be homemade ( For homemade studs, 1/2 inch round metal stock is recommended, but 3/16 inch at a minimum. For best results cut 3x – 2-inch pieces with an angle grinder or hack saw. Drill the proper hole size through the center of each hinge on both sides making sure the holes line up correctly. You can also place these above/below the hinges if you choose, but through the hinge is more secure. Once your holes are drilled and pieces cut you can now install your studs. [Professional installation is recommended] ).

#4 – Poor Locking Hardware on Windows and Sliding Doors

The standard factory-supplied lock hardware on many residential windows and sliding doors is of very poor quality, allowing the window or door to be easily forced open or lifted from its tracks. Casement windows and other non-sliding types usually don’t have the same issues, but can still be broken to gain entry.

Solution: Providing supplementary locking devices on sliding doors and sliding windows helps not only to deter but to slow speed of access. These devices are available in a wide variety of different types and are sold online and at larger home improvement stores, they can also be homemade from wood or metal.

#5 – Unprotected Glass Used In Vulnerable Locations

Exterior glass is used at nearly every residence. Some homes have only a few exterior glass doors and windows, while at other homes glass makes up a significant portion of the exterior wall. While all glass is a potential entry point for a burglar, certain glass can especially vulnerable. This glass includes Glass panes within doors or beside doors. These windows can be broken, allowing the burglar to reach inside to unlock the door. Glass windows located at grade level in concealed locations. These windows can be broken and allow the burglar to enter unobserved. Glass windows located in window wells ( Egress Windows ) that are below grade. These windows allow a burglar to crawl into the window well, break a window, and enter unobserved.

Solution: Installing Window Security Film on windows that are in particularly vulnerable locations is a great option. While an intruder can shatter the glass, the security window film keeps the glass shards together, making entry through the window opening much more difficult. Security Film can also slow entry by requiring more time to break and remove the glass.

#6 – Unlocked Doors and Windows ( Simple I Know )

Surprisingly a number of home, exterior doors and windows are left unlocked, even at times when the homeowner is away. Often, homeowners feel leaving second-floor windows open is safe because of the height that these windows are from the ground. The reality is burglars have no trouble at all gaining access to windows that are located two, three, or even four floors above ground. Some homeowners even make things easy for the burglar by leaving an unsecured ladder somewhere on the property, this includes garages.

Solution: All exterior doors and windows should be kept locked at all times at night, when away from the home, and even when in a basement or backyard. If certain windows must be kept open for ventilation purposes, consider the use of alarm window screens connected to the home’s intrusion alarm system or the use of two magnets. One for the closed position and one for the open position. This way if the window is pushed open the alarm will sound. Likewise, the screen alarms cause the alarm to activate when the screen is cut or removed. Alarm window screens are custom-made for each window and are available from most companies that sell and install alarm systems.

#7 – Spare Door Key Left Hidden Outside

In this day and age, this is just a big mistake. Many people continue to leave a spare key to an exterior door “hidden” somewhere outside the home. Keys are commonly left under a doormat, beneath a flower pot, or hidden in “concealed” location, despite the fact that nearly everyone knows to look for keys in these locations. No matter how clever your hiding place seems to be, burglars have a way of finding it.

Solution: The practice of hiding a spare house key outside or even your in your garage should be stopped at all costs. Spare keys, if needed, should be left with a trusted neighbor, family member, or friend who can bring them to you when you are locked out.

#8 – Shrubbery and Trees Block View of Home From The Street

In many cases, the trees and shrubbery are overgrown and block the view of the house from the street and neighboring homes. This creates a condition where burglars can break into the home unobserved.

Solution: We recommend that recognized Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principals be used when installing and maintaining landscaping at the home. These principals suggest that clear sight lines be maintained between the home and the street to discourage criminal activity. To achieve this, it is recommended that shrubs and other ground cover be trimmed to no higher than three feet off of the ground and that the bottom of tree canopies be pruned so that they are at least six feet off of the ground.

#9 – Home has an Alarm System Installed BUT is Not Used

Sadly there are a high number of cases where an alarm system is installed at the home, but the homeowners have stopped using it. This often happens due to high monthly costs or the fear of false alarms. Even at homes where alarm systems are being used, homeowners often fail to arm the system when they leave for only a short period, such as when running an errand.

Solution: We recommend that the home’s alarm system be armed at all times when the home is unoccupied, even for very short periods of time. The alarm should also be armed to home mode at all times when home if possible. Most burglaries are committed in under ten minutes, and burglars often watch homes and make an entry just after the resident leaves. If the intrusion alarm system is difficult to use or causes false alarms, a qualified alarm company should be hired to upgrade the system and/or make repairs so that the system is easy to use and isn’t prone to false alarms. False alarms are most often triggered by pets and most modern alarm systems have remedied these issues.

