About Robert Partain

Robert Partain spent 10 years on active duty in the Army as both a medic and a training NCO. He has published hundreds of articles on the internet as well as been published in print form. He currently resides in Alabama. Robert will explore the subject of concealed carry laws and other weapon related issues in society. Follow along as Robert brings his expertise and insight to the Patriot Surplus blog!

ATF Backing Off M855 Bullet Ban, For Now

M855 Ammo

Anyone paying attention to gun news of late will already know that the M855 round for the AR-15 has gotten a lot of press. Only a few weeks ago, the Obama administration, working through the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) agency tried to ban the sale and use of this particular bullet. Now the agency has backed off, with most experts suggesting that public uproar over the ban is the cause of the retreat. Much of the protest came from both congressional leaders and the National Rifle Association (NRA)

According to press releases, the ATF will shelve the ban for now while it studies over 80,000 submitted comments concerning the proposal to ban the ammo, which is known as M855“green tip” ammunition. The basis for the ban, according to the ATF, is that this particular bullet is capable of piercing body armor worn by many law enforcement personnel.

In a public statement, the agency said: “Although ATF endeavored to create a proposal that reflected a good faith interpretation of the law and balanced the interests of law enforcement, industry, and sportsmen, the vast majority of the comments received to date are critical of the framework, and include issues that deserve further study.”

As the law stands now, this round is legal because it is listed and sold for “sporting purposes”. That gives it exemption under a 1986 law that was put into force to help better protect law enforcement officials from handgun ammunition that can penetrate protective vests. At issue now are the newly designed AR-15 handguns which would be able to fire the M855 round. The proposal to ban the round came out in February 2015, but received almost instant protest from gun’s rights advocates.

On March 4, 236 members of the US Congress signed a letter that was sent to ATF Director B. Todd Jones. The letter argues that the ban could result in legal gun owners having fewer options when it came to the types of ammunition they wished to use in their legal AR-15 rifles.

The debate is not over, however; instead it is only on a holding pattern as the ATF goes through the comments it has received.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

Preventing Colds

Preventing ColdsPreventing Colds

If you have been listening to the news, you already know that America is suffering from a flu and cold outbreak. Preventing colds is a real problem in the winter and cooler months. While we have flu vaccines available, what would you do if you and your family could not get those vaccines? More recently, the news is filled with stories of parents who refuse vaccinations. How do you prevent transmission of these illnesses when there is a distinct niche of parents who don’t believe in vaccinations. Here are some tips that can help you prevent flu and colds from getting to your family.

First of all, you should know that there is simply no known cure for either flu or colds. Because of this, prevention is key.

Preventing ColdsClean Hands: Flu and cold viruses are most commonly spread through direct contact. When someone who has the flu or a cold, sneezes onto his or her hand and then touches someone or something else, the virus sticks to that new host. These little buggers can live for hours and will happily make the new host sick. By washing your hands often, you and your family can help reduce the spread of these viruses.

preventing coldsHands Off: If at all possible, never cough or sneeze into your hands. Again, once the viruses get onto your hands, they can spread quickly. Preventing colds and the flu virus transmission is greatly reduced when you keep your hands away from sneezes and coughs.

Face Off: Flu and cold viruses will easily get into your body via nose, eyes, or mouth. Try to keep your hands off your face and the faces of others. If you have kids, try to teach them this lesson as well as children love to touch one another.

Less Smoking: If you smoke, either stop or cut back during flu season. It is a fact that smokers get more flu and colds than non-smokers. It is also a fact those who are in the same room with smoke can lower their immune systems. Smoke is known to dry out nasal passages as well as affect the delicate hairs that line the nose and lungs. These hairs move in waves and carry debris (including cold and flu viruses) out of the nose and lungs.

preventing coldsPhytochemicals: These particular natural chemicals come from certain types of plants. These include dark green, yellow, or red fruits and vegetables. It is a great idea to eat these foods all year round, but especially during flu and cold season. When possible, eat fresh vegetables and fruits rather than canned.

