Tuesday, December 2, 2014

TROPICAL STORM HAGUPIT (Typhoon Ruby)

                                            A super typhoon... In December?!


I'm not big on the whole climate change thing, but this is pretty darn WEIRD.

When it hits us it will be called Typhoon Ruby. Its expected to make landfall in the Philippines this Thursday, December 4, 2014 and its gonna be a really strong one too with winds reaching up to 155MPH. That is a storm category 4 out of 5. If Yolanda was a lesson, we could expect another disaster in the making.

                                                                          ********

Lessons From the Past

In my part of the world, our storm season is supposed to be between June to August. That was when I was little, about 25 years ago it stayed in that schedule. In the last 10 years I've noticed that we started having typhoons as early as April, which is supposed to be summertime.

And then it creeps past August, and we'd get the odd storm like Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in November.

Its pretty weird to get a calamity of this magnitude at this part of the year. There was a time when Haiyan was called a ONE IN FIFTY YEARS thing. 

Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) was the other big one, the FloodApocalypse. It paralyzed central Luzon and much of Metro Manila with a month's worth of rain dumped in a matter of a single week. People were forced out of their homes with water rising above two storeys in some places, unfortunately these were also residential areas.

Maybe there is something to this climate cha-cha thingamabob.


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Preparedness Levels

Whatever it is, I've got a month's worth of food at home. We have filtration systems to last forever. I'm not worried about my family. I live well above sea level. Noah would approve.

We're not in danger of flying debris because my home is made of concrete. Trouble? You know I'm ready for that too.

Its everybody else living in the lowlands that I'm worried about. Or those who live on our eastern seaboard like in Leyte. Darn it, I sure hope nobody gets hurt this time around! Or at least as few as possible.  :-(

I know I'm not the only one who's prepared. I'm even happy to report that we have serious preppers in Leyte and other Haiyan-affected areas because they are the TRUE survivors. Armed with solar power, wind turbines, water filtration, supplies, and neighborly coordination, they can pull through another big one. I just wish it didn't have to come again so soon.

I've spend the day sending out severe weather alerts to our office staff, clients, and family. I'm in the risk management profession, its what I do.

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After this mess, we'll go into high-gear again to help out whoever was affected in true Pinoy fashion. Helping our neighbors is what we're famous for. Its called Bayanihan.

You can't fight force majeure but you could plan for it and roll with the punches. Lets hunker down and stay safe this week.





Stay vigilant!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: .22 TCM Glock Conversion kits Coming Soon! (I'm 90% sure)

I remember Martin Tuason (President of Armscor) saying something on his Facebook account a few weeks ago about releasing a product that would be considered by some to be "heretical". He's a cool guy, always giving really exciting teasers on their upcoming projects. 

They've also got their ears close to the ground and must have heard the clamor on the internet.

It makes a lot of sense. Follow my train of thought: 

Armscor is the largest 1911 manufacturer in the world... 

...aggressively promoting the .22 TCM cartridge... 

... how do you make your bullet more popular? 

...Glocks are the most popular 9mm platform...

A .22 TCM Conversion kit for Glocks! It makes perfect sense!

My hunch looks like its on the money because there was talk earlier today about a conversion kit for the Glock 17 to chamber the ammo being released really soon.

What does this mean? We could see the .22 TCM become more widely used since the only way at present was to purchase the TCM pistol and bolt-action rifle. 

Now the other half of the pistol community worldwide would have the chance to give this a shot. I mean "half of the world's police force" can't go wrong (if you believe the marketing).
This is quite a bold move since the company is putting the bullet in the hands of folks using a a brand known as its nemesis and the subject of fanboy wars across the internet.


We're all familiar with the whole 1911 VS Glock and .45 VS 9mm debate. My head is spinning, and old Gaston G. should be shaking his as well.

In the end, this strategy will go a long way in ensuring the longevity of the caliber.

Moving Forward
Now that its poised to reach even greater popularity, I'm really looking forward to is more real-world studies on this caliber. I've been clamoring for that since it was launched more than two years ago. Ballistic performance, penetration tests vs armor, drywall, car doors, frozen turkeys, zombie heads, FBI gel, hair gel... Lets have it!

Only then would we know how it stands as a defensive round compared to the 9mm, .45, .40, .380, .25, .22 and more.

Can someone call up Pocket Guns & Gear, Box o' Truth, Brassfetcher, Hickok45 or the Poboyspecial to do the science? Thanks!


