Quick Takes From The Asheville Gun Show

I helped manage the Grass Roots North Carolina booth at the Asheville Gun Show yesterday. I wasn’t there the whole day but here are some quick takes on it.

The fear of coronavirus did not stop people from attending. The crowds seemed to be every bit as big as from the January show. As I noted then, we hadn’t seen crowds like this since 2014.

I did notice booths selling MREs, Mountain House freeze-dry packs, and other emergency foods. No toilet paper sellers that I noticed.

Insofar as people wearing face masks, I only saw two older gentlemen wearing N95 masks.

There were a lot of MAGA red hats in evidence. Then there was the guy wearing the t-shirt saying, “Only Trump Can Prevent Socialism”. It was similar to this one. The difference was that it replaced “you” with “Trump” and had the bear pointing.

The guy wearing the shirt commented that the gun show was probably the only place he could wear it without being hassled. Given the progressive/liberal/radical proclivities of Asheville, I fear he was correct.

Less Diverse Than The NRA Annual Meeting

The Complementary Spouse and I spent the weekend helping her brother and sister-in-law out at the Mother Earth News Fair. They had a booth as she is a consultant for Usborne children’s books.

Larry and I primarily helped with the set-up and take-down while the Complementary Spouse and Jan did all the selling of books. The Fair attracts a number of families who bring their children with them as well as a significant number of grandparents looking for educational books for their grandkids.

As I noted a couple of years ago, these events are not as granola as you might expect. For every one person wearing dreadlocks you saw probably 10-20 folks with gray hair. These events attract a lot of homesteaders, preppers, farmers, and everyday folks interested in self-reliance.

Larry and I attended workshops on sausage making, whole animal butchery, “wildcrafted” cocktails, and reusing wood pallets. I also attended a workshop on charcuterie while he went to the one on bastes, rubs, and marinades for BBQ. If we had the room, I might have attended others dealing making your own wood-fired pizza oven or on keeping goats.

I did come home with an autographed copy of The Wildcrafted Cocktail and a nice bushcrafter knife from L.T. Wright Knives.

One of the criticisms of the NRA – and it is fairly valid – is that they don’t attract enough minorities and women. That said, the recent NRA Annual Meeting in Atlanta featured a much more heterogeneous mix of people than this Mother Earth News Fair. I don’t know whether it was the location, the subject matter, or the decidedly rural flavor of the fair but the attendees were almost uniformly white.

So the next time someone says the NRA is only for old white guys, I’ll respond, “Have you been to the Mother Earth News Fair?” The sad part is that both events had things of interest to all people, of all colors, and in all walks of life.

Ted Kopel Writes A Book And Now The Media Notices A Problem

The lead story on CBS Sunday Morning was on the vulnerability of the power grid. The story revolved around a new book by former ABC News journalist Ted Kopel called Lights Out. He asserts that the power grid is very vulnerable to hackers due to its connection to the Internet. Kopel holds that both Russian and Chinese hackers, presumably affiliated with those governments, are already in the grid and could take it down at any time.

Kopel’s book also discusses prepping and food storage. He notes that the Mormons as a group lead the nation in preparedness. This portion got a mixed review in the Salt Lake Tribune.

You can see the CBS Sunday Morning story below:

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The prepper community has discussed this for years. Indeed, Prof. William Forstchen’s One Second After reached number 11 on the New York Times bestseller list. Forstchen’s novel described the impact of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event on Black Mountain, North Carolina. He has now followed this up with One Year After which continues the story.

Long before Ted Kopel wrote his Lights Out, prepper author David Crawford wrote his own Lights Out regarding the impact of an EMP event on a small Texas neighborhood outside of San Antonio. It, like Forstchen’s One Second After, is an excellent book.

Gun blogger Bob Owens has discussed other vulnerabilities of the grid with regard to domestic and/or international terrorism. He noted that power substations were often located near roads and trails where anyone could access them. A few well placed shots could drain the oil used to cool the transformers causing it to burn out.

