His name may not be as recognizable as the late Chris Kyle, but Eugene Stoner is the man behind the design of the AR-15. “American Sniper” Kyle’s autobiograpy and motion picture, depicted Kyle using a sniper variant of the AR-15. It all began in 1954 when Stoner, a World War II veteran, became the Chief Engineer of ArmaLite. Today, not only is the AR-15 extremely popular, AR15 accessories can be purchased separately so gun owners can create a fully customized rifle. It has become a favorite rifle for militaries, sportsmen, and preppers alike.
This infographic captures a synopsis of the proud history of the AR15 rifle:
The U.S. counterpart to Russian, Mikhail Kalashnakov, Eugene Stoner actually first invented the AR10 which was rejected by the U.S. military in favor of the M14 rifle. With the base design already down, the team at Armalite made some changes to the AR10 (the big one was changing the caliber from 7.62 X 51mm NATO to the 5.56 X 45mm NATO cartridge) and arrived at the final product of the AR15. This finalized design is what the U.S. military adopted as what most know as the M16 rifle. While at Armalite, Stoner also designed a survival rifle for the U.S. Air Force that was designated as the AR5 and was later upgraded to today’s AR7 Survival Rifle.
Stoner continued his work with firearms going on to work with well known firearm companies including Colt (who had purchased the rights to the AR15 from Armalite) and Knight’s Armament. He even co-founded the company ARES Incorporated where he had a few other successful firearm designs.
It is safe to say that while not only bringing us the AR15 platform of rifle, Eugene Stoner is an amazing contributor to the modern firearms industry, not only on the military side of things but the sporting side as well.
There are always a few items on a prepper’s wish list that seem like they would be great to have some day but because of the cost or the particular item being a low priority, they are constantly pushed to the bottom of the list. One of these items for many prepper’s is body armor. This could be because of the cost for some, but body armor has never been more affordable than it is right now. For others it is probably because it just seems like there are better things to do with your money when it comes to getting prepared. I will be the first to agree that there are plenty of basics that should be taken care of prior to getting body armor like a foundation of food, water, shelter, firearms, ammunition, medical supplies, etc.
So if I think all of these other things are more important, why would I bring up body armor? The answer is simple…you can have the largest stockpile of long term survival supplies in the world and none of it will do you any good if you get waxed trying to defend it. It is also worth mentioning that some government officials believe that the minions they represent are not capable of handling the responsibility of owning body armor. The latest example of this belief is H.R. 5344, the Responsible Body Armor Possession Act introduced by Representative Michael Honda-D of California(SHOCKER!). Ironically, the act has nothing to do with responsibility, it is just a way to regulate who can get their grubby mitts on a set of body armor. If H.R. 5344 were to become law, it would make it unlawful to purchase, own or possess body armor by civilians with the exception of the,
purchase, ownership, or possession by or under the authority of — the United States or any department or agency of the United States; or a State, or a department, agency, or political subdivision of a State; or enhanced body armor that was lawfully possessed by any person at any time before the date this section takes effect.
Basically, if the Responsible Body Armor Possession Act comes to fruition, it means that if you don’t have body armor already, you aren’t going to get it unless you are a chosen member of an elite agency of THE State (like the USDA or EPA, right?) or a State. I see this causing two problems regardless of what the end state is. The most severe problem would be if the law passed and owning body armor became illegal. The lesser problem of the two would be that the proposition does not become law but still places stress on the body armor market in a similar manner as recent attempts at changing gun laws changed the firearms market. This would likely result in greatly decreased availability of body armor and quite possibly higher prices.
There are several reasons that make owning body armor practical for a prepper. Obviously, the avoidance of being shot and killed is a driving factor but is this a reality? Of course it is! Aside from what could happen if there was some sort of societal collapse, there are many events recently that have had the capacity to boil over and become uncontrollable, dangerous situations. Consider how easily someone could have been shot when police were going house to house conducting searches in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Look at what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri right now. These are both extremely volatile situations. Imagine what it might be like if people take to the streets because of a nationwide lack of resources like food and water. Don’t you think people would be a whole lot more upset and probably be more inclined toward violence? My bet is yes.
