Urban Survival – Getting Home

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    • #63647

        I believe this article was written by R. David Manning of TACFIRE. To my knowledge, he is a California Police Officer. So, some of the advice will reflect that.
        Forward: It is very good article and gives solid advice geared towards being prepared to get home on foot at the chaotic onset of a large emergency. Remember, you may have to go to considerable effort just to get home, before you can move on to your other plans for survival and/or evacuation. In addition, long into the event, you may be required to move across heavily populated urban areas on foot. With that in mind……

        Urban Survival

        Guns and Gear

        Part one: Getting home

        The Concept of getting home safely really depends on how far home is.

        You will need a kit that will support the effort.

        You should make your plans based on average weekly travels. From there you can add gear as the distance increases for special trips.

        Think worse case, meaning that you will have to abandon your vehicle, and either commandeer another, or hoof it.

        Remember your actions will be dictated by the situation and your need to get to your loved ones.

        Even if you swap vehicles your gear needs to be packed in such a way as it can be transferred easily.

        If the roads are destroyed by earthquake or washed out you may have no choice but to walk. That means that all your gear needs to be carried!


        Keep a pair of boots and socks in your kit. A broken in pair that will support the effort not hinder it.


        The pack should be small to medium size like the Talon by CamelBack. Other companies make similar packs, Eagle and Blackhawk. The problem with a large pack is it will get filled up and heavy! A smaller pack forces you to consider your gear more carefully. Weight will be a problem on a trek. 25 pounds will start to feel like 250 pounds after a while. Do not forget that you will also have the weight of your rifle and other weapons.

        You will need your hands free for lots of things so a pack is a must! Your weapons (we will go into selection later) must be concealed! The exception to that rule would be if bands of thugs are out and about. Then you again have two choices:

        1. Look and act strong, self confident and prepared to fight or

        2. Evade contact.

        Looking too strong to mess with is problematic. Some people are too stupid to know who not to mess with and may choose to fight anyway.

        Avoiding them altogether is the best choice. Fight only when you have to and do it at the greatest distance from the enemy as possible.

        Movement must be stealthy and steady, choosing paths that allow you to keep moving and still hide you from most onlookers.

        Stop and look around every so often choosing your course and checking your flank.

        *If you do not have the high ground watch up there for folks watching you.

        *Every so often if high ground is not to difficult to reach, take it and survey.

        This is one reason that binoculars are an important part of the kit. You need to be able to see as far ahead as possible. Also carry rangefinders so you can determine how far away things really are.


        Minox BL 10X42 BR Binoculars are midsized good quality binos for about $300


        We like Leica LRF 1200 now discontinued and replaced by the CRF 1200. Lots of companies make good ones. Long range is very important. You need to practice on a known distance range to become familiar with the workings of this tool.

        Satellite phone

        Many of us tend to find ourselves in places that cell phones do not have bars, we thought that a Satellite phone would solve the problem. They work everywhere right? On TV and in the movies they work as well as cell phones. If it was only true! I have never had any luck with the dam thing. The satellite company told me that they are replacing the old satellites with new ones so the coverage will soon get better. In the mean time they tell you to go on line for a printout of when the satellite will be passing over your area!

        If you have an internet connection, you probably have bars on your cell phone. The thing is just a security blanket, you already spent the $800 so at least it can give you a feel good factor.

        On foot

        How far can you walk in an hour, afternoon or a day? You kinda need to know! You will probably be carrying about 25 pounds of guns and support gear. More than that will be too cumbersome and you will become fatigued more rapidly.

        “But how far could a fit, trained person walk in eight hours? If the walker is taking breaks and a meal stop, then 20 miles a day is reasonable for a well-trained walker. If they took no breaks and were going fast, they may be able to cover 30 miles.” http://www.about.com

        First Aid

        Blisters are the curse of walkers. You can prevent blisters and you can treat them properly when they develop to prevent further damage. Here are proven techniques and products to keep your feet intact or to help them heal and quench the pain.

        Be prepared. Before you head out on a long walk, take along a blister kit to be ready to cover up any hot spots or treat any blisters. Here is a good choice for compact kit with just what you need, easy to carry along.Adventure Medical Kits Blister Medic $8-$10 amazon.com

        Wound treatment needs to be considered. I carry a “Trauma Wound Dressing” AKA Israeli Bandage and a tourniquet for sever wounds. Also rubber gloves, purell hand sanitizer, band aids and wet towelletts. Another great idea are Purell Military towels. They are 10×10 wet wipes in zip locked packets of 10. These could be very handy!

        I also carry Advil; Cephalexin 500 mg antibiotic, (Cephalexin is used to treat infections caused by bacteria, including ear infections, skin infections, and urinary tract infections.) If you get any type of injury you do not need an infection, be prepared to start a dose as prescribed by your doctor.
        Sever pain meds may be needed, I have Norco just in case.