#10 – Problems With Older Alarm Systems that Use Telephone Lines

Most older alarm systems use standard telephone lines to communicate with the monitoring station. In many cases where the homeowner has replaced their traditional telephone service with services offered by the cable company, the connection to the alarm system was not transferred as well. Recently cases the homeowners rely exclusively on their cell phone and have discontinued the use of wired telephone entirely, forgetting the alarm system depends on a wired connection.

Solution: Homeowners should understand the method that their alarm system uses to communicate to the alarm monitoring center. If the alarm system still relies on a telephone connection, homeowners should look into upgrading their system to an internet/cable-based system that will also work with no internet connection. For added security cameras should be used at all entry points of the house and tied to your alarms system.

#11 – Garage Door Vulnerability

This is probably one of the most overlooked security flaws all homes have. Residential garage doors are equipped with garage door openers, which have an emergency release mechanism that allowing the door to be opened in the case of power failure. In the majority of cases, the emergency release mechanism can be released from the outside of the garage using a coat hanger or other stiff wire. The coat hanger is inserted at the gap at the top of the door and is used to grab the cord connected to the emergency release. Once this cord is pulled, the door can be freely opened from the outside. This technique is often used by more sophisticated intruders as a method to gain entry to garages.

Solution: The simplest solution is to remove the pull cord and to tie back the emergency release lever using a plastic wire tie, but this is not recommended if you are in an area with frequent outages. There are commercially-made products that can be purchased to provide a shield around the emergency release lever, preventing it from being pulled except inside the garage. Likewise, homemade solutions such as removing just the T Style pull handle and leaving the bare rope also works well.

#12 – Older-Style Radio Controls Used With Garage Door Openers

For many years, simple radio controls were used in conjunction with garage door openers. These radio controls used a limited number of different code combinations, often 256 codes or less. An intruder with a compatible transmitter can manually try various code combinations until they find one that works. There are also homemade devices that can rapidly scan through all code combinations quickly, allowing the door to be opened in a manner of minutes. One way to tell if your radio controls are one of the older types is to look at your garage door transmitter (“clicker”). Transmitters used with the older systems usually had a “DIP” switch that allowed the code combination to be set. Opening the case of the transmitter will allow you to see if a DIP switch is present. If it is, you probably have one of the older systems.

Solution: Older radio controls should be replaced with newer radio controls that use “rolling code” technology. A rolling code system selects a new code from 4.3 billion possible combinations each time the system is used, making it nearly impossible for an intruder to ever match the code. New radio controls can usually be added to existing garage door openers without requiring that the opener itself be replaced.

#13 – Inexpensive Fire Safe to Store Valuables

Many homeowners are using an inexpensive fire safe purchased from big-box retailer to store their valuables. Safes of this type have been used to store hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry or investment grade precious metal. Safes of this type are A – not actually safes at all, but locked storage containers and B – they are specifically designed to withstand fire and water in the home, not a burglar.

Solution: A UL Listed burglary safe should be used to store jewelry and other valuables in the home. We also recommend getting a larger heavy safe that can be bolted to the floor or wall making it almost impossible for the burglar to haul the safe off for future entry.

#14 – No Secondary Line of Defense Within The Home

Most homes have no additional locked doors or barriers within the interior of the home. Once a burglar makes his way through an exterior door or window, he has free access to all areas of the home, including your family.

Solution: “Concentric Circles of Protection”, the premise of this is that security will be greatly improved using multiple layers of security, each of which must be penetrated in order for an intruder to gain access to the high-value assets within a home. For example, an additional layer of security could be created by installing a deadbolt lock on both the master bedroom door and the master bedroom closet. These doors would be kept closed and locked when the resident was away from the home. High-value assets such as jewelry could then be stored in the master bedroom closet. A burglar who was intent on stealing jewelry would have to make his way through three locked doors before achieving his goal. If the home had a safe, and this safe were installed within the master bedroom closet, this would create a fourth layer of security. These extra layers of security would also give a secure place to hide in the event someone forced their way into your home while it was occupied.

#15 – No Asset Inventory of The Home

Most homeowners fail to keep an inventory of the valuable assets in their home. Consequently, when they are burglarized, they find it difficult to provide the police and their insurance company with an accurate list of what was stolen. It is common to file a burglary report and then continue to find additional items missing weeks and even months after a burglary occurs.

