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Zombies and aliens and creeps — oh, my!

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Travis Imel is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their airgun facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd AIR gift card. Congratulations!

Travis Imel won the BSOTW. Shown in the picture is his daughter, Tia, an Olympic hopeful.

Today starts the Roanoke airgun show. If all has gone as planned, Mac and I are there, enjoying another show surrounded by airguns and those who love them. Naturally, I’ll have a report for you with pictures, but I imagine several people will beat me to the punch, so you should get good show coverage.

Today, I want to talk about the current fad that favors zombies and apocalyptic scenarios. In short, I want to address the “bugout” bag.

No, zombies aren’t real, and we may still make it through the Mayan calendar, just like we did Y2K. So, why does anyone need a bugout bag? Because zombies, aliens and creeps aren’t the only reasons you might need to bug out (leave the area in a hurry). I once got evacuated from my miltary quarters in Fort Knox when a train carrying a nasty chemical derailed in nearby Muldraugh, Kentucky. I didn’t even know there were tracks in that part of the county before the MPs came by and said we had to leave. Of course, those were the 1970s, so there were no computers or hard drives to grab — just the kids and the money and off we went. But the fact of it stuck with me — emergencies can happen anywhere at any time and for any reason.

Today, when I leave in a hurry I carry a whole load of baggage — computers (which are my livelihood until the whole system collapses and I become a traveling storyteller), medicines, money, guns, etc. What we take depends on the crisis, of course. If it’s a derailed train, we take the minimum. If we are under a terrorist attack, we go armed to the teeth and with extra guns and ammo to trade — that sort of thing.

But the question remains: What do you pack in your bugout bag? If you’ve never considered it, I may be able to offer some thoughts that are valuable — whether you live on a ranch in Wyoming or in downtown Toronto.

The combination tool
The Swiss Army knife was a breakthough in portable tools at the start of the 20th century, and it still is. There are times when I always have a Swiss Champ in my pocket, such as gun shows where small tools and magnifying glasses are put to use all the time. The modern combination tool, typified by Leatherman, is the magnum extension of the Swiss knife. I carry a Leatherman Wave on my hip and have a Gerber Crucial in my pocket. Why? Because often when you need one pair of pliers, you really need two. Get at least one combination tool and put it in your bugout bag!

Swiss Champ Leatherman Wave
The combination tool is a modern extension of the Swiss Army Knife.

Pyramyd AIR sells the Schrade Tough Tool, which looks like it has a killer set of pliers. The price is very good for a combo tool — you’d pay twice and even three times that much for other brands. Sure, they’re made in China, but they’re stainless steel and appear to be quite rugged.

A powerful, small flashlight
I’m going to recommend a flashlight that uses AA batteries and not the CR123A batteries that tactical flashlights need. Why? because they’re cheaper, easier to find, they do a good job and if things get bad there will be more AAs than 123s in short order. I have two favorites in this category — a Pelican 1920 and some little Chinese light with no name that I have been using for four years on the same battery! Don’t worry about matching my brands. Get lights that work, then use them so you know that they work. Make sure they go in your bugout bag. I’m never at a show without at least one such light.

Two flashlights
Two non-descript flashlights. The top one takes a couple AAs. The bottom takes one AAA.

You can’t cut everything with a knife. Sometimes you do need scissors. Mine are found in a Gerber Shortcut combination tool. The tool is too small for pliers, so they substituted scissors, in their place.

Gerber Shortcut
Small, but a better pair of scissors than the Swiss Army knife has. Gerber Shortcut, and yes, there are other small tools.

A nice knife
I put this in because I just have to show you this one product. The Walther Tactical folding knife is one serious cutting instrument! I don’t care for serrated blades, but I got a special sharpener for them a couple years ago and the blades I do sharpen will cut through anything faster than plain blades. This Walther is well-made, hefty and can be assigned all the jobs a sheath knife can do, like cleaning large animals. I enjoy the gravity and lever-assist blade opening that’s almost like a switchblade. It also has a skull-buster, whose real purpose is breaking glass, like when you need to get out of a car. (I can hear the chatter now: “Why wouldn’t I just open the door?” That comes from someone who hasn’t yet been there and had to do that.)