The good news is that is not too late….yet. There are a couple of immediate steps that can be taken to ensure that you maintain the right to own body armor. The first is to buy a set, or sets, of body armor for you and your loved ones. All of my body armor came from Safeguard Armor and I am incredibly pleased with it. The second step is to help ensure that our rights as citizens remain intact by contacting your elected representatives and let them know that we are not interested in them protecting us by telling us what we can’t do! Many body armor companies also run periodic giveaways like AR500 Armor who is currently giving away three sets of their fully loaded Sentry Plate Carrier packages.
Most people tend to think of body armor as a necessary item for those who are engaged in offensive operations against an enemy of some variety. It doesn’t matter whether it is the soldier on the frontlines of Afghanistan or the police officer rounding up gang members in Los Angeles, body armor can be a vital, and lifesaving, component of an individual’s daily ensemble. What is regularly passed over is the thought that body armor can be employed by those seeking to use it as a defensive measure. There is a potential place for body armor use as a defensive measure in all of our lives.
When I think of some of the recent events that followed last years Boston Marathon bombing, there were many of the citizens of Boston who were exposed, or came real close to being exposed, to the shooting from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan as they ran from just about every law enforcement agency in the greater Boston area and multiple federal agencies. In addition to the shootings that occurred in various areas of Boston over the course of the manhunt, a very anxious group of law enforcement officers conducted dozens, if not hundreds, of house-to-house searches in the Watertown, MA area as they tried to find those responsible for the carnage at the marathon.
Now think of being one of the Bostonians that, following such a terrible incident, were in fear of their lives as shootings are occurring across the city. All the while, police officers are pulling people out of their homes at gunpoint to conduct searches. It doesn’t matter if it is the fear of being shot by a terrorist, or shot by a police officer with an itchy trigger finger that feels you made a wrong move, in this case, having a set of body armor could greatly reduce the anxiety that was felt by those forced to endure this real-life scenario.
This is but one such possibility in the world today. As a soldier, I wore body armor every single day when I was in a hostile environment. Did I think that I was going to get shot or blown up every single day? The answer is no, but it would have been foolish to not wear such a useful piece of equipment in such an environment. My point is simply that since I had it, I used it and I was glad that I did because it, along with my competent colleagues, and top-notch training, helped ensure that I made it home.
Just for the sake of the argument, let’s say that you have the $400 that would be required to make a one-time purchase of a quality set of body armor and that you elect not to because you would rather use the money to upgrade your TV to that new ultra-high definition flat screen that it now even one eighth of an inch thinner. You wouldn’t ever want to find yourself in the position where you were forced to wonder if the opportunity cost from such a decision was worthwhile or not. Especially when the new TV doesn’t look any different than the last one!
Clearly not everyone needs a set of body armor though. It is a decision that should not be taken lightly and it is also important to consider the fact that your hard earned money should likely be used to secure the preparedness basics first and foremost. But there is certainly a place for body armor as a key component to a personal preparedness plan, especially in the areas of defense and security.
While there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of body armor companies to choose from, if you do decide that obtaining a set of body armor is crucial for your long-term survival and survival strategy consider going with a reputable manufacturer like Point Blank. Of course there are some stores like Inter-American Security Products (ISP) where you can shop multiple lines of body armor products in one place. Shopping at an online store like ISP not only allows you to see a variety of different sets of body armor but it will let you shop by the coverage level desired and the price point that fits your budget.
To tie back into the earlier example of buying a set of body armor instead of a new TV, not only can $400 buy you a set of body armor, it will buy you a set of custom built concealable body armor. This is hard to beat and will serve you better than any TV ever could in a life or death situation. While it would have once been difficult to foresee a situation where you might find yourself in need of body armor, there seems to be constant reminders in the news where innocent bystanders were involved in a situation that could have had a different outcome if said bystanders were wearing body armor. While it is not a piece of equipment for everyone, it is an integral component of a well-rounded survival strategy.