UPDATE: Bruce F. of Pocket Guns & Gear has made some really cool tests on the cartridge. :-)




Stay vigilant!

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Defense Sporting & Arms Show (DSAS) Photos


I've been going to the gun show for 8 years now and I've seen a few changes in the last 2 years. Due to the drastic changes to the IRR governing the new firearms laws, many of the small players have closed shop. The big players from the Association of Firearms and Ammunitions Dealers of the Philippines, Inc. (AFAD) are hanging on despite the lowest sales figures the industry has ever seen. It has mostly to do with the new permit all firearm owners must obtain before purchasing new firearms or renewing their permits, the much-maligned LTOP or License to Own and Possess a Firearm.

The sale of Airguns (pcp, airsoft, and CO2) have also increased in popularity. Two years ago, before the IRR issue I purchased my Gamo Silent Stalker IGT. Willi Hahn Enterprises and P.B. Dionisio were the only companies selling airguns at the time.

Last year's gun show had the lowest number of attendees ever recorded. The large venue at the SMX Convention Center didn't help since I believe it is harder to get to compared to the SM Megamall despite ample parking space.


This year saw a much larger attendance. A major contributor was the all in one processing booth for LTOP applications within the Gun Show. Lots of people showed up in the hopes of completing their requirements instead of visiting Camp Crame which has very limited parking space and separate buildings for the various requirements such as the Neurological Exam, Drug Test, Directorate of Intelligence Clearance, etc.

Well, I sure hope that things improve in the following months. It is my dearest wish that this blog entry for 2014's gun show would merely be a short period that we would look back on and thank our stars that things got much better soon afterward.

 Check out the ammo prices... Divide the Peso value by the exchange rate of 44.5 as of this date.


Here's something. Optics and anything firearm related are really expensive over here. Usually they cost up to 3x the prices in the USA. Import taxes and a little price fixing are the culprit. So take a look at this Aimpoint PRO.

It costs $808 over here. Count your blessings my American readers.



 The bolt-action TCM Rifle makes its debut... Below is the match-grade MIG 22 .22lr

 I actually started stocking up on .22 and .25 cal  ammo for my new PCP rifle project...

 FX Airguns cost an arm and a leg but are not classified as firearms. No need for an LTOP. 

 High-powered flashlights are becoming more popular thanks to the prepper movement.


A fine carry pistol from Metroarms

 The "American Classic" made by the famous gunsmiths of Danao, Cebu.

 Spike Speigel's pistol...

 Stronghand is the top seller of Dillon Precision reloaders in the country.

 
 A top-level Standard/Limited Division pistol would cost $7,820 from Grayman, Inc. by top-shot Mary Grace Tan. Buy once, cry once!

There were a good number of women at the show. Many were actually inquiring about the right pistol for them. A lot were interested in home defense and carry.

I hope this continues to be the trend, its always refreshing to see potential female shooters in our sport.

A lot of male firearm owners in the Philippines try their best to get their wives into the sport. You'll also see them at the range practicing with children. With the proper training and attitude, having competently armed mothers, sisters, and daughters would make the world a safer place!


 Pretty ammo

I take a lot of photos of handguns that I find appealing. I don't really find myself attracted to this pistol however I have not come across the Kimber Solo in past shows. Its small, has a polymer frame, and is in 9mm. I wonder how it compares to the SIG P938?

Well, my dream pocket pistol is still the SIG P238...

 This Walther .22 is pretty nice, its got a built-in laser. Great for training young shooters.

 Now check out the Armscor TCM 22 G10. This full size pistol has all the bells and whistles you'll need. I love the lines and feel of this pistol. Interesting that the logo is now smaller and on the right side of the slide. I personally don't mind the logo in the middle of the slide.

This is an STI OFF DUTY. They make the lower-end STI pistols in the Philippines, and they're known for high quality products.

A Tanfoglio that Armscor is selling...

 An interesting 12 Gauge Shotgun that uses box magazines by Shooters Arms Manufacturing. Looks promising, I wonder if there are tests done on this shotgun...


I heard that PARA will be purchased by Remington sometime soon. In this display cabinet you'll see that there are PARA and REMINGTON pistols sitting together. That would be the end of a significant era for me. PARA-Ordnance from Canada made the double-stack 1911 popular.