Walther Tactical Folder
For 20 bucks, you can’t beat the Walther Tactical folder.

Another knife is always on my person except when I fly, and that’s a WW II camp knife that was issued to soldiers. Yes, I like the nostalgia, but I own several other camp knives, just in case I lose this one. They are too handy and I can’t describe all the reasons I need them, but even Edith knows that knife is always in my pocket. Your pocket is the ultimate bugout bag.

The law
You have to consider the law when you plan your bugout bag. There are places like the United Kingdom, where even small knives are now regulated and cannot be possessed without running afoul of the law. In some situations that cause you to bug out, society will have collapsed and what’s law right now won’t matter anymore. But it does matter now, and even having certain items as insurance against the worst possibility involves breaking the law. I am not advising anyone to break their laws. But I do think you have to think such things through and have a plan — even if you don’t currently have all the equipment to execute it.

Let me illustrate what I’m talking about. Mac talks to a lot of people in his capacity as the lead photographer at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. And he has a very dry sense of humor. Some time ago when national crises were being openly discussed — let’s call it the post-911 timeframe — Mac was having a conversation with a woman at work about disaster preparedness. She was against owning a firearm for any reason, but a firm believer in preparing for the worst. That involved having two years of non-perishable food on hand.

She told Mac she was ready for the next disaster because of this food, and then asked him if he stored food, too. He told her he didn’t have to. He knew where she lived, and he had guns. If disaster struck, he had a ready supply. It was a joke, but only partly so, because every disaster scenario says exactly the same thing. Those who are armed and have the necessary conviction will possess whatever they need. And those who hoard supplies but are not prepared to defend them will become the unwilling storehouses for those who need them. Doubtless there will be many subtleties on this theme, but the end result always comes out the same.

What else?
You need the means to start fires. A cheap butane lighter is perfect for this. A mirror to signal with and to use just as intended is another good thing to have. Make sure it’s an unbreakable one. A solar-powered radio is so cheap to buy and often contains a flashlight. Get one with a hand-crank, because the sun may not shine where you end up.

Obviously you’ll want water purification tablets and a small first-aid kit with you. And since this is Friday, I’m opening the floor for you to recommend everything else!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

37 thoughts on “Zombies and aliens and creeps — oh, my!”

  1. I would personally pick a different knife or knives to carry in a bug out bag. I would prefer a folder with much better steel, such as a spyderco, SOG or cold steel. I would also have a larger fixed blade for wood splitting, such as a ka-bar. As for a flashlight, I would prefer a foursevens flashlight which uses cr123s. These batteries are far superior in terms of run time and brightness. They however are harder to get, locally, so I would recommend stocking up on them whenever possible. I would only carry the supplies which my system can take, so light weight items can be very handy.

    • If one is concerned about wood-splitting, wouldn’t a small hatchet be more apropos… Maybe something like the Gerber Gator Combo (small fixed blade knife stores in the handle of the axe) — I’d like to provide the link to Gerber, but their web site is one that just doesn’t work with my security settings (or something — I get a big scrolling background, menu at the top, but nothing displays any details)

      Flash lights? Don’t get me started… I have the gamut from a 5-D MagLite (club the intruder over the head until the pistol can be grabbed) down to a few Photon Micro-Lights. The most annoying is probably an Inova 24/7 LED unit (okay, low and high intensity using four “white” LEDs isn’t annoying, nor is the night-vision red, but then turn to the white blinking mode… the white Morse code SOS… the rapid red/white/yellow/white/red distress… the slow red/yellow beacon [it actually modulates the intensity for each red low/high/low yellow low/high/low…] And then there is the very low intensity 4-5 second spaced red flickers that are rated to last 15000 hours as a locator beacon). If a non-tactical light is needed, I actually find myself grabbing a head-lamp system… And even my Yaesu VX-8DR has an LED that can be activated from the menu for use as a light.

