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!

3 Free Ways to Store Survival Food


It is no secret that preparing for a long-term emergency can be expensive. This is especially true for those who are just starting out on their prepping journey. With that in mind, here are four simple and free ways that you can store your emergency food supplies. First, however, a few basics. It is important to always keep in mind that air, pests, and moisture are the main culprits with food spoilage. You want to minimize exposure to all of these for the longest shelf-life of foods. The use of any type of container that will allow one or more of these elements to enter should be avoided.

Glass Jars:

Many of the groceries that you buy each week come in good-quality glass jars. These jars can be used for food storage as well once the original product has been consumed and the jar is thoroughly cleaned. You cannot use these jars for canning, however, as the lids will not seal. You can, however, use them (with their original lids) for storing a variety of dried foods. They can be used for storing items such as nuts, cereal, dried fruit, coffee, tea bags, sugar, beans, barley, rice, pasta, flour, etc.

Please note that most of the above items, when purchased, come in paper or cardboard containers. These are exactly the types of containers that air, moisture, and pests can get into. Using a jar with a tight fitting lid prevents this from happening. Make sure you write the date you put the food into it on the jar. As an added layer of protection, food can be placed into zip-lock bags before being placed into the jar and sealed with the lid. This method will not keep food fresh for decades, but it will keep your emergency food safe for a couple of years. Remember to rotate your food every so often.

Food StoragePlastic Soda Bottles:

Another free way to get some storage space for your emergency food stash is to use large soda bottles. Once the soda is gone, thoroughly wash and dry the bottle. Use bottles that have the PET or PETE stamp on the bottom. These bottles have a lower risk of breaking down (chemically) and are the best option for food storage. Make sure you date the bottles and don’t forget to rotate your stock. This method can keep certain foods good for 2 years or so, but they are not entirely rodent proof! Keep that in mind if you have a rodent problem. Soda bottles are best used for storing items such as salt, pepper, spices, beans, flour, rice, etc. They can also be used for your emergency water supply as long as you remember to empty, clean, and refill them once a month.

Food-Grade Plastic Buckets:

These are big pails (3 to 6 gallon) and can often be had for free simply be visiting a nearby restaurant and asking for their empties. You will have to wash them thoroughly, of course, and that includes the lids. Most restaurants will happily let you have them as it removes clutter from their work space. You can use these big buckets in a lot of ways, and not just for food storage.

For food storage, the absolute best method is to put your food into a Mylar bag, heat-seal the bag, and store it in the bucket along with a desiccant pouch or two. Then, seal the lid on tightly. This method will keep dried foods good for decades. If you do not have Mylar bags and heating tools (for sealing the bags), you can use large freezer bags. Just make sure you get as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing it. This method only keeps food good for about one year, but it does work.

If you are just getting started on your prepping adventure and have limited funds, follow these quick and easy tips to score storage containers for free.

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

Soft Tissue Injuries


If you spend any time at all enjoying the great outdoors, chances are good you will experience, or have to treat someone who experiences, a soft tissue injury. These are, perhaps, the most common types of injuries that we see with outdoor activities. That being the case, it is good to know something about these injuries in order to be prepared for them when they happen.

What Are Soft Tissue Injuries?

“Soft tissue injuries” is a broad term that covers injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These injuries do NOT include serious head injuries, broken bones, dislocations, crushing injuries, or severe back and neck injuries. Some of the more common types of soft tissue injuries include:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Bursitis
  • Bruises
  • Tendonitis

Sprained AnkleTreating Sprains:

Sprains are very common injuries, especially for hikers and hunters. This type of injury comes about because of wrenching or twisting on a ligament. They are often seen in ankles, wrists, and knees. The degree of damage can vary from mild to severe. To treat these injuries, remember RICE:

Rest, Ice, Compression, (and) Elevation.

