Steve Tarani – Anatomy of Edged Weapons Defense Course

by Gunguy

A couple of months ago I took Steve Tarani’s Anatomy of Edged Weapons Defense Course at the Sig Sauer Academy in Epping, NH.  I used to carry a knife in the military and occasionally I carry one when I’m hiking outdoors. Even though I don’t carry a knife on a regular basis I’m still a firm believer of getting training in everything that you would use in a self defense situation. I took the class mostly for blocking and disarming techniques and I left the class with a great deal of knowledge regarding knife fighting in general. My trip up to Epping, New Hampshire was pleasant since it’s a beautiful part of the country.

When I got to the Sig Sauer Academy I was greeted by the staff and directed to the class room. The class compromised of 16 people including myself. The class participants were varied and ran the gamut from a criminal prosecutor to a retired cop to a truck driver and several doctors. We started the weekends worth of training going over different states of mind, knife shapes and tips, graphic pictures of knife wounds and several stories of Steve Tarani’s training over seas. Steve was very personable and happily answered any questions that we all had. After the class room training we went to a large indoor space and warmed up before drills.

The first day was spent practicing with fixed blades and folders. Steve had the Sharkee Dagger training knives for us on the first day and also an aluminum karambit trainer for the second day. The second day we trained with the karambit and we practiced escape techniques from single and multiple attackers.

Overall I had a great time and the training went by too quickly as it usually does when you are enjoying yourself. After only one day of training with the karambit I can tell you that I was apprehensive about carrying one on my person. The karambit is a vicious knife and I didn’t want to cut myself while practicing with it so I purchased one of the aluminum trainers Steve had for sale. Steve also had his specially designed karambit for sale at cost which is distributed by 5.11. Here is the equipment list, a summary of the things we went over during the two days of instruction and some pictures of the equipment.

Equipment List
  1. Rigid professional training knife (non-flexible, not a toy) such as the “Sharkee Training Knife
  2. Personal folding or fixed blade carry knife
  3. Groin protection
  4. Eye protection
  5. Footwear suitable for rapid movement and turning
  6. Casual, comfortable civilian clothing suitable for training
Day One
  1. Orientation and Safety
  2. History of the Karambit and its modern application
  3. Carry and Deployment of the Karambit
  4. Grip and manipulation of the Karambit
  5. Effective use of the cutting edge and the point
  6. Safety and operation in daily (utilitarian) usage
  7. Basic Training in personal safety for close quarters altercations
Day Two
  1. Full review of Day One Materials
  2. Advanced personal safety training drills
  3. Disarming and take downs
  4. Real life threat scenarios and their solutions
  5. Defensive Tactics Problem solving
  6. Certificates of Completion
Spyderco Endura Training Knife Spyderco_Endura_Folder

Steve Tarani Karambit Training Knife Karambit_Training_Knife3

Steve Tarani Karambit Steve_Tarani_Karambit_511

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SHTF – What to do? (A Gunguy Rant Translated)

by Woodsbum

After hearing yet another rant by Gunguy about how inflexible and single minded most SHTF posts/videos/sites are, I decided to translate and turn his opinions into a post. Gunguy loves to do research and analyze people’s disaster plans as a way to make his all the better. We are constantly talking about and evaluating throughout the day as a way to escape the normal drudgery of our mind numbing work tasks. As you can guess, we get on various subjects and spend several hours debating the validity of whatever topic we chose for the day. One common theme I find in our discussions is whether “so-and-so’s” disaster plan is a better one that “what’s-his-name’s.” This post will cover one of the best points Gunguy has ever made about people’s disaster plans.

“People’s disaster plans are too rigid. Their plans need to be more flexible. They need to be more adaptable.” – Gunguy

One prime example of this was a post made on The OP of the post was talking about his bug out plan. He felt that his best option was to grab his AR and bag to get away from any natural disaster he might encounter. After answering some questions posted by other members of the forum it was discovered that the OP actually lived on an island. His bug out plan was really not valid because he had no place to really bug out to.

A different example is one of Gunguy’s friends planned on bugging in if something happened. This friend had 2.5 gallons of water put back, planned on eating his goldfish if need be and had a complete tactical outfit to wear if he had to go walking around the streets looking for supplies.

Both of these disaster plans really get Gunguy started. He can go on for quite a while about how single minded these people seem to be in their planning.