      {Oooh, big numbers tonight: 9+9=[ ] }

  2. Really regret not being able to attend Roanoke this year.

    It’s the ultimate airgun show. This year should be special from all that I’ve read since many special pieces from long time collectors will be put on a table for the first time in many years. This trips my trigger. Good deals on current production models at an airgun show make me yawn.

    The idea of a bugout bag turns many people off. When they read the term they tune out. Why? It’s human nature. We don’t want to think about the circumstances that would require us to have one! I don’t need any help to stick my head in the sand but thank you very much.

    With all due respect you need to think of what you’d put in your bugout bag.

    I don’t have a bugout bag.

    I have another home that was chosen as a “bugout bag”. It is in an isolated area (not densely populated), has it’s own surface water source (year round spring) that also generates electricity independently, has battery backup with solar assist and is located where game is plentiful and is almost 2 miles in elevation. Our backup water is a deep well. At our location we have an average of 340 days of sun so solar is very effective and we don’t have to worry about flooding/global warming. We have septic for sewage with a 3 acre multi stage leach field that I designed. Our primary heat is two wood stoves with outside air and electric back up (baseboard). Many of my firearms and most of my ammo is at this location. Since it’s less than 2 hours from my home it’s my bugout bag.

    As far as a survival kit (you need to survive in the wilderness) I’ll share my experiences (not theory) of what basics you need. This is reiterated from literature that I sent to my clients that signed up for big game guided hunts and it was stipulated that this list assumed that while they were in the field they also had at least one centerfire and a fixed blade knife at least 4″. Here’s the very minimum that I required that they carry afield while they were guests at my camp and welcomed that they carry more:

    1-Matches in a waterproof container belong in every survival kit. The matches should be windproof. Buy windproof matches. Although most waterproof containers have a striker on the side or bottom you should carry an additional striker inside the case for insurance. A small piece of 220 grit sandpaper is sufficient. A butane lighter in cold conditions and/or at high altitude is useless. Leave it in your truck.

    2-A space blanket belongs in every survival kit.

    3-Water purification tablets

    4-A 20 foot length of nylon rope/parachute cord

    5-Two large needles and one large roll of dental floss

    6-A large roll of first aid tape (1″ wide) and 8 sterile pads that are 4″ X 4″ and are separately packaged

    I specified that all these items be put into a metal container that could be sealed and suggested that at any army surplus store a 4x4x10 metal container could be found. These are commonly used to house mess kits but the ideal containers are designed for first aid kits. Nonetheless, all these items I suggest as minimal for survival, even in our harsh climate, can be fit into a 4 x 4 x 10 metal container if you know how to use them. For example if it’s not a metal container you have limited means of cooking and having a water recepticle.


    • Kevin,

      We have a significant number of supplies in our bugout bags that are not listed in the blog. I’ve bought most of the stuff in our bugout bags (and the bags themselves) and have bought redundant supplies for some things (fire starters & alum for wounds, for instance). If you get separated for any reason (or are seriously injured & the other person has to go for help), you’re not unprepared to survive and/or protect yourself.


  3. BB

    A couple weels/months ago you mentioned Ballistol in a blog entry (I think about repairing a Crosman 160). I seem to recall you said it was a penetrating oil that would remove/break-up rust like WD40 but didn’t leave a varnish/residue like WD40. Am I remembering that correctly?


  4. B.B.

    It’s a bit more than carry bag, but quite OK for a horse or light vehicle and for real troubles like New Orleans.

    I’d recommend to add:
    At least 50 m of each: good synthetic rope able to withstand 3t load (~16mm) 500 kg load (~8 mm) and 100 kg load (~4 mm). When all hell breaks loose everyone is always short of a rope.
    Stichings – silk, undyed – good gor mending clothes and men. LOTS of needles.
    At least 20 sq m of good thick polyethylene film – roof cover, storage and so on.
    Soap – clean man is a healthy and disciplined one.
    Fishing kit
    Salt – seasalt preferred.
    Pot or mess kit.
    5 liters of guaranteed clean water and 1 liter of ethyl alcohol.
    Drugs, primarily those that can be stored good and long: antibiotics, painkillers, antihistamines, vitamines, iodine solution, 1-month amount of your special prescription.
    Head – cool and fast-thinking. Filled with knowledge on: 50 km radius of neighbourhood, edible local plants and mushrooms, advanced first aid skills, some repair skills, well everything you can learn anywhere and from anyone – head is the best baggage you can carry.
    And as usual the Rule: “Be fast, be alone, be selfish and remember – beast are not even half as spoiled as men are” 🙂