Less Alcohol: Chemicals in alcohol can suppress your immune system in many ways. Those who drink heavily are known to be easier targets for flu and cold viruses. The less you drink, the better your immune system will be able to protect you.

While preventing colds and flu transmission in totality is impossible, you can put these tips to work to help give you and your family an edge. This can be very important if you ever find yourself without medical assistance.

Backpack Sizing – What You Need to Know

Backpack SizingHow to Size a Backpack – Backpack Sizing

Do you know where to begin when it comes to backpack sizing? An important step to getting the most fun from your outdoor adventures is selecting the right backpack. In order to choose the right backpack, you should consider three things:

  • Length of trip (overnight, a week, longer?).
  • Weight of gear to be carried.
  • Your torso size (hips to shoulders).

When it comes to backpack sizing, most modern backpacks rate the amount of space available for carrying “stuff” in liters these days. The more liters a pack will hold the more “stuff” it will hold. The amount of capacity your pack needs to have often depends on how long you will be out, as well as what specific items you will be taking. Some people are happy to head out for an overnight trip, taking nothing but the essentials. Other folks, on the same overnight trip, might want to take everything they can plus the kitchen sink! Choose a backpack that meets your personal capacity needs.

As a general rule with respect to backpack sizing, the following can be used to estimate needed capacity:

  • 1-2 day trip: 20-50 liters
  • 2-5 day trip: 60-80 liters
  • 5 or more days: 80+ liters

Backpack SizingTorso Size:

It cannot be stated enough that getting the right size for your torso is crucial if you want the best service from your pack. The amount of weight you will be carrying (much or little) will mean nothing if the pack does not fit you properly. Any load will become a burden after a short time. Make sure your pack:

  • Is the right size for your TORSO, not your overall body height
  • Has a snug, but comfortable, fit around your hips

Torso Measurements:

Measure from the level of your spine (at the top of your shoulders/collar bones) down to the top of your hips (the highest part of the hip bone). This should be recorded in inches. Manufacturers usually size backpacks as follows:

  • Size: Extra Small—Torso 15.5 inches
  • Size: Small-Torso 16 to 17½ inches
  • Size: Medium or Regular—Torso 18 to 19½ inches
  • Size: Large or Tall—Torso 20+ inches

Waist Size:

Many modern backpacks offer buyers interchangeable hip-belts. Understand that about 80 percent of the pack’s weight is supported by the hips, so getting the right hip-belt is important. Measure your hips around the high (top) part of your hips and waist.

Backpack SizingSome Important Notes about Backpack Sizing:

If you plan on being out during cold months or at higher altitudes, consider buying a larger pack as you will almost certainly have to carry additional supplies and gear.

Keep in mind that packing “light” is a skill and requires experience. Many people will buy a small pack thinking they can pack light when, in reality, they find they cannot do this. It is better to have more pack and not need it than to find yourself without enough pack.

Check the pack you are interested in buying for pockets and hydration systems (if you want easy access to fluids). Many packs have a hydration pack built into them. Click here to see our selection of hydration compatible backpacks. It is best to check these pack assets now as not all packs come with pockets or hydration systems. Check now to avoid disappointment later.

Snow Bound At Home

Snow Bound at Home

Snow Bound At Home

Would you be able to survive being snow bound at home? Most Americans live in a world where we have power, water, heat and lights. All the niceties of a comfortable life, available at the flip of a switch. This comfortable lifestyle can be lost easier than many of us wish to imagine. For the purposes of this article, let’s look at what can happen if a severe snowstorm dumps a few feet of snow on top of you and your family. How would you survive the ordeal until life returns to normal?

