Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,
This week’s mailbag features a few good gear recommendations. These tools will certainly come in handy in a survival situation, but you can also use them while hiking, camping or enjoying a nice evening in the backyard.
I’ll also address issues such as whether it’s safe to save passwords on your browser, what gear you should take with you to the range and how to secure alternative forms of transportation.
Take a look.
My son bikes everywhere. He doesn’t have a car. How can he keep his bike (or any of the parts) from being stolen? Last weekend, someone stole his seat and a few months ago someone took his front wheel…
— Carol F.
At night, always store the bike inside. I know it might be a pain if your son has to carry it up any stairs, but when you leave a bike out all night (even if it’s locked up), it’s obviously more likely to get stolen.
In addition, he should buy two or three quality bike locks. Avoid using cable locks, because these can easily be cut. Here’s a great article on the best bike locks of 2017. A combination of a classic U-lock and some of these higher-tech options would be a good deterrent.
Remember to lock the wheels and seat so that someone can’t just remove the bolts holding these on. Basically, the more difficult to steal the bike appears, the better. Most criminals would see all this and move on to an easier target.
What’s a good survival lantern that will last and doesn’t take a whole bunch of batteries?
— Paul O.
I recommend the Tough Light LED Rechargeable Lantern, which runs off rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Most lanterns like this typically use up to eight D batteries, so having a rechargeable option is convenient.
The Tough Light is a smaller lantern but it still provides a nice amount of light. It puts out 400 lumens on its highest setting and can last up to 24 hours. It also has medium (162 lumens) and low (40 lumens) lighting modes as well as a red light option and an SOS feature.
Plus, it comes with two USB cables that you can use to charge your cellphone or laptop in an emergency. It’s water-resistant and includes a utility hook for easy hanging. You can buy them on Amazon for around $65.
I’m brand-new to shooting. I want to start going to my local range to decide what kind of gun I want. What should I bring? Any advice for such a beginner?
— Dan M.
That’s a great plan. One of the best things you can do as a new shooter is to rent several different guns to see what you like. We all have different-sized hands. You need to figure out which gun fits you best and is most comfortable to shoot.
Don’t let anyone at the range tell you that a specific gun is the best one for you — you need to determine this on your own. That being said, one firearm I suggest starting with is the Glock 19. This gun is simple to shoot and operate and very popular for concealed carry.
As for what to bring, you can bring your own ear and eye protection if you want, but you can probably rent this stuff from the range. If you think you will end up shooting often, I would purchase this gear to keep. Take a look at this post that runs down nine pieces of must-have gear for the range.
Lastly, always remember to practice good gun safety and hopefully you will learn a lot.
Is it a good idea to save all your passwords to your web browser? And if a website says, “Remember me?” is it safe to click “yes”? You need a password for practically every website these days and I know they should be different. I can’t remember them all!
— Stacy D.
Unfortunately, you should never save your passwords in the browser. There are two main reasons for this:
- Your browser will have a complete record of your login information. If it gets hacked, a criminal will have access to all your passwords.
- The physical security risk of your computer being stolen means that a thief who gets ahold of your device will have instant access to all your account information.
According to the new recommendations from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a password should be made up of a string of simple English words — words that mean something to you (and only you) that will be easy to remember without writing them down.
Got any good compass recommendations?
— Evan H.
Check out the CMMG Official U.S. Military Tritium Lensatic Compass. This military-grade compass is designed to be waterproof, sandproof and shockproof. It functions from minus 50 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
This compass also has tritium micro lights that allow you to navigate in low-light conditions without needing a flashlight or external source of light. I think this is a perfect tool for a survival situation. It sells for around $70 on Amazon.