Its so popular, many Armscor owners a few years ago used to remove the Armscor logo on their slides and put "P16.40" to make their pistols "look better". Typical colonial mentality. Thank goodness their attitudes have changed!

I've owned a P16.40 since 1997 and its ran flawlessly. I've run it dirty for up to 1000 rounds without cleaning nor headache. It was my first competition pistol and I'll never sell it. 



An Open Division race gun from True Weight, Inc. Perhaps it was built by master gunsmith Jay Pecson.


 The famous KSG Shotgun from Kel-Tec Php 89,000 / 44.5 (USD exchange rate) = $2k
Defensive Armament Resource Corp. (DARC) is the official importer of Kel-Tec products.


 I had a lot of fun meeting old friends from the various shops and didn't realize that I skipped lunch! I got there at 11AM and finished at 3:30PM.

After getting a fair amount of loot in the form of ammunition, cleaning supplies, a Fenix flashlight, and more pellet ammo, I rewarded myself with a delightful bowl of noodles from a nearby Chinese restaurant. Yum!



Stay vigilant!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ebolapocalypse? Nope.


“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”    

- Bene-Gesserit Litany Against Fear
from Frank Herbert's DUNE

Friends, I have a few things to clairfy: 

The darn Ebola virus is not airborne.
It is not being spread by the CDC
It is not a UN-backed conspiracy to depopulate the Earth
And it is definitely NOT an alien thing.

<sigh> Come on guys.

A zombie apocalypse can also take form when brain-dead people buy into the panic that the media feeds us on the news. Save your ammo for the walking dead, or those who go nuts and loot people's homes just cause they didn't get ready when TSHTF.

Ignorance is deadlier than the virus itself. Preparation is better than panic. The same preparations we are making for the invasion of dead walkers applies to this contagion. 

Sorry, I'm dealing with a shocking increase of friends and relatives who have been watching too much garbage on TV.

And yeah, I've missed blogging and the gang over here. I've been up to stuff lately so a few reviews are coming up later this month.



Stay vigilant!




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Training Day With the Kids: Armscor XT22, M22 Carbine & Kodana Archery Range



My nieces were on vacation at my place for summer break. One of them was interested in firearms and ninja stuff (15 years old), while the younger one (9) was more into animated movies, practical jokes, and generally girly stuff.

On a fine Sunday afternoon we paid a visit to the Makati Cinema Square (MCS) because they wanted to give archery a shot as well as learning how to shoot a pistol and rifle. After securing permission from ther parents (who are both firearm owners), we went off to learn new things.

I made it a point to teach the Rules of Firearm Safety. This was my primary goal for the day. I hope that getting them started with the right attitude would serve them well as they grow up and share these common values.

At the MCS you have the Kodana Archery Range and the Armscor Shooting Range. Lovely combo ain't it?

 she wears a mask to protect her identity and loved ones

We started at Kodana first. The older girl (15 years old) was cool with arrows and she's a decent shot with her traditional Ifugao bow. No sights with iron-tipped arrows. It took a little getting used to the recurve's sighting apparatus but she became a good shot in a few rounds! It was important to get the fundamentals from the instructors and then to repeat the proper form afterward. Her best grouping for the day was head-sized at 15 meters. Not bad at all.
 
the ninja in training

Next we visited ARMSCOR. The younger one was more curious about this one and we got down to business after I gave them the all-important safety talk. Both of them were a little shocked at how loud the guns at the nearby bays were. It took a while to get used to it. We needed about 10 minutes before we could settle in the new environment.

I think the noise was the main obstacle to my students or to all new shooters. I think the Korean lady next bay was also a new student but was going nuts with her .45, yay.




I demonstrated and taught the basics: posture, grip, sight alignment, trigger squeeze, and follow through. Our equipment for the day were the ARMSCOR XT-22 and M-22 Carbine, both in .22 Long Rifle. These were quieter and the low recoil makes them enjoyable to shoot and handle. As a bonus we also used the Armscor 1911 .45. Those made the bigger holes on the photo below.

All weapons functioned flawlessly even if they were dirty range guns. 


As you could see, the M22 Carbine on the left was inherently more accurate than a pistol. Fantastic grouping from 1st time shooters!

At the end of the day the girls learned how to do all of this in a safe manner and land decent shots using two kinds of weapons. I'm just really glad we all had a great time!


Stay vigilant!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Coming Soon: New Product Reviews!