Downed Power LinesA snowstorm or ice storm can shut things down fast, usually without much warning. One of the first things we tend to lose is the power. It does not take much for power lines to fail, and when they do, entire areas can be thrown back into the dark ages. When the power fails, lights go out, many types of phones go out, the heat goes off if we have electric heaters. The list goes on and on. In some areas, if the power goes out, the water pumps stop working, and you may be without water as well.

So, what can you do if you live in a home that has lost all power, communication, and possibly water? A winter storm might just kill you and your family if you do not take precautions.

Be Prepared:

How many times have we heard this bit of advice, and yet how many homes are ready to endure this type of emergency? Not many, if the truth is told. At a minimum, you should have on hand:

  • Bottled Water
  • Canned or Packaged Food
  • Kerosene Heater and Fuel
  • Flashlights, Batteries
  • Battery or Solar-Powered Radio
  • Candles

It cannot be said enough that the better prepared you are for a cold-weather emergency, the safer and more comfortable you will be. However, if you do not have what you need, you can still survive this type of emergency. Here are some tips.

First, don’t panic. For some people, this is easier said than done. However, keeping a cool head (no pun intended) is crucial as it prevents people from making bad mistakes.

Second, if you know the power will be out for an extended period, check in with your neighbors (if you have any). You may need their help, and they may need your help. It is best to make contact as soon as safely possible.

Third, if you have no heat at all (no fireplace, heater, etc.), you need to get busy right away preparing a safe place. Find the smallest room you have in the house and make it your bunker. This is where you want all people in the house to gather, even if it is a walk-in closet. If you have candles, use those to beat back the cold. They may not make you warm and toasty, but they can be useful in providing enough heat (in a small space) to keep you alive.

Fourth, bundle yourself and family in layers of warm clothing. The layering principle is important, so make sure you do it.

If you need water, the water in the back of your toilet is usually safe to drink. You don’t have to tell your family where you got it!

Use your vehicle’s heater for periodic heating, but make sure you keep the interior ventilated. If weather and safety allow, build a fire in your yard to help keep warm, but make sure someone monitors it.

Lastly, keep moving and avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, and it can draw heat from your body. When you drink, it dilates the peripheral blood vessels near your skin. This means more blood and heat flows to these vessels. That takes blood and much-needed heat away from the core of your body. Although it feels like you are warm because your skin is warm, your vital organs are not as warm as you might think they are.





Winter Socks


Winter Socks

When hard, bitter winter sets in, even the most seemingly insignificant items become crucial. Such is the case with winter socks. It has been said that once your feet get cold it is all but impossible to warm the rest of your body, no matter what you do. People already experienced with outdoor life will know how to buy the best winter socks; those who may be new to winter adventures may not. This article is written for them.

Types of Socks to Use with Your Boots

Winter Socks

The type of sock that you wear outdoors in cold weather is every bit as important as the kind of boot or shoe you wear. In fact, if you wear the wrong type of sock in extreme weather, it will not matter much what kind of boots you are wearing. Your feet will get cold (possibly wet) and therein lays the dangers of frostbite or other cold weather injuries.

Don’t Wear Cotton Socks in the Winter

Most of us have many pairs of cotton socks. These may be fine for everyday wear around the house and such, but they are horrible for cold weather protection. The reason that cotton socks are a poor option for winter is because the material offers virtually no insulation protection at all, and they are known to hold moisture. Keep in mind that as soon as a cotton sock gets wet, all of its insulating value is gone; not that it has much to begin with. Moreover, once wet, from perspiration or external water, it keeps your foot wet. The result is cold and wet feet.

Quality Winter Socks

Anyone planning to spend time outdoors during cold weather needs to invest in at least two pairs of quality winter socks. You wear one pair, and if they get wet, you put on the other pair while the first pair dries out. Armed forces across the globe have long used this technique to protect their troops, and it works.

So, what type of sock is best for winter wear?

Many people swear by the wool sock, and so do I. Wool offers exceptional insulating quality, and it dries super fast. Even your body heat can be used to dry them out. Other types of good winter socks include those made of shearling or fleece. All of these socks maintain their insulating abilities even when wet. These types of winter socks are thicker which allows them to absorb more moisture than any cotton sock.