Treating Strains:

A strain comes about because of overuse, force, or over-stretching of a tendon or muscle. Strains often happen due to tripping or falling or hiking over hard terrain for extended periods of time without the proper conditioning. The treatment for strains in the field is also RICE.

Treating Bursitis:

Bursitis occurs when the fluid-filled sac found in some joints becomes inflamed or irritated. This type of injury is most often seen in hips, shoulders, knees, and elbows. Bursitis is triggered by overuse of the joint and often the person has a past history of this problem. Again, RICE is the best treatment for those in the field.

Treating Bruises:

Bruising occurs because of direct contact between a hard object and a body part. When the blood vessels below the impact site rupture, bruising occurs. In most cases, the person can move along even with a bruise. However, if the bruise is large and painful, you should have the person remain still and quiet for a few moments and check to see if they have a broken bone or limited mobility in the area. A cold pack or ice can be applied to the area to help with the pain.

Treating Tendonitis:

Inflammation or irritation to a tendon can cause tendonitis. This injury is most often seen when repeated motions are performed. Rock climbers may experience this injury, but others may experience it as well if they are doing some activity over and over again that they are not used to doing. The treatment for this injury is RICE.

As you can see, one set of treatments (RICE) can be used to treat a variety of injuries. While it is easy to remember what RICE stands for, don’t be fooled into thinking these treatments are too simple to actually work. These easy treatments have been used for centuries now and the reason for that is because they work!

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

Binocular Tips for Preppers


Binoculars are the sort of prepping gear that you do not miss until you need them. It is good advice to say that sooner or later you will need a pair (or two) of good quality field glasses. Most preppers would do well to have two sets of glasses: one for use in a base-camp environment and the other for use in the field. A good option for base-camp use is a set of 7x50mm binoculars. A good option for field use is a set of 7x35mm binoculars; these are lighter to carry and offer better handling than the larger 7x50mm.

Hang BinocularsTo understand what these numbers mean, in the 7×50 glasses, the 7 refers to the magnification level (how far you can see). The higher this number, the farther you can see; but more weight will be added to the glasses as well. This can be a problem as the more weight there is the less “steadiness” most people have when using the glasses. That second number (50 in this case) tells you the objective size in millimeters (mm). The larger this number is, the more light will enter the binoculars and go to your eyes. Again, the higher this number, the more weight the glasses will have and the less “steadiness” you may have when using them.

Many people are not aware of the fact that with a 50mm lens, they can see fairly well in the dark. Once your eyes have become accustomed to the dark, you will be able to see more with the glasses than with the unaided eye. If there is moonlight, you may be able to see as well as if you had night vision glasses. Note: you will not be able to see into shadowy areas very well at all, so keep that in mind before entering those areas. To get a better idea of how well the glasses will behave in darkness, look at its twilight factor. Many brands will have this information and you want binoculars that have a factor of at least 17.

The second big factor in low light performance is how well the lenses and the anti-reflection coatings allow light to pass through. This is often expressed in a percentage. The higher the quality of the glass, and how well the lenses are ground, makes a big difference. The increasingly effective coatings developed by the optical industry are critical. Reflections on the lenses play hob with how well you can see through binoculars, and poor coatings cut down on how much light gets through. Unfortunately, the only way to know about these points for sure is to look through the binoculars. Some makers do give figures on light transmission, which is helpful, and of course some companies have reputations for quality that you can rely on. Other brands may be a cipher, unless you can actually try them. If you plan on hunting during low light periods, consider buying 8x56mm glasses. They will weigh a bit more, but they provide a much better visual in low light, which is a good trade-off when you need to feed your family.

Consider these tips when you are determining the best set of binoculars for your needs.

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

The iPhone Case That Can Get Your Kids Killed

Gun Case

Anyone who follows the news will know that several people have been killed by police because of airsoft-type weapons being mistaken for real weapons. Now, there is a product on the market that will only add to these tragic numbers. It is the iPhone case that looks a lot like a pistol. Usually carried in the person’s back pocket, it can be very difficult to tell this is a “toy,” even from only a few feet away. It is, as many police are saying, an accident waiting to happen.