This week I stumbled upon some great information that I felt was worth sharing. Some of it is prepping related while some of it is political in nature. Whether you lean one way or the other in the political arena, it is important to know what is going on in the world.
Food Storage Basics Plus A Super Food Storage Giveaway
Jennifer from Are We Crazy, Or What? has put together a great post on the basics of food storage including the differences of long term and short term storage as well as things to consider when storing food. The full article can be read here.
Anti-Surveillance Mask Can Hide You From Biometric Face Scanners
Mac over at SHTFplan.com posted a story about a new rubber mask that would allow the wearer to hide their true identity from facial recognition software. Check it out here.
No Knock Raid Results in Multiple Cops Shot – One Killed
Freedom Outpost outlines the scary epidemic of no knock raids executed by the increasingly militarized police forces around the country and how it has led to increased fatalities of both law enforcement officers and citizens. Read about it here.
USDA Puts Out a Request for .40 Cal Sub-Machine Guns
For those that haven’t heard yet, the United States Department of Agriculture is the latest federal government organization that is looking to add military grade weapon systems to their inventory of equipment. Their request is not for any run of the mill sub-machine guns either, the solicitation specifically outlines the need for,
Submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burst trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsible or folding, magazine – 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation.
The following is a guest post submission from Milton Zane about some of the areas that should be considered when looking for a first gun for the lady in your life. While the points are geared towards helping a spouse, girlfriend, family member, or loved one find a firearm that is a good fit for them, the same points could be considered when finding a gun for yourself, or anyone for that matter.
How to Find the Perfect First Gun for the Lady in Your Life
Americans are carrying handguns in record numbers, partly because of concern for personal safety and partly as a display of a constitutional right that is being threatened. In 2011, Gallup found that 23% of women owned guns, up from just 13% in 2005. As many as 43% of women report having access to a firearm and many more have expressed interest in learning more.
While protection is one reason for owning a firearm, it is hardly the only reason. Though gun sports have traditionally been dominated by men, more and more women are beginning to take part in recreation that involves firearms. If you are looking to purchase a firearm, for a woman in your life, then consider the following tips while shopping to ensure that you get one she will like.
Like any item you purchase, quality can make a huge difference in levels of enjoyment and satisfaction. A good handgun will cost around $500, while a shotgun or rifle may cost substantially more. Purchasing a cheap firearm ensures that it will never be used and that the person you give it to will be put off of guns for a long time to come. Buy a high quality, well-designed firearm to ensure hours of pleasant, engaging use.
Ammunition and Caliber
In a similar vein to the above point regarding the price of the firearm, consider the price of ammunition. In this case, you want ammunition to be affordable so that the gun can actually be used. So, consider things like the 9 mm over the .45 because of the difference in the price of ammunition. The equation is simple; buy an expensive, quality gun that uses affordable ammunition. In general, the smaller the caliber, the cheaper the ammunition. As an added benefit, smaller caliber firearms tend to have less recoil (kick), which makes for more appealing to use.
You may want the firearm to be a surprise, but the person who is going to use the gun really needs to hold it to make sure that it fits her hand, is easy to manipulate, and is comfortable in terms of weight. If you have to be creative, tell her that you are shopping for yourself, but get her involved by asking for her opinion. Listen carefully to the things she tells you and then buy the gun that she likes best. Once you have found the firearm, you can always purchase it online from a site like Guns America to save a little money.
If this is a firearm that is going to be carried to more than just the shooting range, then you need to consider how she will tote it around. Will it be in a holster or will it be in a handbag? Where the gun is carried will help you decide how large and how heavy it can be. In general, purses can only handle smaller guns while you can get away with a larger gun if it is to be carried in a holster.
No matter how you wrangle with the tips above, don’t forget the most important point of all, which is to buy a brand you believe in. If you know that a certain manufacturer makes a top notch firearm, then don’t be afraid to violate one or two of the guidelines above to get what you know will work. This gun is something that is likely to last a long time, so make the effort to get one that is worth keeping.
Milton Zane is passionate about firearms. He enjoys writing about different types of guns, safety, and proper care.