Now, I grew up fairly rural overall. I can hunt, fish, do some gardening, and live off the land fairly well. I would be one of those people that actually could grab their preps and live in the woods for an extended period of time while supplementing food stores with hunting/gathered items. I would be more apt to grab my gear and run into the hills so that I don’t have as much to worry about when it came to looting in a city setting. That is where my comfort zone truly is. Gunguy’s is the exact, polar opposite. He grew up in a HUGE city, hates sleeping in the dirt, and has never hunted game. When we discuss disaster plans and SHTF scenarios, I have found that our backgrounds and comfort zones have really increased the amount of holes we find in various disaster plans we find online. Now Gunguy get’s a “country boy’s” take on the bug out scenarios that are based around heading into the hills to live. This tends to increase Gunguy’s blood pressure as his ranting about their short sightedness in their planning.

Let’s discuss the way that people push certain gear and products. I am looking at a website right now that talks about getting propane heaters that can last for around 4 hours per disposable propane bottle. He has 12 bottles put back from what I see pictures. This will give the person bugging in about 2 days of heat in a disaster scenario. We have areas in my state that lose power for that long every winter. His 2 days of heat is no where close to long enough to keep him warm in a disaster situation. Unfortunately, his site gets quite a few hits and thus many people will think that one case of propane bottles is more than enough to outlast a SHTF scenario. There are no secret formulas on how to survive if something bad happens. Common sense, your skills, your preps, and your ability to use all those tools will be what saves you. Test out whatever gear you get and make sure you are more focused on the skills needed to use the gear than the gear itself. That expertise cannot be taken from you at gun point where your backpack or food stores can be taken.

Let’s also discuss the ignorance of people with regard to living in the woods. I have yet to see ANY website that really discusses the over dependence upon matches and lighters. Why would I carry something that is inevitably going to get wet (thus useless) or won’t work if it gets too cold? The much smarter and better choice is to use a firesteel/ferro rod or flint and steel. You can get one of the H60 firesteels for around $25 that will work when wet, can light fuzz sticks with a single strike, and doesn’t have to be in a certain temperature range to be effective. Even though this is common sense to us “country boys” people are misguiding their readers by making them think that matches in a waterproof container will be all that they will ever need. Where I live you can’t carry enough matches to build a fire every night of our winter weather. You are lucky if you can get them to last 1 week of camping let alone a SHTF scenario.

Gunguy’s main argument centers around the idea that all people need to test out, plan for glitches, and be prepared to change or move your location/plan/preps as the situation dictates. Ironically, watching a few episodes of Doomsday Preppers will teach you this. Just listen to the “Practical Preppers” recommendations. Most of them include a backup plan in their list. It seems that each one of the guests on the show really don’t take heed of the advice, however, because they all seem to only dive more deeply into their current plan or mindset.

The more I look at the examples that Gunguy points out to me and the more into the whole “prepping” thing I get into, the more sense he tends to make. If I plan on grabbing my gear and running away, I should also harden my home in the event that I have to bug in. Under the same pretense, he does have his bug out bags in the event that he has to get out of his home. He, however, tailors it more to his needs and expertise. His bug out bag is affectionately referred to as his “Spend 3 days in a hotel somewhere else” bag.

Whatever your plans are or where your expertise lie, I merely suggest (and I would think Gunguy would concur) that you meld the two. Don’t plan on taking off to the hills if you can’t build a fire or impromptu cabin from fallen logs. At the same time, don’t plan on bugging in if you are new to a city and don’t know how to spot bad high crime areas without a Google search. Keep yourself within your areas of expertise, but DON’T depend solely on your comfort zones. Learn about the areas you don’t understand or have no experience. Build a plan based around both types of prepping. Someday you might find yourself stuck in a situation where you do have to either drain water from a boiler or start a fire with sticks and stuff……..

Stay safe!
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HEDOG Armour Dillo – Cam Protector

by Woodsbum

A friend of mine got me one of these things for my bow a few months ago. I was supposed to take a few pictures of it in use and send those pictures back to the company. Unfortunately, it was outside of bow season and we had already done our April class. This left me without any real opportunity to take pictures other than during one of my many “plinking” sessions…..  Until this last weekend.

Now, I only got 2 pictures of this bad boy during our class. The reality is that I love this thing so much after only truly “using it” once that I spent more time bragging than snapping pictures. Holy sheep shears, Batman. This guy is awesome. I will start off by giving you the link and an initial picture.

HEDOG Archery is the website. Here is a quick picture of the cam protector on my bow:
HEDOG Archery Cam Protector

HEDOG Archery Cam Protector

What this thing does is not only protect the cam on your bow, but gives you the ability to use your bow as a cane/walking stick when needed. It also keeps dirt and grime out of your cam when you raise or lower your bow from a tree stand.

I will admit that at first, I thought that this thing was a gimmick and was WAY overpriced. If I had not received one as a gift, I truly would have never paid for one. Many people that I show this to feel the same way, until I start to use my bow as a walking stick and for stability while climbing over/around things. Then they see how truly remarkable this product is. After having gotten to use one (and mind you that this was just during a WA Bowhunting Class) I will not have a hunting bow without one and am now hooked.