CaseThere are two models: a semi-auto and a revolver. The iPhone itself is hidden within the person’s pocket, while the “weapon” part is visible. It is safe to say that within days of this idiotic case coming out, public sentiment went through the roof. One of the first online stores to carry the case has already taken it off its site because of public protest. In addition, eBay has also removed it from their site. Even so, there are still online (and off-line) vendors carrying the case and selling them (mostly) to teens.

The potential for accidental shootings by police is so high with these cases that law enforcement across the country has already hit the social media outlets to warn teens and parents to stay away from these things. One New Jersey prosecutor put it this way on Facebook: “A police officer’s job is hard enough, without having to make a split second decision in the dark of night when someone decides to pull this [case] out while stopped for a motor vehicle violation.” He went on to say: “it’s just an accident waiting to happen.”

One Alabama detective put it this way: “This is the most stupid and ridiculous thing I’ve seen in a while. In the pocket, it looks like a real gun and it’s going to draw attention and possibly get you shot.” Just think of the commotion it’s going to cause if you walk into Wal-Mart with that hanging out of your pocket. I have read on the Internet and received officer alerts on real guns that are hidden in cell phones and cell phone cases. This is stupid and very dangerous.

Seeing is believing. Judge for yourself.

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

The Smokeless Range Simulator

Shooting Range

Laser Ammo USA has launched its Smokeless Range simulator. What makes this simulator so impressive is that it is priced low enough for civilian use and purchase. It is said to be the first marksmanship and judgmental simulator that is actually affordable. This simulator can be used for either firearm or Airsoft practice, and can be used in the home or office. In the past, only governmental agencies could afford such a device.

The Smokeless Range can be used to hone gun skills on a variety of weapon types. Users can practice with pistol, rifle, or shotgun and train on Fast Draw, IPDA, IPSIC, hunting or home defense skills. The system can be used with Laser AirSoft solutions as well, and thousands of free games are available for download.

Laser AmmoThe Smokeless Range is currently priced at $399. This price includes a high speed camera for Red Lasers or IR, five marksmanship drills, and five recreational drills. Marksmanship drills include: Transitional, Tracking, Speed, Moving Targets, and Matching Drills. The Recreational drills include: Dueling Tree, Target, Trap, Can Toss, and Bomb Blast.

The system is portable, easy to install and allows the use of either Red Laser or IR. It can be used with Airsoft weapons or with personal firearms. Check out the specs below for minimum computer requirements and full details.

  • Windows 7 or 8
  • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core or better (AMD or Intel)
  • Graphics: Intel HD or better (Must support 1280×720 resolution)
  • Disk Space: 500MB or more
  • USB 2.0 port
  • HDMI or VGA port for TV or projector connection
  • Projector capable of 1280×720 resolution and minimum 2000 lumens
  • MSRP: $399

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

When the Power Grid Grinds to a Halt

Power Grid

Many people believe that the US is vulnerable to attack from other countries or from terror organizations. This is all true, but one of the most devastating attacks we might see in our lifetimes may come from outer space. No, not aliens…solar flares and other cosmic events. We know these events can hit the Earth because they have done so in the past with varying degrees of destruction and upheaval. The problem, of course, is back then people were not as reliant on the electric grid as we are today.

Consider this: how would your life change if the US lost electricity for two years or longer? It would affect your home, no doubt, but it would also affect virtually everything else in your life. No water supply from the tap, no gas delivery for your vehicles, no food delivery to the stores, no banking, no job, no medical services (or very limited services). And those are just a few of things we will have live without until service is returned.

And what about that? How long would it take for America to get back on its electrical feet? Best estimates are that a failure of the nation’s power grid would take at least 4 years to repair (and that may not include full service to all parts of the country). It is important to understand that our government (local and national) has not been doing due diligence when it comes to keeping our grid updated and in good repair.