    • How about this as a philosophy for hostile environments? I got it from a graduate of a women’s prison in Russia: Trust no one, never fear, never forgive. Whew, that would probably work in most prisons around the world. Seriously, though, I expect the key to the future in the apocalypse is cooperation with the right people.


      • Matt,

        The right formula is “Never trust, never fear, never ask for something”. Grandpa taught me these words and he knew what they mean. “Never forgive” is author’s fantasy that comes from a lack of knowledge 😉 Some way or another it is the way to survive in any group of forced membership.

        When it comes to survival, when your freedom of movement and choice is not limited by other’s will – the best way is to get out of any groups, alone. Either you or other members of the group can become unreliable and a burden. Every group brings hierachy and personal affection problems with itself – so don’t you already have problems to get some more? Groups are effective only when they are professionals, beaten together, dedicated and disciplined. That is the second stage of survival and it needs some extra skills.

        So cooperation is great – but only when “Never trust” turning into “Trust” is coupled with “Check every time and keep a sawed-off pressed against trusted person’s groin”. Best chance of survival is to wait and then join some strong and wise warchief’s horde – he keeps his head busy with hierachy and you enjoy relative safety and eek… company. And don’t try politics 🙂 as long as your chief rules wise your first duty is to upkeep and keep up with his rules with steel-strong dedication.


  5. Several years ago, I bought the aforementioned Schrade multi-tool when it was still made in USA. I do not know if the Communist Chinese made version is of the quality of mine, but it is one of the best multi-tools I have owned. It is large enough and rugged enough to actually do something besides have cool factor. I carry it with me every day.

  6. Note for kevin….

    Ties in with the cold/warm barrel test….

    I pulled out one of the R7s this morning after it had been sitting for at least two weeks. First shot gave smoke or mist. Second shot did not. No chrono check. Not shooting groups. All rifles stored with the muzzle pointed up.

    Remember what I said about conditioning the power plant as opposed to warming the barrel ?
    What I saw indicated that the first shot pulled some lube. Don’t know how much may have splattered the bore. This situation may call for a few shots to get everything stable again.

    I lube both R7s every once in a while with silicone oil, because they keep slowing down. I think this has to do with seal drag as the chamber gets progressively drier.
    Might end up installing Vortek seals and using different lube, like my other HWs. They do not seem to have this problem with Vorteks installed.


  7. I started with a small bug out bag a couple of years ago, but it has steadily grown now to the size of a 5.11 RUSH 24 http://www.511tactical.com/All-Products/Bags-Backpacks/Backpacks/MultiCam-RUSH-24-Backpack.html
    In it is:
    Tactical Flashlight (I had a AA powered Mini-Mag but I like the idea that this can blind someone temporarily if need be)
    Hand Cranked shortwave radio
    Good first aid kit
    Water purification tablets
    Good sewing kit
    Good Compass
    Multi Tool
    Fixed blade knife
    Tactical axe (I had a Gerber hatchet which I really liked, but then someone showed me how a tactical axe can be used to break a lock, puncture steel…and yes, throw it and hit something)
    Space blanket
    Good gloves
    50′ Paracord
    100 rds .22WMR (my bugout bag is in my gun save…if I had to go in a hurry the Savage would go with me)
    A small Svea stove with mess kit (this is the kind of stove that will run on car gasoline if need be)

  8. Mac’s joke about having guns, and knowing where the woman lived, reminded me of the intro to The Road Warrior. About how only those mobile enough to scavenge or brutal enough to pillage survived.
    Only I don’t think it’s a matter of brutality, at least not in my case. My significant other asked me if we’d survive in a post-apocalypse setting. If my children are cold and/or hungry, I will do ANYTHING to insure their well being. Even if it’s at the cost of some stranger who hoarded food, but no guns. If that labels me a brute, so be it.

