There are a ton of great recommendations in this edition of the Weekly Drop — from the best self-defense weapons that aren’t a gun… to where you can buy QuikClot if you’re not a medical professional… to how to get your hands on a discontinued Baofeng UV-5R two-way radio.
Check it out.
I am new to your newsletter. One problem I have with all the self-defense newsletters and programs that I have seen is they assume that everyone can own a firearm. My wife is against guns, and with good reasons. Therefore, out of respect for her (we have been married for over 21 years), I choose not to own a firearm. Can you please address ways to protect my family without the use of firearms?
— Grant W.
Obviously, I’m a gun guy. But I understand and respect that not everyone is comfortable with guns. There are a number of alternative weapons you can use for self-defense.
For example, one of my favorites is my specially engineered tactical pen. There’s a reason they say the pen is mightier than the sword — and this powerful self-defense tool is it. Made of solid aircraft-grade aluminum, you can arm your whole family with these gadgets for less than the cost of a single firearm.
Another option I recommend is a stun gun flashlight. These are great to carry anytime but especially after dark. It looks just like a normal flashlight but also functions as a very effective self-defense tool.
Finally, I know some people like to carry pepper spray since it can be deployed at a distance, so your attacker can’t get too close. However, you shouldn’t use pepper spray indoors or in close quarters unless you want to suffer the effects as well. You also need to be careful which way the wind is blowing, so you don’t miss your attacker completely.
I don’t remember the exact mailing, but Jason gave information on what to do and how to handle the credit bureaus in putting a block on people accessing your credit report. Would you be able to give me that information again?
— Sherrie V.
Send the following to the three main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can do this by certified letter or online:
Dear AGENCY NAME,
I would like to place a security freeze on my credit file.
My name is:
My former name was [if applicable]:
My current address is:
My former address was:
My Social Security number is:
My date of birth is:
I have enclosed photocopies of a government-issued ID and proof
of residence. [ex. utility bill, etc.]
I have included a police report verifying my identity has been
stolen [if applicable].
I have included a check for the fee of $XX [you can find this
information on each agency’s website].
You will need to mail this letter, the required documents and a check to each credit reporting agency at the addresses below:
Equifax Security Freeze
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, Georgia 30348
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Experian Security Freeze
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
After you have sent all three agencies a certified letter or applied online, they will respond to your request — usually within 10 business days — with a letter confirming your security freeze. Each credit agency will also provide you with a PIN you will use in the future whenever you need to grant access to your credit history.
In the latest issue of Spy & Survival Briefing, you recommend we add QuikClot to our emergency kits. However, when I go online to buy some, they are asking me to acknowledge I am a medical professional.
I really do not want to lie to purchase this. There are other brands that do not specify medical training is required. However, I do not want to buy something and use it and do myself or someone else more harm than good because I am not medically trained.
— Hilda B.
I’ve purchased QuikClot many times before on Amazon and I’ve never seen this type of request. Of course, I would never encourage anyone to lie, so I recommend purchasing from Amazon, where there is no such restriction. Perhaps the website you visited was just being extra cautious.
From my understanding, QuikClot can be purchased by anyone. It’s simply gauze coated in kaolin (a clay mineral) that enhances blood’s natural clotting abilities. This will give you more time to get the injured person to a medical facility for proper treatment.
Both you and Cade mention putting important documents on a USB drive when you travel. Do customs and border patrol agents have a right to search items stored on these external devices?
— Allen A.
Yes, customs and border patrol agents do have the right to search your electronic devices, including external drives. The chances of this are fairly slim, but it is a possibility for which you should be prepared. As long as you don’t have anything illegal on your devices, you should be allowed to move along rather quickly.
In some extreme cases, customs and border patrol agents have seized electronic devices for advanced searches. However, to do this they must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or that the information you possess poses a serious threat to national security.
Regarding your recommendation for an emergency radio. The Baofeng UV-5R is showing as discontinued on their website. Do you recommend any other models?
— Mike P.
These models are mostly similar in their capabilities, but obviously, the later versions will have a few more bells and whistles. I personally own the UV-5R and the UV-5R+ and they both work great.
Lastly, here’s a suggestion from one of my readers on yet another survival use for Mason jars:
I use my Mason jars as a mobile bathroom if I’m in a situation where there’s nowhere else to go and I can’t just pee outside. Just an idea…
— Quae M.