        Other first aid is up to you!

        Energy bars and water

        You will need a way to keep your energy up while on the move or during short breaks. Find some energy bar that will not melt or crumble into dust.

        Water is heavy! I always have a few 20-25oz bottles in the car with me. That is about all you can afford to carry anyway! The Hydration systems that are built into the back packs are problematic. 1. They leak. 2. The water will mildew if there is not enough chlorine in it. You cannot store bottled water in your hydration system! So I have removed all of mine from the packs and will just plan on carrying a few water bottles.


        What about navigation at night? Not too much of a problem if the power is still on. Ambient light from and city is pretty good. But if you go off the beaten path you may need light to see where you are going. We like multi- purpose flashlights like the Gladius and an Aviator. The Gladius has 3 LED modes: Strobe; On/off and power up and down. I like the power down for navigation and map reading. The Aviator has 2 modes: Bright and dim. The dim feature is LED. Both flashlights are medium to small handheld systems with the activation button on the tail cap. Both have Glock lanyards.

        Blackhawk makes several light holders: The first is the Gladius Flashlight pouch-Open top and the second is the Flashlight holder w/mod-u-lock attachment. Both will hold similar sized lights. Blade-Tech also makes a bezel down flashlight holder with Tek-Lok or belt loops.


        To quote one of my staff “Flashlights are just expensive tubes to carry dead batteries around” and he is right! You will need a way to carry batteries. Surefire makes a neat spare battery carrier that holds (6) 123 batteries and a bulb. You should have at least one of those in your kit.

        Law enforcement and military

        Depending on how bad things are you are as likely to have to deal with good guys doing their job as bad guys trying to hurt you. In fact, the worse that things get the more government will respond. That is after they get their act together! That will take 24-48 hours. You will only have local Law Enforcement to deal with until then. They will be spread thin and your best bet is to avoid them. This is especially true as you will be armed! Those of us in Law enforcement will have no problems. Just done our raid jackets and have our badges ready. We will be able to pass into places others will be denied. Our visible weapons will be ignored. With this in mind it will behoove you to make the sacrifice and become a contributing member a law enforcement agency in your area. If you already are gainfully employed than become a Reserve officer or deputy. It will mean some time in an Academy and volunteering 20 or so hours per month. Worth it!

        The benefits far out weight the cost. A badge, a radio, guns!! Instant good guy status!


        Here in “Sunny” southern California we rarely need cold weather gear.
        Even on a “cold” 60 degrees, rainy day, a poncho will do fine. Good news because they are light and compact. Cold weather gear is bulky and heavy!

        When I was making frequent trips to Reno my kit was much larger due to the need for cold weather gear in the mountains.

        Clothing selection should accommodate local weather conditions. Here if we have to travel on foot we will need light weight comfortable pants and shirts that will protect us from prolonged exposure to the sun! A hat that can cover your ears and something to protect the back of your neck is a must. Color should be neutral “Grey “as John Farnam describes it. You need to blend in and not stand out! A sturdy belt to support your weapons. A company called The Wilderness http://www.thewilderness.com in Phoenix AZ makes the best belts.

        Long guns

        Steyr Scout Rifle at 6.6lbs and 38” overall length is a good choice for those of you who are not authorized to have an ”Assault rifle” It has an extra mag in the stock for ammo management. Only drawback is it is in 308 caliber.

        Another choice is Steyr Elite which is available in 5.56 and has a 10 round magazine. It weighs a bit more at 9 lbs and has an overall length of 42 inches.

        These are both light weight rifles of high quality that are legal to own almost anywhere in the US.

        The M1A is also California legal. Expensive as above and only .308 but a fine battle rifle.

        Of course nothing beats the Stoner System AR15 for a lightweight battle rifle. Ammo is easily managed and will be plentiful. Choose a short barrel and collapsible stock so it will be concealable and yet effective out to 250 yards.


        We are not going to mess around with any other long rifle systems. All the diehard AK fans must remember that we are a NATO country! Ammo and parts for the AR15 system are plentiful. The AK system cannot be supported here in the USofA!! Period end of story.

        The “I am too cheap to by an AR15 so I am gonna get a “Mini 14” folks need to remember that it was designed as a ranch rifle not a battle rifle. When evil comes to kill you and your loved ones it will not be squirrels attacking!

        Shotguns are also out! They are too heavy and ammo management is difficult. The maximum effective range with slugs and good sights is only 100 yards. That is way too close to be fighting.

        Back to the AR15. We need to have at least two 30 round magazines filled with 28 rounds each of 5.56 NATO rounds. One on your belt and the other in the rifle. One more in your pack would not hurt!

