Welcome to another edition of Black Bag Confidential’s Weekly Drop.
In the world of espionage, a “dead drop” is a secret location where materials or information can be left by one party for another to retrieve. I invite you to send me your most pressing questions at SPYfeedback@LFB.org so I can leave my answers in your inbox each week.
Read on below for this week’s batch of reader mail. You’ll discover two additional items you should consider adding to your everyday carry (EDC) gear, why I don’t mind sharing my expertise with criminals and how to prepare for the coming financial collapse.
Now let’s dive in.
Perhaps my greatest concern is the out-of-control debt and spending. The PIPER will be paid! What are your suggestions on this coming disaster?
— Ken H.
You’re absolutely right, Ken, the disaster will come. We just don’t know if it will be tomorrow or 10 years from now.
When it comes to financial preparedness, I recommend investing in gold and silver coins, as they may be the only things of value after a collapse. Next, I would establish an emergency fund with enough cash to cover six months’ worth of living expenses. Even if the dollar loses value in the aftermath of an economic crisis, you still may be able to use cash to buy necessities — at least in the short term.
Of course, this is another reason I recommend building up six months’ to a year’s worth of food storage and emergency supplies. This will allow you to ride out almost any disaster.
Just got to the 11 items you carry, and was semi-amazed to discover they are precisely what I have been carrying for years and what I always instructed my troops to carry. Great minds, yada, yada, yada. I also carry items 12) butane lighter (sometimes now an electric arc plasma lighter) and 13) a small collapsible pen and pad of paper.
— Bill A.
I’m glad to hear you’ve been carrying critical items that could save your life — and encouraging others to do the same.
I agree that a butane or plasma lighter is a great addition to your everyday carry gear. There’s no doubt it could come in handy during an emergency. A pen and paper are also useful for leaving notes during an emergency — this is another reason I always carry my tactical pen.
I have always used Gibbs lubricant on my weapons, though have been trying Froglube recently. I once saw a pistol lubricated with Gibbs that was being stored in a container of water. Had no visible rust on it that I could see. Can’t really endorse this myself, but it seems worth further research. Any thoughts?
— Brooks M.
I’ve used a lot of gun lubricants, but I have never used Gibbs. I’ll have to buy some the next time my guns need cleaning and give it a try.
Thanks for passing this information along, Brooks — I’ll keep you posted.
TSA in Seattle recently made me give up a tactical pen. Stated they are now prohibited on commercial aircraft. True or false?
— Pat C.
That’s a shame, Pat. I’ve never had an issue flying with my tactical pen. However, when it comes to confiscating questionable items, every TSA screener might have a different opinion on what constitutes contraband. Unfortunately, it’s not worth arguing over — the only thing that will accomplish is making you late for your plane.
When I fly, I typically put my tactical pen in my laptop bag with the cap on what I call the “business end.” When it goes through the scanner, it looks just like a regular writing pen since that’s exactly what it is.
Keep up the great work with your daily articles and survival gear! I have a BIG question: I am worried that “the bad guys” read your articles as well and may even use some of your survival gear. Specifically, I am referring right now to your lock pick set. Your tips have steered me in the right direction, BUT I worry that they might steer the “bad guys” the same way!
— Cindy F.
The thing about criminals, Cindy, is that most of them are looking for easy targets. The average burglar isn’t a criminal mastermind — they’re simply looking to steal things they can sell or use to buy more drugs.
In other words, the majority of “bad guys” aren’t going to take the time to learn how to pick locks or master any other survival skills like you are doing. Common criminals are lazy, and frankly, I don’t worry about them.
While reading today’s “travel advisories” it occurred to me that I don’t recall ever reading which car window(s) you should break if you end up in water. I should probably reread your book. I likely just missed the advice, but it would be most helpful if you could address that issue again.
— Ricky V.
If you ever find yourself in a sinking car, you will typically have 30–60 seconds to escape before the car is submerged, so you’ve got to act fast.
First things first: I know this will sound counterintuitive, but if you’re in a sinking vehicle with water pouring in, don’t call 911. Wait until after you escape to safety to call emergency responders to help others who may still be trapped or to request medical attention.
Now, once a car is in the water it will be very difficult to open the doors, so you’ll need to roll down the windows. The longer you wait to roll down the windows, the harder it will be to do so, so start rolling them down immediately.
If you can’t roll down the windows and you need to break one, use whichever window is closest to you. Kick the corner of the window where it’s stiffest (not in the middle) with both feet to break it.
Ideally, you should have some sort of glass-breaking device on your person or in your vehicle. Whether it’s a tactical pen, a knife with pommel on the end or a tactical flashlight with a glass breaker, you should still strike in one of the corners of the window.
Good afternoon, Mr. Hanson! Yes, indeed, our privacy is being slowly encroached upon by the U.S. government. However, we are in a state of war with the terrorist groups that seek to kill us and destroy America. Therefore, one could view this latest abridgement of our privacy rights as a needed compromise to allow our security agencies to do the necessary work to protect us from additional terrorist attacks. So we have to hope that Congress has built in some safeguards for us American citizens. In wartime one needs to make some sacrifices. Thanks for your always informative and enlightening missives.
— Lewis B.
It’s always a fine line and a slippery slope, Lewis. I am a firm believer that we need to keep an eye on what our government does to keep Uncle Sam as honest as possible.