I am pleased to have acquired a bunch of nice things to evaluate. Since all of these are personal acquisitions, I've taken my time testing each item. Nothing gets me more giddy than having new gear to tinker with! Some of these are old news but not to my side of the pond.


Survival Gear:
BioLite Camp Stove
Sawyer All-In-One filter
Luci Solar Lamp
Lifestraw water filter

Ammunition:
Armscor Super Quiet .22 LR solid-point
Highland ZX Super Quiet Subsonic .22LR solid-point

EDC:
Leatherman Juice multi-tool
Kershaw Cryo folding knife
Marksman Pocket Hunter


In a few days we'll see how they measure up to the hype.



Stay vigilant!

It needs to be said

I just want to say THANK YOU to all those who have helped and continue to do so. From our end, it is our job on the ground to ensure that every penny is accounted for and given to the right people.



Happy New Year!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Please Help the Victims of Typhoon Haiyan



Friends, it is time to go out and do the right thing. Please send your help to the victims of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) by visiting the UNICEF TYPHOON YOLANDA APPEAL or through the PHILIPPINE RED CROSS websites right now. 

If there are organizations that I trust to make sure our assistance reaches the right people, it would be these two.

 
http://www.redcross.org.ph/

http://donate.unicef.ph/campaign/24/typhoon-yolanda-emergency-appeal

Your money will not be put to waste and your help will have tangible results. 






Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

UPDATE: Please send your help via UNICEF and the RED CROSS on THIS link.



Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name is Haiyan) is expected to make a direct hit on my country this Friday. By then, its wind strength is predicted to reach over 130 mph making it the most powerful storm to hit us in the past 3 years. Typhoons also bring a lot of water and that is the other half of this potential calamity. 

At home my family has drinking water for a month, a water filtration system in case I need more, battery chargers, and extra food to go the distance. We are completely flood-proof because my house is standing way above sea-level and we've hardened against flying debris.

I sure hope this storm does not turn out as bad as the weather guys think it would. I'm a lot more prepared to deal with this one, but I'm worried about everybody else. I've got two more days before it hits us so I'll spend some of it sharing some of my stuff with my brother and sister who live nearby. 

How this matters to Zombie Survivalists:
If we get hit by typhoons about 22 times a year, with one or two of them being very powerful, I really think I'll be fighting the living dead knee-deep in the pouring rain. 

Infrastructure will degrade much faster if there is no functioning government to maintain the drainage systems. Water-borne diseases are expected to be another hazard alongside the deadly Solanum Virus. If Malaria or Dengue kill you instead of a zombie, you still lose.

I think its time for me to buy a few rafts and perhaps a kayak like this: The Oru Kayak. This amazing thing folds neatly into a big suitcase thing! Perfect for storing several of these in my smallish garage. 
 


Today is the day I started seriously thinking about fighting zeds on a boat. It makes perfect sense.

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Lessons from Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana):

It has been four years since Typhoon Ondoy which unleashed unprecedented damage to the country. Scientists say that we never had a storm like that in 60 years. Well now that it happened once, I personally believe it can happen every year.

In my part of town, nearly 17 inches of rain was dumped on us in less than a day. Total damage amounted to over one billion Dollars, there were many fatalities, and millions of people in Metro Manila were affected.

Things were bad. Calamitous. Floodwater rose to two storeys high in various residential areas all over Metro Manila (16 cities, population 12 million). But guess what? Our Bayanihan spirit got nearly every able-bodied Pinoy to come out and help.

In years prior to this disaster, people were content to just "let the government do it". This time, ordinary folks in unprecedented numbers came out to lend a hand.


Bayanihan is basically defined as the community coming to help out a neighbor. When Ondoy hit, we did this on a national level. Image from Wikipedia.

Typhoon Ondoy basically awakened the inner survivalist or prepper on a national level. Thank goodness our preparedness has come a long way since then. This applies to government and private initiatives. Suddenly, it is a company by-word to have risk-reduction meetings every quarter. In my own gig where I became head of Risk Management, people on all levels have been talking about emergency kits, flood prevention, first-aid certifications, and more. 

My secret alter-ego (TZH) was quite happy to see that "prepping" has finally become mainstream. Perhaps I'll have a much easier time finding like-minded folks to prepare against the undead hordes when they finally come.