Solution: A complete written inventory that lists all major assets (furnishings, antiques, equipment, jewelry, etc.) in the home should be created. This inventory could be used to provide information to law enforcement agencies and insurance companies in the event that assets were stolen or destroyed. The inventory should list assets by type and include make, model number, and serial number of each asset. A picture of each asset should also be taken. Pictures are particularly valuable to enable the identification of items such as jewelry or antiques which may not have a serial number and may be difficult to describe. Copies of the inventory and pictures should be stored in secure locations both on and off the premises. The inventory should be periodically reviewed and updated to add items that have been recently purchased and to delete any items that may have been disposed of. Companies now make software to help keep this list updated and easily maintainable from your computer or smartphone.

If you are interested in having a whole home assessment done Contact Us for a Quote!


IFAK stands for Individual First Aid Kit. There are many different types of first aid kits and they should be designed around your purpose, whether that be hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, or just driving to and from work. Acronyms have become all the rage these days so don’t let the fact that a first aid kit is just that, a first aid kit. First aid kits come in all different shapes and sizes ranging from the MFAK, Mini First Aid Kit up to full EMS Trauma bags. For this post, I will be focusing on various IFAKs.

Now I am not a Combat Medic nor am I in the medical field, so many of the these I will be referencing withing this post I HIGHLY advise getting the proper training before using. I am however someone who understands the importance of being prepared, which includes the necessary training needed to use the items that are contained in your first aid kit.

Now, while every IFAK should be purpose-built, there are a few things that should be in every IFAK no matter what. Those items are as follows.


Bag ( Obviously! )

Tourniquet ( CAT, RATS, or SWAT )

Clotting Aid


Gauze Roll

Surgical Tape

Pen Light / Small Flashlight

Small Sharpie


EMT/Trauma Shears

These are the starter items that are a must in every kit as these can be used for pretty much any scenario you could encounter. Tourniquets are important as they are used to stop bleeding on the extremities. Clotting Aid is used for center mass wounds or wounds that aren’t able to be stopped with a tourniquet. Gloves help prevent contracting or passing infections and disease. Gauze plus tape may be used to create bandages, which are vital in keeping the wounds from becoming infected and also help with bleeding. The Trauma Sheers are there to cut clothing, seat belts, or whatever else you may need to remove to gain access to the affected area.

Some of the more advanced items you can add to your kit, which I highly recommend gaining real training on before using on yourself, or another is as follows.


Nasopharyngeal Airway

ARS Needle for Decompression

SAM Splint

From here is where you can start to customize your kit based on the type of activity you are undertaking. You could build a full kit that has everything I am about to mention, but for general first aid, these are the items I tend to keep in my IFAKs. Some can and should have multiples.

GENERAL ( Contained in all following kits )

Green Chem Light

Duct Tape

Survival Blanket

PES Eye Shield

ETD Responder 6in

CPR Face Mask




Multiple Sized Bandaids

Wound Closure Strips

Anti Burn Cream

Wound Cleanser Bottle




Eye Wash

Elastic Bandage

SAM Splint

Water Proof Wrap

Small Sharp Knife

Self Grip Wrap


Wound Irrigation Shield

Gauze Pads

Square Bandages

Hyfin Vent Chest Seal


Small Needle Nose Pliers


Wound Irrigation Shield

Water Proof Wrap

Eye Wash

Duct Tape

Extra Burn Cream

Zip Lock Bags (Multi-Use Item)

These are just the basics, and sometimes things will get added, updated, or removed from the kit. For me, I am usually not far enough away from civilization to need what I would refer to as an expanded kit. This kit would be a kit that contains enough materials for your entire party, along with items from every kit to account for every potential issue. Extended kits are great for backpacking trips and hunting trips that require you to be in more remote areas.

A few resources if you are interested in purchasing a prebuilt IFAK kit or just looking for quality gear are below.

Highly Recommended!

Bear Independent

Other Resources

Firearm Maintenance and Why it is Important

Firearm Maintenance and Why it is Important

The rough definition, Firearm Maintenance – is a series of periodic, preventive maintenance procedures aiming to ensure the proper function of a firearm, often with the use of a variety of specialized tools and chemical solutions.

Just like brushing your teeth to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, firearm maintenance is there to prevent failures, rusting, and other common issues. Firearm maintenance should become a routine and should be part of a regular schedule. Depending on usage and storage should determine your maintenance routine.

Being that a firearm is an expensive investment, a good foundational cleaning kit is a must. Below are the basics and a great place to start when looking to build your cleaning kit.


Cleaning solvents help remove the carbon buildup from your barrel and other key parts and are best used in conjunction with cotton cleaning patches and swaps. Note that cleaning solvent and gun oils are not the same thing (these will be covered later). You start with solvents and finish with oils. You should only use a minimum amount of cleaning solvent as an excess solvent can negatively impact key firearm parts like the trigger, ejector, and recoil spring. There are many solvents out there, but a few that have stood the test of time are Hoppes & CLP. For most of my cleaning, I tend to use CLP as it works great to both clean and protects parts.