SolarResearch, studies, and physical inspections of our power grid infrastructure have shown that we are very at-risk for failure. Much of our grid is based on technology that was developed back in the 1970’s (or earlier). Improvements are being made, but not fast enough. It will take decades for the grid to get up to standards, and there may not be that much time before the next cosmic event occurs.

If the grid goes down (and some will say “when” the grid goes down) those living in urban areas will suffer the most. Congress has been told by more than one expert that there is a 100% chance that a severe geo-magnetic event, strong enough to cripple the electric grid is a certainty.

The last huge event that was recorded took place in 1859 and is known as the Carrington event. We were not so tied to electricity then but, even so, this event caused massive problems with telegraph systems which were in use.

If the same type of event occurred today, NASA scientists say it would cause catastrophic damage to the US infrastructure, and that it would take at least 4 years to repair, costing as much as $2 trillion dollars the first year alone. It gets worse, as the Center for Security Policy estimates that 9 out of 10 Americans will die in the first year from starvation, dehydration, lack of medical services, or violence as the nation (especially the cities) turn to “survival crime” to stay alive. Experts from the CIA agree with this assessment.

The only thing people can do to survive this level of upheaval is to prepare for it now by stockpiling food, water and other supplies and also looking for safe “bug out” areas to go to if they live in urban areas. It really is not a matter of “if” but “when.”

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

What You Should Know About the Islamic State

ISIS sign

Known by various names over the last few years—ISIS, ISIL, and now simply IS— this terrorist group’s origins and goals have not changed.  It is also known that this radical group—and many like it—are not going away any time soon. The old adage that “knowledge is power” is just as true today as it ever has been. With that in mind, knowing more about this enemy to mankind is a worthy endeavor. Check out the fast fact sheet below to learn the basics about the United State’s new enemy.

Name Changes:

This group of radical jihadists is an off-shoot of al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI). It became known as ISIL which stands for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” ISIL then became known as ISIS, “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIS has now morphed into IS, or simply “Islamic State.” These name changes reflect the group’s evolving philosophical, political, and geographic growth and expansion.

ISISEstimated Wealth:

Armed groups must have access to financing. It has been estimated that IS has assets of at least $2 billion. Of this amount, 5% comes from outside donations, 40% comes from sales of oil and electricity in certain areas, 30% comes from theft, extortion, and taxes they impose on those they overrun and 25% comes from other unknown sources.

Fast Timeline:

  • Takeover of Raqqa, a provincial capitol city in Syria: March 2013
  • IS captures the Iraq city of Fallujah: January 2014
  • IS captures Mosul and declares caliphate: June 2014
  • US airstrikes begin: August 2014

Who Are They?

IS (Islamic State) is a Sunni jihad group that has the stated goal of establishing an Islamic nation in the Middle East, with the ultimate goal of forcing Islam onto all peoples of the world. The group itself was created and formed by various fringe groups and movements that came together into this current fighting force. Current estimates of its numbers fall between 10,000 and 18,000 fighters. While small in size, its methods of brutality on those it overpowers has made it a force of fear, causing many Iraqi and Syrian forces to flee from them without putting up much of a fight. It has been suggested that IS forces are better paid and trained than other radical Islamic groups, which helps in its recruiting efforts.

The following is just one example of the many statements that IS puts out when it overtakes a city or village. This statement was released in June of 2014 to the citizens of Mosul:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

The State of Nineveh

Subject: Mandate

In the Name of Allah the Merciful

After liberation of the State of Nineveh, and the welcome shown by the people of the state to their brotherly mujahideen, and after the great conquest, and the defeat of the Safavid [Persian] troops in the State of Nineveh, and its liberation, and Allah willing, it will become the headquarters for the mujahideen.