Take a look at the video:

As you can see, this is VERY rugged and can take a beating.

My final testimonial regarding this product is in regards to its use while we were brushing through blackberry thickets looking for stray arrows. I used my bow quite extensively to push away blackberry vines and then would lean on my bow like it was a walking stick. The HEDOG protected my cam superbly and allowed me to literally push the vines to the ground without worry. It made my life much easier, although I got a few little scuffs on my lower limbs.

I really love this thing and must say that it is worth the $70 or whatever it costs. It’s highly recommended and I do not think I will have another hunting bow without one of these HEDOG cam protectors.

my bow and HEDOG

My bow and HEDOG

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Bow Drill Kit – Primitive Fire

by Woodsbum

Ok… I have a confession to make that many of you already figured out. I am kinda lazy about certain things. Well, many things. To come to my own defense, however, I do try and work smarter and not harder. This being the case, I decided that I was too lazy to actually pull up long term memory or use trial and error to find the materials to build a bow drill set. In the past I would get a wild hair up my hind quarters and decide to go get some cedar and poplar to play around with just to show off. Since it has been a while I somehow fogot the “fingernail test” (knowing the right hard/soft wood combo) that I used to use to find the perfect drill/hearth combo. This made me decide to go purchase an actual bow drill set online so I had a working set to reestablish a working “fingernail test” for future field expedient bow drill sets.

WELL, it came in the mail today so I had to test it out……..

Here is the picture of the kit:

Primitive Fire Bow Drill Kit

Primitive Fire Bow Drill Kit

The kit from Primitive Fire comes with:

  • 1 Hardwood bow
  • 2 Cottonwood hearth/fire boards
  • 3 Cottonwood spindles/drills
  • 1 Ceramic palm rock
  • 1 Quart size bag of shredded jute twine
  • 12′ Jute
  • 1 Leather coal catcher
  • Instructions

Of course I had to play around a bit so I ran downstairs to the parking garage and got my implements of destruction ready.
Ready to play

Ready to play

Because I did remember the techniques and tricks showed to me as a kid, I did as I was originally taught. I drilled until I got some black powder produced and then dropped that back on top of the hearth.

A little powder produced

A little powder produced

Once that is put back onto the hearth and you drill some more, it doesn’t take long to get smoke/embers. This was about 10 seconds of drilling to get this result. I am not kidding about the 10 seconds, either.
Smoke from a 10 second drilling session

Smoke from a 10 second drilling session

As you can see, the embers can be shaken onto the leather piece for easier moving over to the jute bundle/tinder you want to ignite. This also keeps you from burning your hands as much. In the picture below there are two big chunks of burning dust. They are in the center of the picture and the large chunk on the right side of the picture, towards the back of the pile. I drilled much longer than I needed to and got a lot more embers than needed. This was intentional so that I could get a good picture.


Here is me poking the pile with my finger in an attempt to get you a good picture. For the record, I did burn the tip of my finger to get this picture.
Two embers

Two embers

Here are my final thoughts on this:
  • The “palm rock” is awesome and I would have purchased this regardless
  • The kit works very well and is easy to use
  • As a kit to learn with, it is quite good
  • If you can remember the hardness/softness of the wood you need to make a bow drill set work, you don’t need the whole kit….. Maybe just the “palm rock.”
  • Extra, stripped jute is always a good thing….  Especially if you didn’t have to strip it.

I hope this helps you guys and you learned something. I have yet to pull out their instructions and look at them, but the whole idea is pretty straight forward. If you get one, I really doubt that you will be unhappy. Again, the “palm rock” really is nice……
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Emergency Roadside Car Kit

by Gunguy

A couple of months ago my car battery died. I was in the city and it was no big deal to get a jump with the cables I had and drive to the auto store and buy a new battery. At the time I didn’t have the portable jump starter. If the same thing happened while I was out in the woods or during a disaster I would be out of luck, especially if I was out of cell phone range. With potential problems like that on my mind I wanted to share the contents of my emergency roadside kit.

This kit doesn’t include any first aid or other preps. Just stuff that I would need to get the car moving again. Those other preps are included but not in the kit below. I have the contents in an old duffel bag and that allows me to take it with me if I’m going to use another car. If’ y’all have any suggestions let me know.

Flat Tire Repair
Heavy Duty Tubeless Tire Repair Kit


Heavy Duty Portable Compressor

Dead Battery
Heavy Duty Booster Cables

Portable Power Bank and Car Jump Starter


Stuck in a Ditch

Tow Strap with Forged Hooks and Clips x 2


4-Ton Dual Gear Power Puller

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