    • I know what you mean Jonnie.
      My kids are now 9 & 11. Unlike most of their friends who spend 90% of their time playing computer games, my kids are both pretty good archers, rifle/pistol shooters and they both know how to start a pretty good fire and know the basics of what to look for shelter-wise.
      Though a lot of the reason I’m teaching them this is for their health and because the outdoors are just so darn much fun…I’d be lying if didn’t admit that part of the reason is that if the worst ever does happen, I want my kids to be survivors, not statistics.
      On a humorous note (at least to me). A few weeks back it was meet the teacher night at school.
      One of the first things my 9 year olds class did was to make individual booklets about themselves telling their hobbies, what they like to watch, etc.
      The last question was “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
      His answer…”I have a cat, a dog and a toad and I really like animals so I might want to be a vet. I can also hit really small things at 100m with my .22 so maybe a sniper”
      Yup…they’ll be survivors 😉

    • Yes, I remember that point about mobility as the key to survival in the Road Warrior. But it seemed like the people would have been better off conserving their gas rather than driving around in the desert. Kind of a trade-off I suppose. Maybe the gas was a metaphor for food which is fuel for the body after all. And the predators are the ones who can take the food from others just like in the wild kingdom now.


  9. The girl in the photo has an enviable set-up.

    Well, better late than never with the bugout bag post. I believe we’ve been waiting a few years for this. It will require some digestion.

    Mike, maybe you’ve explained why we picked up our Winchester 94 for about $150 in the 70s. But I thought that the whole significance of this model which is its traditional design. So, how could this model be that much worse than the others. The new 94s look great except for their price of ~$1400!!


    • Sure. The pre 1964 Winchesters, the model 94 and others are really custom guns by today’s standards.
      They are hand fitted, use all machined parts, walnut stocks, and a quality finish. Starting in 1964, there were many changes to the Winchester line. They really had to do this since they were loosing money with the old line. So, in came stamped parts, castings, loose tolerances, plastic, maple stocks, cheap finishes and such. The guns still worked but are a ghost of the old ones. With modern CNC machines and the like, quality has improved a lot. But, as you noted, the price is UP. BTW, the store where I worked in the mid 1970’s sold new 94 Winchesters for $79.99 and $69.99 when on sale.


      • Ha ha. So maybe we got taken to the cleaners after all. Even I wouldn’t mistake the wood on my 94 for walnut. It is some kind of hardwood. But I must say, it is as Kevin described. That rifle never fails to function.


  10. My immediate bugout kit is in the cargo pockets of the pants I wear everyday. I feel naked when wearing regular jeans. I can get by for a few days to a week on just what’s in my pockets and my resourcefulness. If I have my Jeep with me, so much the better because more useful stuff is already in there. This blog has me thinking of adding a Crosman Backpacker to my permanent Jeep kit, which already is pretty complete in terms of food, water, ammo for my carry gun, fishing gear and med supplies. Might throw in a few more needles and threads too (I already have a needle and thread in my pocket).


  11. Since I live in an area where wild game is plentiful in an emergency, I found that a good couple of conibear traps and a reliable gun with ammo are necesities. I also keep a nice assisted opening knife with a partially serrated blade, a light medic trauma kit containing supplied to deal with injuries to include stitches if needed. (I have a very high pain tollerance.) I also carry a flashlight, and a fire starter capable of starting even wet tinder. I think it’s called a blast match. I also carry some fish line which can be used to snare birds if I get desperate enough, and of course One or two MRE style food in a pack. That’s just in case pickin’s get a bit slim. If there’s a catastrophic emergency like the martian invasion doe to strike earth on 12-21-12, I used to be a repo man so I can steal a car that used to belong to someone that the martians have already eaten. So, I’m set.