You can find a wide variety of high-quality winter socks either online or at most sporting good’s stores. They may cost a few bucks more than cotton socks, but the investment is worth it. It only takes a short amount of time before frostbite sets in on those who are not prepared for it. If you live in a snow-prone area, throw a pair in your vehicle just in case you get stranded and have to hike for help.

Click here to check out our selection of winter socks.

Evaluating the Best Winter Eyewear

winter eyewear

Winter Eyewear

Now that winter is here, it is time to consider winter eyewear that can provide protection against the unique conditions your eyes will face. It is a mistake to believe that overcast, cloudy days and other winter conditions are not dangerous. In fact, without the proper eye protection, your eyes can suffer temporary or permanent damage.

Why You Need Winter Eyewear Protection:

Many people do not know that their eyes can become sunburned during the winter months. As much as 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can be reflected off of snow and ice. These rays can come at you from all angles, making it nearly impossible to avoid them. This is true even on those cloudy days.

UltraViolet (UV) rays that make it to the eyes can cause a variety of problems. One condition due to exposure photo keratitis, also known as snow blindness. Intense glare from any source can cause the symptoms of this painful condition.

In addition to preventing snow blindness, protecting your eyes during the winter can also help to prevent other eye conditions, such as:

  • Wrinkles
  • Cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Age-related macular degeneration

It is not only the sun’s rays that can harm your eyes, but also the cold itself. When eyes are exposed to cold, they can become painful, and you may find yourself with blurred vision. In extreme cases, the cornea can actually freeze.

While eye damage can occur at any time when UV rays are hitting the eyes, the highest risk of damage is during the late winter months and early spring. You will find that UV rays are strongest between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, and are stronger the more south you go and at higher altitudes.

Children Need Winter Eyewear Protection Too:

We often miss thinking about our children and their eye protection when they go out to play in the winter. Studies have shown UV rays can damage young eyes easier than adult eyes. It is also worth knowing that UV exposure will build up over a person’s lifetime. It is especially important to have protection for your kids if they play in the snow and this includes any activity that takes place on snow (or ice). You should look for protection that provide 100 percent blockage of UV rays.

To encourage your kids to actually wear their sunglasses, consider letting them pick out the style they want. There is an enormous variety of high-quality sunglasses on the market today.

Winter Eyewear for Adults

The sunglasses that you pick out for yourself need to block 100 percent of UV rays as well. You can easily find the exact style of glasses that fit your needs online or at eyewear clinics. If you spend a lot of time in bright snow, consider buying wraparound sunglasses as they provide the most protection against the rays. If you ski or snowboard, goggles are your best bet as they protect you from the rays, wind, and cold.

Check out our selection of sunglasses at Patriot Surplus for a great deal on winter eyewear.

Dislocated Joints: More Common Than You Think

Dislocated Joints: More Common Than You Think

There are many types of injuries that can occur when we are out in the wilds. One of the more common types of injuries are dislocated joints. These injuries can occur because of falls, twisting actions, and are often seen in ATV-type accidents. When confronted with a dislocated joint, many people tend to panic as the limb can look simply awful if the injury is serious. Here are some tips on handle dislocations.

dislocated_jointAs is true with any serious injury, if at all possible, get professional medical care as quickly as possible. Even so, there are some things you can do to help the victim in the meantime.

First Aid for Dislocated Joints:

When dislocations happen, the victim may freak out when they see the injury. Your first task is to reassure the person and keep them as still and quiet as possible. The less they move, the less pain they will feel.

If you find that the skin has been broken because of a broken bone, or if you believe the bone may be broken under the injury, you will need to do a couple of things:

Keep the open wound as clean as possible to prevent infection. Don’t touch or breathe on the wound. Dress the open wound with a sterile bandage before you move on to immobilizing the limb.