While I’m glad that attention is finally being paid to the vulnerabilities of the grid, I think it sucks that the only reason the mainstream media is giving it a second thought is because one of their own wrote a book. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the CBS Sunday Morning story was merely an effort to push Kopel’s book and not an effort to urge both people and government to be better prepared.

Move Over Brownells

Brownells is my go-to place to get firearm parts. They, along with a few others, usually have everything I need. Well, thanks to a post on The Firearm Blog, I may be revising my choice on where to get gun parts.

I’m thinking it just might be Lowes. That’s because they a good selection of staple guns.

Staple guns and firearms? Huh?

I would have said the same until I saw this video by Clint Westwood who used a staple gun as the basis for a 4-shot .410 shotgun.

He calls it the Kaulkinator and has a photo log of the building process here.

You can see the Kaulkinator or K-441 in action in the video below. If you think about it, this could be the Liberator pistol of our generation. I really like what Cody Wilson is doing with Defense Distributed but this is even easier and you don’t need a 3-D printer.

As to the legality of it, so long as the barrels are rifled, then it would be classified as a pistol just like the Taurus Judge. Otherwise, it would be a short-barreled shotgun and fall into the NFA realm. However, if the world goes to hell in a handbasket and we fall into a period of SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, or WOL, then who cares.

Are You A Prepper In The St. Louis Area?

If you are a prepper or suburban homesteader in the St. Louis metro area and are in the market for a new home, I’d like to point out a real estate auction that will be taking place on Thursday, February 20th in O’Fallon, Illinois. The auction is part of a mega auction handled by Adam’s Auctions of Belleville, Illinois. The auction flyer can be found here. There is an open house this coming Sunday, February 16th from 12 to 2pm. The house is located at 970 Old Vincennes Trail in O’Fallon.

The house and land belong to the Complementary Spouse’s mother who now resides in senior-living apartment. At age 84, it was just too much for her to keep up with. The property consists of a 3 bedroom, 3 full bath brick ranch with a full, finished walk-out basement. It has fireplaces with inserts on both levels. The house is listed as being 4,832 square feet of heated living space. More details on the house are available here.

A virtual tour of the house is available here.

It is situated on 5 acres of partially wooded land on the outskirts of O’Fallon, Illinois. It also has a heated two story outbuilding that has a shop and a two car garage. There is also an old barn at the back of the property which could be torn down or refurbished. At the very least, you could sell the barn wood for decorative uses like picture frames.

Front view of house – picture taken this past Christmas.

The house is surrounded by many farms yet is just around the corner from O’Fallon police department and about a mile from the fire department. A very modern YMCA is in walking distance from the back of the property. It is also about 3.5 miles to the front gate at Scott Air Force Base. Scott is the home to the US Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, and the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

A small stream runs through the property and the property still has a functioning well though it is on city water. In other words, from a prepping standpoint, you have an alternate source of water. The house is heated with propane and there is a large tank. However, you do have the option of
connecting to natural gas as a gas line was run on the property after it
was built.

When the Complementary Spouse’s parents bought this property in 1999, it was supposed to be their dream retirement home. Her mom had a sewing room and lots of space for storage. Her father had his workshop out back, space for a large garden, a private office, and a locked gun room. The house could hold all their three children and all their eight grandchildren comfortably at the holidays. Cancer interrupted those dreams as it is wont to do.

I have spent many a Christmas and summer vacation in this house. I love this house. If I could teleport the house and property to North Carolina, I’d do it in a heart beat. While not perfect, it has all the raw material needed for a suburban homestead – land, trees, water, and space.

If you are interested and have questions, please feel free to pop me an email.

Even More Proof That Prepping Is Going Mainstream

Despite the people who make you roll your eyes on Doomsday Preppers, I think it is becoming evident that more people and more companies are taking preparedness and prepping seriously.

A case in point is this release I received in my email this morning from Brownells announcing that they were expanding their product line to include emergency and survival gear.