    • I wouldn’t say “plentiful” but the groundskeepers just vacuumed up all the fallen leaves in the back “yard”. I then tossed out a stale sourdough loaf, and half a spreader full of sunflower seeds/corn mix.

      15 minutes later I had NINE fox squirrels clustered 5 meters from the basement window.

      Apparently the turkeys didn’t hear the spreader or they’d have gathered too (the bravest squirrels have been known to gather while I’m still spreading the seeds — I’ve seen them get hit by some of the corn and not even flinch).

  12. respond to the bugout bag i agree with every ones suggestion and will add a carbine size air riffle like hw 50 or a 392 pump or at least have one stashed close by.

  13. Just an aside…

    The Leatherman Wave is a nasty unit… The main cutting blades are configured for one-hand (right-handed, sorry) opening. Makes for a fairly fast “draw”: Pop the belt sheath open; forefinger and thumb grab the top (hinge) end and lift; as it clears the sheath one rotates the hand so the body of the Wave falls into the palm; thumb is now positioned to flip the blade out.

    I’ve got a few other combo-tools where that is impossible — the cutting blades require opening the hinge first.

  14. Well staying along the lines of disaster preparedness, If there is some huge disaster and the United States ceases to be anymore, which is possible when the martians attack it on 12-21-12, Game in my area isn’t too hard to find. We have plenty of deer. Every year thousands are hit and killed by cars and trucks on the hiways. That being said, all I have to do is find a game run somewhere in the area, which isn’t hard, pull out my AK-47 and shoot a deer. I know how to dry meat and make jerky in the case of no longer having refrigeration as well as other ways og preserving food. That same AK-47 is also good for defending my food cashe. But I also have no problem with sharing what I have since all I need to do whan my meat runs out is go shoot another deer. Maybe change things up with wild turkey, canadien goose, partridge, and of course squirrel, but I’d rely on my condor for smaller game. I don’t even have to spread seeds for squirrel. I just look where ever there are acorn trees that are producing acorns. I’ll find both deer and squirrel there. Also I look in farmer’s fields. Not only do I find corn but I find deer, raccoon, groundhog, as well as squirrels. I trust you see the point. I don’t have to kill someone and take their food for myself in an end of civilization emergency. All I have to do is look in the right place with a gun and a nice sharp knife. My medical kit and fire starter ect will increase my survival chances, but the gun and knife might be a matter of life and death.

    • Man after my own heart. An AK 47 would be the foundation of survival equipment. Too bad in California, you get limited to a 10 round magazine and a magazine lock.


      • Well, like this blog says, if the U.S. government ceases to exist or there is a dire survival situation, sometimes you might need to break the law. Of course if the U.S. government ceases to exist for some reason all those laws are pretty much out the window.

        As far as the AK 47 is concerned, yeah, I picked that one for it’s reliability. I build them so I pretty much can get whatever I want on them. Since I always have a few variant’s around waiting for the gun shows it would be a simple thing to grab something from my inventory in an emergency. In an emergency I might grab an AMD65 though which is lighter weight, more compact and still has all the kick of the AK47 which is all it really is, just a bit shorter and lighter. I always have a few of those laying around.

  15. B.B., I have to correct you. Zombies are real as I found out from this very blog. The undead are a fantasy. But the term can also refer to those who do not prepare for the apocalypse and are trying to take food from others. Mac and Jonnie are zombies! Heh, heh just kidding of course.

    B.B., you’ve also been holding out. What model is the army camp knife that you prefer? The Marines have been pretty consistent with their KaBar since WWII, but I haven’t gotten a sense of the Army’s issue knife. The M3 adopted in WWII was not successful, I understand; too fragile. Otherwise, it’s hard to pin down. The current model seems to be a bayonet with a clip point. Surely, with all the resources the army has poured into its weapons, you would pick something for front-line service, not for the rear echelons.

    That Walther folder is very interesting at such a price. The cheaper they are, the more comfortable I feel using them. Interesting to hear the good review of the serrated edge. My Voyager folder with a three inch blade is half plain and half serrated. So far, my experience has been that the serrations don’t accomplish much and reduce the plain edge for slicing.