The next step may take some creative thinking on your part. It is important to splint the injury in place. That means not moving the limb or trying to “pop” a dislocated joint back into place. You want to tie the injury above and below the joint, but make sure you do not cut off the blood circulation.

If you can, apply ice to the area to help reduce swelling and to ease pain. Once you have the person stabilized, treat him or her for shock. You do this by keeping the person on his or her back and elevating their feet about a foot off the ground (if the legs are not injured). Cover the person with a blanket or jacket. It is imperative that you not move the person if you think they may also have other injuries to the back or neck. Moreover, of course, get help quickly.

Remember, with dislocated joints, do not:

  • Move the person any more than you have to until the injury is splinted.
  • Move the person if there is any chance of neck or back injury.
  • Move anyone who has a hip, leg, or pelvis injury unless you simply have to do so.
  • If you have to move them, drag them by their clothing as gently as possible.
  • Also, never try to put the joint back into place!

You can reassure the person by telling them that almost all dislocated joints can be treated and fixed and that full recovery is often seen within a few weeks.

Keep in mind that you as the caregiver will have to keep your wits about yourself if you have someone with a dislocated joint. Stay calm, move these steps, and get help. That is the best you can do with these types of injuries.

Hiking Boots: How To Select the Best Pair

Hiking BootsHiking Boots: How To Select the Best Pair

If you are planning to spend some time on any nature trail, you need to get the best hiking boots that you can afford. This does not mean the most expensive boots, but the hiking boots that meet all of your needs and are made of quality materials. Many people, especially those who may be new to hiking, may not know what to look for when selecting the right footwear. Here are some valuable tips to help you get started.

Where Are You Going with Your Hiking Boots?

This is the first question to ask. Many folks believe that they have to buy the biggest, toughest hiking boots on the shelf. This is not true. For those who are going on short, fairly easy hikes, lightweight hiking boots will work just fine. On the other hand, if you plan to hike up steep hills or travel over a variety of different terrain types, then a beefier hiking boot will be a better option for you.

There are four categories of hiking boots from which you can choose:

Light hiking shoes look a lot like running shoes and have a low cut design. These are a good choice for short hikes over maintained trails that are not too hilly or rocky. They are also very affordable and come in a huge variety of styles and colors.

The next category falls under the traditional hiking boot label. These come in either mid- or high cut designs and are an excellent option for challenging day hikes or longer hikes of several days. The important aspects found in these boots are that they provide a good deal of ankle support while also providing a great deal of flexibility once they are broken in properly. They also make a good “all around” boot for just about any use.

The third category is the backpacking boot line. These rugged hiking boots are made for long (day wise) hikes where carrying heavy loads is anticipated. They are very durable and provide a great deal of flex and support.  While they are heavier (in weight) than hiking boots, they are also much stronger and perform well on virtually any terrain.

The last type of boot is the mountaineering boot. As you might imagine, these are designed for tough terrains and rocky ground. They are the weightiest of all the hiking boots and are not a good option for those who want to walk or hike only. They are designed for climbing and quality brands can take on crampons for icy conditions.

There is no reason that everyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors cannot do so in comfort. The key, of course, is matching your type of hike to the right type of hiking boots. The best news is you can find a variety of good-quality hiking boots online these days. Just make sure that you get the right fit for your foot whether you buy online or off. When shopping for your hiking boots remember that you will need some extra room to handle thicker socks.

Check out our line of hiking boots at Patriot Surplus today!

Lt. Alonzo Cushing: Lost But Not Forgotten

Lt. Alonzo CushingLt. Alonzo Cushing: Lost But Not Forgotten

The Medal of Honor is the highest award that the United States can offer our military personnel. Only those who have shown “gallantry above and beyond the call of duty” will be honored with this prestigious award. On November 6 of this year, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to the descendants of First Lt. Alonzo Cushing.

