Posts Tagged ‘surplus’

US Military General Purpose Waterproof Box

Prepping 101: Build a First Aid Kit

I was one of those kids who had more fun playing with the empty box than playing with whatever toy or gizmo my parents gave me. In this case, the box is the gift, but it’s pretty cool anyway. If you are building your own medical kit, this waterproof box is a great place to start. This was exactly the same type of box used for general-purpose first aid in military aircraft and boats. Originally, this box held a 317-piece kit designed for front line trauma as well as basic first aid, but feel free to design your own. To get started, the original kit contained:

Surplus Up Your Stash

Everyone should have a well-stocked room for shelter in place operations. While there are the obvious things that everybody needs for their shelter, there are also a few other things you may not have thought about.

Entrenching Tool

Entrenching Tool

What Ever You Do, Don't Call it a Shovel

This thing has so many uses, it’s ridiculous. The obvious use for this handy little device, besides digging of course, is to use it as a weapon. The operator can throw it like a tomahawk, swing it like a club, or use it as a defensive baton. There are entire websites devoted to the art of E-Tool fighting; I wonder how long it takes to get a black belt in Tae Kwon Tool? Aside from fighting, you can use these things as foldable toilets. Guys used to do that when I was in the service. I’m a bit too heavy for that to work, but some guys used them with decent success. An E-Tool makes a great poker for a campfire as well. It is the best way to keep from singing your eyebrows off when you are camping. After you stock up the flames, you can also use it as a camp stool, just tilt the business end 90 degrees, tighten it down, put the handle on the ground and have a seat. It isn’t as comfortable as the living room recliner, but it’s better than sitting on the frozen ground. If you don’t have one of these E-Tools in your SHTF pack, you sir, are unprepared.

NATO Gas Mask Filter

NATO Filter

Drilling a Hole Through These So You Can Smoke in Your Mask is Not Recommended

Have a gas mask? Me too, actually I have several. I spent seven years as a chemical weapons troop in the Air Force, so I know a thing or two about these things. The problem with after market mil-surp masks, isn’t usually the mask itself, it’s the filter. If you don’t have a good filter on your mask, consider yourself hosed. These filters have expiration dates, and once you open the can, the clock ticks a lot faster. Your best bet, if you want to truly stay ready for that chemical, biological, or radiological attack, is to have a fresh filter on your mask ready to go, and change it out regularly. It’s a good idea to have several of these canisters on hand too. Some chemical weapons have canister-breaking properties, in that once contaminated by the agent; you have to throw the filter away almost immediately. Now I know not everybody has access to high-end NBC detection equipment, so you won’t always know what is out there. As a civilian however, you will want to change out your filter regularly no matter what is creeping around in the air.

Military Style Heavy Cot

Military Style Cot

Just Remember These Things Are Meant For One

Having a comfortable place to sleep is something that most people overlook in their SHTF cache. If you are on the move, you may not be able to find a soft warm bed, and nothing is worse than sleeping on the cold ground outside. These cots are the same ones our troops use in the military and they work great. They give your back enough support and keep you off that awful ground. I have slept many nights on cots identical to this one, and I have no complaints. They fold up into a compact enough roll so you can tie them to your backpack, or just throw it in the back of the truck. The rugged material these cots are made of makes these things last a lifetime as well. I’m pretty sure the ones from my old unit were purchased during Vietnam. Now that’s long lasting durability folks!

Testing Finnish gas mask at CTD

Gas Masks Could Save Your Life

Even though chemical weapons have not been used on a large-scale since World War I, the threat still remains of a terrorist assault on our soil using weapon-grade chemical agents. Should some extremist group decide to attack us, be ready to defend yourself with a gas mask.

Old Guns, Modern Ammunition

PPSH in action: sparks at the muzzle are fragments of steel bullet jacket

PPSH in action: sparks at the muzzle are fragments of steel bullet jacket

One of the major draws of old firearms used to be the availability of inexpensive surplus ammunition. Thanks mostly to the UN and our own government, much of the available surplus is now destroyed rather than sold. Modern surplus comes mainly from military production overruns designed to reduce per round cost to the government-run plants in Russia. One of the calibers most affected by this has been 7.62×25 Tokarev. The round is a higher-pressure variation on the 1896 7.63×25 Mauser pistol cartridge which, although minutely different in geometry, would fit the later Soviet guns. Due to the higher pressure of the Soviet round, it is not safe to use in the vintage Broomhandle Mauser pistols.

The Comblock use of that round began with TT30, TT33 and vz52 pistols and continued in PPD34, PPSh41, PPS43 (available now in pistol form) and the 1990s Bizon submachine guns. Bottleneck shape helped reliability in extraction. Generally loaded with 85-grain steel-jacketed (and often steel-cored) bullets, it quickly gained reputation for a flat trajectory and high penetration. With muzzle velocity ranging from 1200fps to 1550fps from pistols and non-deforming bullet construction, it was not surprising. Very low cost of surplus guns in that caliber and cheap ammunition made it easy to overlook the real down sides of using surplus. The minor down sides were abrasive jackets and corrosive primers, along with typically bright muzzle flash. The major down side was the uncertainty about past storage conditions and pressure. Certain batches of Chinese and East European 7.62×25 produced erratic velocity and caused considerable wear on the guns. One theory was that these were intended for submachine guns, but the same ammunition sometimes turned up on 8-round stripper clips obviously meant for loading pistol magazines. The Soviets of WW2 were fond of the high velocity because it gave extra range to their ubiquitous submachine guns. Though striking power of the 85 grain bullet was quite limited at extreme range, at least they could get hits where German 9mm or Lend-Lease Thompsons in slower 45ACP required considerable hold-over.

Unissued vz52 with original holster

Unissued vz52 with original holster.


Modern holsters (such as those by Dragon Leatherworks) are available for vz52

Modern holsters (such as by Dragon Leatherworks) are available for vz52

To me, this cartridge was a historic curiosity until the new batch of unissued vz52s showed up at Czechpoint. The idea of an old but unissued pistol with roller lock mechanism designed after the MG42 machine gun has appealed to me ever since I first fired that gun back in the late 90s. vz52 is quite a bit more refined than the Russian TT33 and much nicer to shoot. It’s long and tall but also very flat, making it easy to carry. In addition to the original flap holsters, a lot of modern leather is available. If Dieselpunk aesthetic appeals to you, an even more exotic looking Sterling pistol is now available in the same caliber. So I looked at the ammunition situation and discovered that 7.62×25 is no longer a boutique round. Winchester and Sellier&Bellot load ball and Magsafe offers a frangible in case you like high velocity but do not want the attendant penetration. All these are non-corrosive, so you can plink at the range and not have to clean the pistol at once to avoid rust.