Brownells, a trusted and widely-recognized name in the firearms industry for 75 years, has expanded its product offerings to include Emergency & Survival Gear. The more than 1,000 lifesaving and sustaining products range from those that can help people deal with the smallest of life’s unexpected events, like treating minor injuries, to surviving larger scale disasters including tornadoes, floods, wildfires and blackouts.

A few of the items in this new category include: freeze-dried food from Mountain House, Water Brick water storage supplies, NDUR water filtration equipment, Coleman sleeping bags and tents, Adventure medical kits, Midland weather radios, Streamlight lanterns and lights, Echo-Sigma survival bags, Gerber knives, Goal Zero solar power kits and much more.

“Customers have turned to Brownells for their personal protection needs for 75 years,” said Matt Buckingham, Brownells President/COO. “This new category builds on the protection theme, but provides customers and their families with all sorts of solutions for dealing with unforeseen situations. We hope these products provide nothing more than peace of mind, but if they’re ever needed, you’ll be glad you have them.”

Through February 4, 2014, select brands will be discounted by 10%, so customers are encouraged to check out the Emergency & Survival Gear tab on Brownells’ website.

As is true with every product sold by Brownells, all Emergency & Survival Gear items come with Brownells’ industry-exclusive 100% FOREVER satisfaction guarantee.

Founded in 1939, Brownells is an Iowa-based, family-owned company that supplies more than 75,000 firearms parts, accessories, reloading components, gunsmithing tools, survival gear and ammunition to armorers, gunsmiths, the military, and shooters worldwide. In addition to their industry-leading 100% lifetime guarantee – forever – on EVERY product sold, their staff of veteran Gun Techs is available to assist customers with technical help to fix any gun-related problem – free of charge. There are no minimum order sizes or return/exchange fees. To place an order, or for more information, call 800-741-0015 or visit www.brownells.com.

An Introduction To A Dying Art

When you think of the exploration of the United States and Canada in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, you have to think about trappers in their quest for beaver and other fur bearing animals. Names like Kit Carson and Jeremiah Johnson come to mind along with companies like the Hudson’s Bay Company. Likewise when you think of the adventure literature of an earlier time such as the works of James Fenimore Cooper or Jack London, the heroic figures they portrayed were often trappers. If you go back to earlier issues of Outdoor Life or Field & Stream, you will see short stories about trappers in Alaska or the Yukon and their battles against both the elements and grizzly bears.

While there are still trappers and you can still get a trapping license from every state (I think), I’d wager that there are few, if any, of us who have actually trapped or know anything more about it than what we’ve read. That is why this post in today’s Outdoor Wire about a trapper education class being held in Indiana caught my eye.

Salamonie Lake will host a free trapper education course, Oct. 5 and 6, at the Salamonie Interpretive Center.

The program is open to all ages, though youths are especially encouraged to attend. Registration is open now, and those interested are encouraged to register well in advance. The registration deadline is Sept. 30.

The program will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, with education on trapping issues, ethics and regulations. The program is sponsored by Salamonie Lake, the Indiana State Trappers Association and Indiana Conservation Officers.

Saturday afternoon, participants will set traps under supervision. Traps will be checked Sunday morning. Furbearers caught will be used in skinning and fleshing demonstrations by ISTA instructors.

Free camping is available for all course attendees on Friday and Saturday nights at the Lost Bridge West Youth Campground, within walking distance of the interpretive center.

Lunch will be provided both days. The program will end by 4:30 pm each day. Participants do not need a trapping license. Property entrance fees will be waived for participants.

To register or to get more information, call Upper Wabash Interpretive Services at (260) 468-2127.

Trappers must attend both days to receive the DNR Trapper Education Certification.

Salamonie Lake (stateparks.IN.gov/2952.htm) is at 9214 West-Lost Bridge West, Andrews, 46702.

If I lived closer to Indiana, I might just attend this course. I doubt I’d ever trap on a regular basis but would want to know some of the skills. It sure wouldn’t hurt to have these skills from a prepping standpoint in a TEOTWAWKI situation.