In the end, I hope the spirit of Bayanihan (pronounce it like bah, yah, neeh, hun. say it fast, and in one go) will prevail WTSHTF and keep our society help keep our society from falling apart. Too often we see post-apocalyptic films depicting warring tribes and utter barbarity following the collapse of a modern society. Watch the movie The Road to get an idea.


Stay vigilant!




Sunday, November 3, 2013

Vacation Report: Anaheim, CA & Hillsboro, OR

Greetings from Oregon!

I've been on vacation here visiting family for the past 3 weeks and I've had a great time going sight-seeing and shopping nearly every day.

I was also in LA to take my family to Disneyland. It never gets old even if I've been there 5 times already. The Halloween theme was pretty nice. "Its our kingdom now" Captain Hook merrily proclaimed. There were more than the usual number of zombie kids and parents on the happiest place on Earth.

We then traveled north to go trick or treating in Oregon. The kids over here were more into minion bananas and Rapunzel costumes.

 picking out our pumpkin


 a break from urban living

I haven't been to the States since '97, and a lot has changed. Bigger population, GPS everywhere, more channels on the TV, and  fancy new shopping areas to name a few. I used to live in Vancouver, Canada for a few years but I was within striking distance of my family. I also made various road trips to California and Arizona, so I've been around.

The Little Differences
I was really happy to stock up on survival gear from various sources such as REI and Cabela's, the latter being my own personal Disneyland!

1. Gun Stuff: Warranties and Replacements
Just so my American readers know, firearm and firearm-related accessories cost 3x as much when they are sold in my country. I can bring stuff home from Cabela's, but its a very long and difficult process that I'm not willing to go through at this time.

Good thing we have as many fantastic gunsmiths as you guys do because we do not have immediate access to return-policies and warranties.

If something breaks, it will take weeks before Kel-Tec sends me a replacement. For other brands like Para-Ordnance or Kimber, the wait has been known to take nearly a year. Never mind that, the legendary Metrillo Gun Corporation will fabricate anything for me in no time at all.
 
2. Survival necessities for the Philippines are very different compared with the West Coast and most of the USA.

The United States is gigantic land mass and has diverse environmental conditions. The Philippines on the other hand is made up of 7,100+ islands, all of these are in the tropical zone. We have a few cities in high altitude, but most of my countrymen live in either very dense urban centers that are a several million in population size, or in agricultural zones in the form or farmland or by the sea.

We are also visited by typhoons about 22 times per year on average. Half of those are direct hits. This
means we'll be fighting the undead hordes knee-deep in floodwater more often than not.

This affected my shopping list. I was focusing primarily on water-filtration gear. We'll never go thirsty in a long-term crisis, but keeping the water clean will become a challenge. Finding food will not be as hard because the open spaces between our homes are teeming with naturally-occurring edibles which are very nutritious.

Its just the darn weather hazards and our incredibly populous city centers which will be the greatest survival challenges.

3. Home Construction Materials and Layout

In the Philippines, most houses in the suburbs are built out of concrete and have a perimeter fence made of stone. Our Oregon home and nearly all our neighbors have theirs constructed out of wood/drywall and do not have perimeter walls or fences. Two cats and small dog from next door frequent my kitchen windowsill to ask for treats. The photo with a lot of trees is our neighborhood in Hillsboro.

a neighbor's house in Manila for reference

The photo above is something more familiar to me. Walls in the suburbs are the norm, and concrete is the abundant construction material. Termites and typhoon gusts are the things we usually brace for.

In a defensive scenario, the stone perimeter wall will serve me quite nicely because it limits the entry points to my front door. My home's walls are about 5 feet tall and it will help me a lot against the undead since their line of sight from the street level will be obstructed. More on that in my Home Defense section.


3. Weather & Gear
We never have snow and there aren't any deserts. Nobody dies in the Philippines from hypothermia or dehydration. What will mess us up are the typhoons, floodwater, and water-borne diseases.

Tropical issues like rust, mosquitoes, Dengue, Malaria, Leptosirosis, Diarrhea, rabies, drowning, garbage, trenchfoot, and other wet-weather stuff are some of the things that affects my choices. It will also affect how we will be fighting the undead and the tools I'll be needing to succeed.

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I'll be boarding the plane tomorrow at 1PM and I can't wait to come back next April. I met a lot of nice folks and made many new friends over here. My whole family will miss our stay, three weeks sure went by pretty fast!

I'll be testing out my new gear and will prepare my usual product reviews.


Stay vigilant!