        The 55grain FMJ is the first choice with the 62grain green tip a close second. Nothing else! There is a reason the military designed the 5.56 NATO round the way that they did. Cause it works well in battle conditions in hot weapons!! No .223 soft point, ballistic tip or Match rounds. We are not shooting “Soft skinned game or competing for the smallest group at 500 yards. We are fighting for our lives and the lives of our loved ones and we need ammo that works all the time on EVIL PEOPLE!!

        What I like?

        Colt AR15 with fixed stock and 16 inch barrel. The carry handle has been replaced by a Trijcon ACOG 4×32. It has an EZ Sling. It is loaded to the patrol ready with 18 rounds of Q3131 5.56 FMJ in a Colt 20 round magazine.

        Simple with no other unnecessary B/S bolted on! The rifle is factory original!


        You must have a sling for your rifle. A 3 point or single point sling that allows the rifle to hang in front of you, but also allows your hands to be free when it is not in use. Sling Systems E-Z sling is the best of the 3 point systems although The Wilderness Giles sling is a very close second. Several companies make a single point sling including Black Hawk.


        Handguns need to be semi automatic 9mm or 40 caliber, the first choice being 9mm. Why? Because there are more 9mm rounds available in the USofA than any other. Until the Military chooses another round, that is what we have lots of. In LA County alone between the LASO and The LAPD there are at least 20,000 9mm pistols!! NYPD has over 30,000 9mm Glocks.

        Get your egos out of this fight. No matter what our favorite carry pistol is, we need to get to know the Beretta 92F 9mm intimately. Cause that is likely to be available when things get bad.

        The Glock 17 is lightweight, durable, reliable, high capacity, simple to operate with one hand under stress and its finish is extremely corrosion resistant..

        You should have at least 1 extra magazine filled with 147 grain JHP.

        Night sights are a must, not only for reduced light shooting but rugged durability.

        Holster, mag holders, flashlight pouch

        This support gear is somewhat personal, but remember that we are discussing rather extreme conditions. Leather gear is nice, comfortable and looks great. But what about water i.e. sweat, rain and bodily fluids? We recommend Blade-Tech kydex gear. The IDPA Approved series of holsters are great quality. Belt or paddle is up to you, they come with either or both.

        Single magazine holders with TECH-LOK work for the extra pistol mag and AR15 mag.

        The Wilderness also makes some good gear for this purpose:

        The ZIP Slide attaches to belts up to 1-3/4” wide via two quick release wrap around Velcro straps. It is easy to put on and take off, yet rock solid and secure when in place. It is a straight drop belt-slide water-resistant nylon holster. The material is tough 100D Cordura nylon skin wrapped around a head-molded polymer core. It is sewn and molded to the specific weapon.

        The single magazine pouches for the pistol and AR15 are constructed the same way. I have had copies of this gear for over 10 years and it is still working great.


        A.Leatherman tool is in a wilderness pouch.
        B.Spyderco Military serrated
        C.Spyderco Endura ½ serrated
        D.Swiss Army Knife

        A big survival knife like a Gerber BMF can be handy.

        Other knives are up to you.

        Mics. Items

        Some other things to pack:
        A.1. Brown military towel
        B.2. Brown Military cotton scarf
        C.3. Camo cotton handkerchief
        D.4. Underwear and pair of socks 1 each
        E.5. Windbreaker
        F.6. Lots of hand wipes

        The pack should not weigh out at much more than 20 pounds. The pistol and support gear will go ontoyour waist along with an AR15 mag and flashlight. That gear will reduce the weight on the pack straps and could be replaced with water.

      • #63648

          Any thoughts on keeping a folding bike in a vehicle? Thinking especially for a major city in a major event like the snowstorm in Atlanta last month tens of thousands of motorists ran out of gas while sitting there. Granted it’s higher profile, but how much of the issues to follow a grid down event could possibly be avoided by getting home way faster? People may think have a space bike in the car is paranoid, but no more expensive or paranoid than having a rifle :unsure:

        • #63649

            Baldrick, I have heard it discussed before. Specifically, with this bike:
            It costs about $900.
            I would say, if you have the ability to reasonably transport the bike as part of your daily vehicle payload and you can put it in a location that is inconspicuous – it might be doable.

            Some things to keep in mind: It will always be a theft risk in the vehicle – just like any other gear you hall. Hide it and physically lock it in with a chain (i.e trunk or in the pick-up bed under a bed cover or in a steel jobsite box that is bolted down.) You should probably make it the same bike you exercise and train on. Don’t start riding the bike the first time the shtf. Try riding the bike with any gear that you plan to carry in your scenario. Put Slime Tubes in right away – they will greatly reduce or eliminate flat tires. Already make plans to ditch that fancy creature without hesitation if you encounter an area that is impossible to traverse on a bike or you think it would be safer to proceed on foot.

            Good luck.

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