    On the subject of the KaBar, I heard one objection from a supposed expert who claimed that the design is not optimized for thrusting. The problem is that one of the purposes of the clip point is to lower the point so that it is midway down the blade which makes it easier to control and more stable. The KaBar has a modest clip point so that the point is swept up towards the back edge of the blade. This supposedly makes it less effective for thrusting. But, it slid through a honeydew melon with frightening ease. I don’t think there are problems in that department.

    But the damage was nothing compared to the Roman gladius. This weapon confirms one of my motives for shopping: You just never know what’s out there until you try. I bought the Ruger Single Six largely for historical reasons and to sample revolver technology, and it’s one of my very favorite guns to shoot. Similarly, for swords I had always thought in terms of a samurai sword or a European longsword. The gladius was just an historical artifact for a cheap price. But once in the hand, you cannot help but swing it around. It swept all before it for 900 years! It is so me. I actually didn’t have that much fun with the melon because a few cuts and thrusts demolished it, and I didn’t want to make a big mess. This sword deserves serious consideration in an conflict environment.

    I do envy you all who can step outdoors right into the woods. I would like nothing better than to be able to try out my equipment on some brush. It is so tempting to take the gladius on a hike I’m scheduled for with some disadvantaged kids, but that is probably not a good idea…


    • But the damage was nothing compared to the Roman gladius. This weapon confirms one of my motives for shopping: You just never know what’s out there until you try. I bought the Ruger Single Six largely for historical reasons and to sample revolver technology, and it’s one of my very favorite guns to shoot. Similarly, for swords I had always thought in terms of a samurai sword or a European longsword. The gladius was just an historical artifact for a cheap price. But once in the hand, you cannot help but swing it around. It swept all before it for 900 years! It is so me. I actually didn’t have that much fun with the melon because a few cuts and thrusts demolished it, and I didn’t want to make a big mess. This sword deserves serious consideration in an conflict environment.

      Remember, the main use of the gladius was with large shields in tight, highly trained, foot formations (chop over the top, or stab between, the shields) — whereas the common European medieval period, along with samurai, combat tended to be more one-on-one open formations (with an emphasis on cavalry in Europe). Roman legions tended to be supplied from the outlying peasantry, whereas the later period the swords were in the hands of the nobility — who really didn’t want to use effective (deadly) weapons; survive to be ransomed is better than dead.

      However, the design wasn’t totally forgotten. It was revived as the Napoleonic short sword; that, then went on to be the model for the US Civil War period artillery short sword. Some years back NatGeo covered Las Vegas — had a scene from one of the theme casinos (Luxor? Cleopatra/Roman period Egypt). The decorative roman legionnaires were customed out with copies of the [discontinued] 1833 short sword that Atlanta Cutlery sold.

  16. I have a Crosman M-1 Carbine BB Air Rifle with a wood stock that I want to sell. Can you tell me how much I should ask for it? It is in very good condition and I don’t think it has ever been fired as there is no wear on the barrel. Unfortunately the magazine is missing.

    • Lynn,

      The magazine does detract from the value a lot. But if someone wants to upgrade their collection with a nice wood stock, I think yours is still worth $100-125. With the mag it would be 150-175. That price assumes zero finish wear just behind the front sight, where the gun is grabbed to cock.

      Three years ago it would have topped $200 with the mag, but things are depressed these days.


  17. BB,

    I recently posted this question in another spot (Canadian Airgun Forum) and have been getting some good responses, but I wold love to hear your thoughts in light of this timely article.

    I am wondering about the ideal survival air gun. I think an air gun would be an excellent survival weapon since the ammo is small and cheap, and it would be perfectly adequate for consistently taking small game. I figure a good survival gun would be extremely reliable, yet have good takedown power.  It would also need to be independent of any external inputs like CO2 or other ‘canned air’ requirements (though some people argued for a PCP and hand pump).  With these parameters in mind, I am trying to think about great candidate survival guns in 4 categories:
    – expensive air rifle
    – inexpensive air rifle
    – expensive pistol
    – inexpensive pistol

    Any suggestions?

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