Therefore we request that the people of this state offer their unmarried women so that they can fulfill their duty of jihad by sex to their brotherly mujahideen. Failure to comply with this mandate will result in enforcing the laws of Sharia upon them.

Allah we have notified, Allah bear witness.

Sha’ban 13, 1435

June 12, 2014

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

Fixed Blade Knives: What are the Best?

There are few tools as important to the careful prepper and survivalist as a good fixed blade knife. The problem, of course, is there are many knives available, some touting how great they are (when they are not), and choosing a high-quality knife can be challenging. Here are some tips on some of the better knives on the market today that you can easily find and afford.

Please keep in mind that this list is not organized by quality level. All of these fine knives have proven themselves as being superior to virtually any other survival knife available. They also have long histories of quality service.

The Tom Brown Tracker Knife: Let’s start with one of the most durable and useful knives that you will find today. This knife is somewhat expensive but it will last a lifetime (or longer) and can be used for a variety of purposes. It is especially at home in the wilderness, where its unique blade shape makes cutting and skinning a snap. The blade has three sections, and each is designed for a specific purpose: sawing, chopping, and cutting. Because of its long handle, it is great for wilderness work such as gutting fish and game or cutting firewood.

The USMC Mark 2 KA-BAR: This knife was originally designed for the US Marine Corp back in 1942 as a combat knife. The years have only made it better and it is, perhaps, the most famous survival knife in the world today. It is also one of the most “used” knives by Marines and survivalists today. The reason for that is that this knife is all but indestructible. It can pull its weight for any number of jobs and is a fantastic all-round utility knife.

KnivesThe Morakniv Companion: For those on a budget, consider the Companion. It can found for around $30 and it is far superior to most other survival knives in that price range. It is available in a variety of colors as well. These knives are durable and tough and will hold up where other less expensive knives will break, bend, or become useless.

The ESEE-6 Survival Knife: Those looking for a fine general purpose knife will find that this knife fits the bill nicely. It can be used for cutting, chopping, batoning, cleaning game and self-defense in urban conditions. The blade is made of carbon steel (1095 grade) and you can remove the handles.

The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion: This is the knife to look at if you plan to do heavy duty work. Ethan Becker designed this knife for use in tough environments. It has a thick, wide blade that can be used for just about anything in the wild and stand up to that use and abuse. It would not be your first choice for skinning game or fish, but it would be your first choice when setting up camp or cutting wood for fires.

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

How to Gather Everything You Need to Prep for Disaster in One Year: Part 2

Prepping Supplies

(To begin prepping from the first month, consult Part 1 of this series)

Sixth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 1-2 boxes of energy bars per individual
  • 3-6 rolls of paper towels
  • 1 box per individual N-95 or N-100 face masks

Tasks to Do

  • Refresh all tap water
  • Check dates on accumulated supplies and medication

Seventh Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 1-2 units of canned fruit juice per individual
  • NOAA Alert Weather Radio
  • 1-2 bottles of multi-vitamins
  • Emergency tool kit
  • 100-200 ft. of rope or paracord
  • Water purification kit or system

Tasks to Do

  • Begin learning first aid (information is online and free)
  • Set up a mock camp site and teach others how to perform basic tasks
  • Locate local fallout shelters and/or emergency shelters

Eighth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 1 box of sealed crackers per individual
  • 1 week supply of instant oatmeal or cereal per individual
  • 2 boxes of large quality garbage bags
  • Camping cookware (pots, pans, etc.)