Gun oil is another necessary piece for effective cleaning of your firearm. It helps lubricate your firearm and protect it from the onset of rust and can help reduce friction on key parts. You find all in one oil and solvents and lubrication specific oils. Which one to use is a matter of preference, but the most comprehensive solution is usually a combination of a cleaning solvent and separate gun oil. Go-Juice


A good cleaning rod or bore snake is an essential part of any cleaning kit. A good rod will come as a kit with interchangeable pieces, while a bore snake will be specific to your caliber and barrel length. Rods come in several different materials like aluminum, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and brass. Brass usually represents the best option though it will be heavier. It is ill-advised to use any other material as it may scratch your barrel. A bore snake will usually be a cloth material that is semi-absorbent and flexible that is sized specifically to your caliber. Both are a great option, but rods tend to lend themselves to be a little more versatile.


A good quality bore brush (not to be confused with a bore snake) will help remove residue and keep your barrel as clean as possible. Brushes, caliber specific, to be used in conjunction with your rod, so for the best performance, use only approved caliber brushes in your firearm barrel. You can also find some universal brushes, depending on how customized you want your kit to be. Brushes come in a variety of materials, again brass is the most popular material.


Another essential part of the cleaning process involves a patch holder. Patch holders are configured to fit a variety of barrels, but make sure the patch holder you select is approved for your chosen firearm caliber. Patch holders are usually made of brass, and they will attach to your cleaning rod just like a bore brush. An alternative to a patch holder is a cleaning jag that acts more like a pushing device for the cleaning patch. Jags are slightly less wide than the caliber barrel you’re cleaning, and you’ll need to get one specifically designed for each barrel you plan to clean.


Of all the items in your kit, make sure you stock up on patches. They are great for running solvent through your barrel, wiping down slide parts, and overall are a utility item to be used as you see fit, but since they are absorbent and also gather carbon, you can only use them once before they need discarding.


A silicone cloth is a pre-treated piece of absorbent fabric, which contains a silicone type solution. It is the perfect material for use as a wipe down cloth for the outside of the firearm. When looking to get that little extra oil off and clean the exterior, this is a great final step to your cleaning process. It also helps to avoid rust.



The most seasoned firearm owners always caution owners about cleaning rod damage. For only a few extra dollars, you can add a muzzle guard and protect the muzzle crown from unnecessary damage. Muzzle guards also keep the cleaning rod centered, and they are usually composed of brass materials.


A bench block is used to help remove pins when taking down a firearm. While not a necessity, they are nice to have. They help keep your take-down pins from flying all over the place during disassembly.


If you are cleaning a firearm, then a firearm mat can be a great investment. A quality firearm mat serves several purposes. It provides an ideal cleaning/work surface and are non-slip to keep gun parts in place. They can also be printed with a diagram of your chosen firearm, which can be a guide to where every part fits. Firearm mats are also resistant to cleaning chemicals. They are a good investment for firearm cleaning around the house. They also help protect your work surface.

There are many companies out there that create cleaning kits and mats. Personal preference plays a role in what you choose to use and what brands you ultimately end up using. Below are a few inexpensive options if you are in the market for a starter kit. TekMat

Happy Cleaning!

Hiking the Midwest

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

– J.R.R. Tokien

When most people think about hiking, places like Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, etc don’t really come to mind. Unfortunately, people will lose out to some of the wonders and hidden gems that await you in these locations. Not all hiking needs to happen in or around mountain ranges. Hiking the Midwest can turn out to be wonderful experience.

Here are some of my favorite locations (in no particular order):

They each have a wide range of offerings, from hiking, camping, ATV and Snowmobile use. The trails range from easy to intermediate. Devil’s Lake in particular allows you to climb rock formations from during the Ice Age. With naturally cut rocks and a lake with canoe and kayaking.

There are many more great locations and I highly recommend getting out there and trying some out yourself. Whether you decide to do a day trip or a weekend excursion, hiking is great exercise, a great way to get out and enjoy nature, and if your a photographer or just love taking photos for Instagram or a Blog, hiking can help you snap some amazing photos to share.

A couple things to remember if you decide to take the plunge and go hiking. Although many of these locations may not be as challenging or as risky as some of the larger mountain style hiking trails out west, you should always be prepared and up for the challenge. Don’t for get to pack the occasion. Here is my list of go-to items to always take on a hike.

What to Pack

The most important thing is to just get out there and have fun. If you find some good locations, midwest or not, feel free to comment on some of your favorite locations.

Happy Hiking!