Lt. Cushing was killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, dying on 3 July 1863, as he commanded an artillery battery that was overrun by Confederate forces. It took over 150 years to being this young soldier’s heroism to light, culminating in receiving the nation’s highest military award. The brutal fighting that took place over this three-day battle in Pennsylvania is often cited as being a major turning point in the Civil War. Cushing was 22 at the time of his death, commanding six cannons and 126 men, with his battery positioned on Cemetery Ridge, facing thousands of opposing soldiers during  Pickett’s Charge.

The award ceremony took place in the White House, with Helen Ensign, 86, a distant cousin of Lt. Alonzo Cushing, accepting the medal on his behalf. President Obama said to the gathering: “This medal is a reminder that, no matter how long it takes, it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

This award was exceptional, also, in that it took so long for it to be granted. Generally, the Medal of Honor recommendation takes place within 2 years of the heroic act, with the medal presented with 3 years. As mentioned above, Cushing’s took over 150 years. In fact, an exemption had to be granted by the U.S. Congress. Obama went on to say: “Sometimes even the most extraordinary stories can get lost in the passage of time.”

In the case of Lt. Cushing, his Battery A, 4th Artillery, was facing an estimated 13,000 advancing soldiers on the last day of the battle. With his battery under intense artillery fire, Cushing continued to fight even though he was wounded in the shoulder and stomach by artillery fragments, refusing to move to the rear for treatment. A bullet to his head finally brought him down.

Recognition of Lt. Cushing’s valor required the sustained efforts of his family who spent decades writing letter on Cushing’s behalf. Additionally, it also involved the efforts of Wisconsin representatives Ron Kind and Jim Sensenbrenner who were at the forefront of seeing this honor bestowed.

Our nation salutes all of our past, present and future military who so often are called upon to give that “last, full measure of devotion”.

Fitting Your Hiking Boots: What You Need to Know

Fitting Your Hiking BootsFitting Your Hiking Boots: What You Need to Know

So, you have decided on the type of hiking boot that you need and want. The next step is fitting your hiking boots. It should be noted that fitting a hiking boot is not the same as fitting a regular shoe. Here are some tips on how you can get the best fit for the hiking boots that you want.

Socks! It is always a good idea to wear good-quality hiking socks when on the trails. It is also an excellent idea to wear cold weather socks if you are out in the winter. These types of socks are thicker than normal socks, and that added thickness needs to be accounted for when you fit your hiking boots.

The best way to get the best fit is to wear a pair of appropriate socks when trying on your boots. In fact, this is the only way to know for sure if you are getting a boot that will be large enough to hold your foot and the sock comfortably.

The next step is to put the boots on make sure that the weight of the boots is to your liking. Keep in mind that rugged hiking boots are often heavier than other types of shoes, and they may take some getting used to over time. Lightweight hiking boots usually do not feel much heavier than, say, running shoes. However, backpacking boots and mountain boots will feel different. If the boot is just too heavy, choose another style or brand.

Once you have the boots on your feet, see if you can slip one finger behind your heel (before you lace the boot). You will need this added space for sock room. Your toes should not come into direct contact with the front of the boot. Remember, you need more room in hiking boots than in other types of shoes.

Lace up the boots and take a short walk around. You want to pay attention to whether or not your heel slips around. It should not slip around. This type of movement is what causes painful blisters on the foot. Also, make sure that your ankles have the support you need while you do your walk-about. Good-quality boots will need to be broken in a bit so do not be too critical if the boots feel a bit tight at this point. You should also move about in different ways. For instance, squat down, kneel down, tiptoe, etc. If you feel any pinching, you may need to select another boot.

Tip: If you find a great online deal on the hiking boots that you want but are concerned about the fit, jot down the boot’s information and go to a brick-and-mortar sporting or tactical store. Find that boot and go through the steps noted above. When you find the proper size and fit, jot down the information on the boot and go home and order it online. No, this is not cheating. It is simply smart shopping.