Tasks to Do

  • Make your “bug out” bag (see articles on this subject here)
  • Refresh water and check dates. Rotate stock as needed.
  • Learn how to fish (online or with someone who knows) if needed

PreppingNinth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • Extra batteries for devices
  • 2 rolls of duct tape
  • Extra ammo if needed
  • Fishing gear if needed

Tasks to Do

  • Ensure all stored medications are not expired, rotate if needed
  • Continue with general prepper education

Tenth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • Purchase any items not already on-hand from prior months
  • Extra pet meds if needed

Tasks to Do

  • If possible, pack up some gear and go camping
  • Imagine you are in an emergency situation and see how you fare
  • Keep notes on what needs improvement
  • Hunt and fish for your food, if allowable (remember to get a hunting or fishing license first)

Eleventh Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • A good quality map of your local area
  • Add to fishing gear if needed
  • Extra water purification kit
  • Add to bottled water supply

Tasks to Do

  • Continue prepping education
  • Update emergency contact information

Twelfth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • Extra food as needed
  • Heavy duty work gloves
  • Salt, pepper and spices in air-tight containers
  • Powered drink mix, if desired

Tasks to Do

  • Refresh water supplies
  • Check dates and rotate food and medications
  • Continue with survival education

In closing, there may be other items that you want to include, and that is fine. Try to consider any type of emergency and be prepared for each one. Keep your family involved and informed. If you follow the monthly plan, you will be well stocked and prepared for any emergency situation within a year, without breaking the bank.

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

How to Gather Everything You Need to Prep for Disaster in One Year: Part 1

Prepping Supplies

One of the first things that those who are newly interested in prepping need to know is that effective prepping is composed of, literally, hundreds of small components. All of these individual components are important, some more so than others, but, nonetheless, important. For some new preppers, the process of acquiring all that is needed may feel overwhelming. The following is a simple, yet effective, way to get started and to have what you need to survive on-hand within a year, without breaking the bank. The following list will get you and your family through at least 7 days of virtually any type of emergency. Feel free to adjust amounts and contents to suit your own preferences. Obtain the following gear and supplies and store them in your designated prep space.

First Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • Manual can and bottle opener
  • 3-4 gallons of water (tap or bottled) per individual in your group and per pet
  • 5 each of canned stew, meat and pasta per individual
  • 2-3 quality flashlights and batteries

Tasks to Do

  • Make a list of what you may already have on-hand such as guns, camping gear, tools, etc.
  • Put dates on all of your water jugs and canned food
  • Begin your online education on prepper and survival tactics

Second Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 3 rolls of toilet paper per individual
  • 4-5 cans of fruit and vegetables per individual
  • 1-2 month supply of sanitary napkins
  • First aid kit (the larger the better)
  • High-quality survival knife

Tasks to Do

  • Gather and store in one safe place all important paperwork and documents such as insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, etc.
  • If you are not familiar with hunting weapons, begin learning about them now so you can select one in the future. This is part of your online education.

PreppingThird Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 2 Bags of hard candy per individual
  • Special diet foods
  • 1-3 large plastic tubs with a lid for use as storage space

Tasks to Do

  • Locate your water and gas shutoff valve; get a shut off tool if needed
  • List all important contact numbers that you will need to call
  • Have a family meeting to discuss where to meet in case of an emergency
  • Begin shopping for a hunting rifle (at least a .22). Purchase the weapon and ammo as soon as possible. Check pawn shops for lower priced weapons.

Fourth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • One week supply (minimum) of prescription medications, rotate usage
  • Cash: Small bills, $100 or more
  • Additional storage containers, if needed
  • Infant supplies (diapers, formula, etc)
  • Supplies for any pets

Tasks to Do

  • Modify storage area if needed
  • Ensure all food and medicine is labeled and being rotated
  • Re-fill your water jugs with fresh tap water if used
  • Make a list of what cold weather clothing is on hand; list what is needed

Fifth Month:

Supplies to Obtain

  • 3 gallons of liquid bleach
  • 3 containers of liquid soap
  • 2 soap bars per individual
  • Set of metal dishes, forks, spoons, unbreakable cups etc.
  • 4-6 units of canned soup per individual
  • Emergency AM/FM radio and batteries

Tasks to Do

  • Conduct a family or group meeting
  • Answer questions and develop plans for where to meet, who will call who, who brings what, etc.

To continue your monthly prepping preparation, follow along in part two of this two part installment.

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