Category Archives: For New Preppers

When It’s Time to Rest, Rest!

If you happen to have been following this blog or my YouTube channel for a while, you might have noticed that I have gone the longest stretch without adding any content since I started this journey. It’s certainly not lack of inspiration or valuable ideas to research and share my findings on. Everyone has been great about responding with ideas and information to help me keep this blog growing. I cannot tell you exactly what it was other than I felt like pure, unadulterated crap all last week for some reason. I had barely enough energy to make it through the day at work and get home to crash. That gave me the idea of addressing the topic of resting. If you want to read about more health tips, you can find them in my prepper health category Here.

What Do I Mean by “Rest”?

That sounds like a very straightforward question, but there are many ways that we can and need to rest. Physical rest is one of the most important, but we cannot discount mental rest. Failing to rest our bodies and minds when needed will lead to the breakdown of all of our mental and physical functions over time. While I wanted to continue posting to my blog as well as preparing for other activities I have planned, I realized, last week, that the caffeine and over the counter meds I would have to take to continue at my current pace would catch up with me. I chose the best option for me at the time; to report to my job as expected and use the remaining hours of the day to sleep and rest. In hindsight, I may have benefitted more from taking a day off work to do nothing but rest, however I was still able to recover in a reasonable amount of time.

Physical Rest

Whether by design or by adaptation, humans, as well as most other land-dwelling animals, need to sleep. For thousands of years, this was a fairly simple part of the daily lives of humans. We would hunt, gather, farm or tend to other chores throughout the daylight hours and when the light faded at dusk, we would prepare to sleep. Of course, there were candles and gas lights to allow us some source of light in the dark, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century when Thomas Edison produced the first viable incandescent light bulb, that we could really turn night into day. From that point forward we have advanced, as a society, into an unnatural 24 hour lifestyle that takes a much larger toll on us and our health than we may think.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep, nightly, to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In a world of 24 hour demands it’s often easier on the front end to burn the midnight oil and try to get by on as little sleep as possible. As consumers, it is clear that we value productivity over rest by simply looking at the number of energy drinks and supplements available at every convenience store we go into. Instead of trying to get everything done at once, I believe we should look closely at how we schedule things in order to be more efficient in our work and lives so we are left with more leisure time for rest and enjoyment. Click on the picture below for one of the best books I have ever read. It has a section that goes into detail the levels of time management that we can use to make the most out of our time without our productivity taking everything out of us.

You can also look for ways to get more out of your sleep. 7 to 9 hours of restless sleep is not going to keep us refreshed and functioning at our peak. We need deep quality sleep to rejuvenate our bodies. I found out that I have sleep apnea a few years ago and after making the necessary adjustments to my sleep habits, I feel much better every day. For some ideas on how to get more restful sleep click on the picture below.

Mental Rest

If you’ve ever dealt with depression, or have a loved one who has, you have probably seen first hand that no amount of sleep can seem to bring someone back on point when his or her mind is burdened heavily. While I am no fan of the trend that we’ve seen in the past 20 to 40 years of blaming everything on some condition or trauma inflicted by others, I do realize that mental health is an important part of daily life and much more so when we are in a survival situation. The point that I would like to make abundantly clear is that knowing you need to rest yourself mentally is not weakness. We become weak when we blame others or our situations on our mental burdens instead of working to restore ourselves by whatever means needed. While some people seem to be born with an amazing ability to compartmentalize mental stressors and even function better under extreme pressure, most of us have to develop those skills and refresh ourselves regularly to continue moving forward.

For some people mental rest may come as easily as listening to their favorite music or sitting quietly in the early morning or late evening hours. Others may gain clarity from exercise or a walk alone in a natural surrounding. Many of us also turn toward faith and spirituality to relieve our mental tensions and renew ourselves. If none of those work for you, it might be helpful to learn to meditate or even visit a counsellor to help you unearth some peace and understanding of yourself. I know doing that helped me see a whole different view of my life and circumstances. If you want to look for more ways to understand mind and how to rest mentally in this day and age, click on the book below by Jordan Peterson. He can make sense of a lot of the issues we face today.

Final Thoughts On Resting

While survival situations won’t usually offer the most comfortable situations for us to rest, keeping the need to refresh mentally and physically in mind is important. Whenever possible, a team of individuals offers a greater distribution of the workload and allows each member much more time to rest than he or she would have if they were on their own. We are also in much better shape to attend to a disaster or survival situation if we go into it with a rested mind and body. When things are stacked against us, it’s often too late to rest up for the fight.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate an may make money for qualifying purchases.

Should I Be Doing More Dry Fire Practice Than Live Fire?

What’s more fun than an afternoon of blasting at the range? Well, not much that we can discuss on this blog, however just dumping ammo down range to hear the noise isn’t helping us become better prepared if we need to defend or feed ourselves with that firearm. As I am going through this journey, I become more aware, almost daily, that sometimes we are bound heavily by time and finances when it comes to our abilities to prepare. Shooting practice involves both. I hope this article gives everyone a good option to help stay sharp with less expense. If you want some information to help you avoid some first time gun buyer pitfalls, read my post here.

How Much Does Shooting Cost?

As I am writing this post in the fall of an election year with an air of apprehensiveness about the future we as gun owners face, shooting is certainly not a bargain. Not only have people been scouring the country for ammunition and firearms to stock up on in case of any executive or legislative actions after the election, Covid-19 has had many manufacturers closed or at least reduced in staff and production. The combination of the two has left shelves bare and allowed supply and demand to increase prices as the market trends into scarcity. With the cost of guns and ammo moving up we have to also consider the time we have to invest into shooting well. Very few of us have the luxury of an at-home range to shoot at. We usually have to travel to a designated range and that often comes with a fee or membership that we have to pay. Both of those are costs to us. With all of these costs being drastically variable for each of us, I believe we can still agree that a way to reduce them is worth considering.

What is Dry Fire Practice?

Dry fire practice is the action of using your firearm to simulate a shot at a target but without having a live round in the gun. This requires some care and mindfulness to perform safely, but can be very efficient as well. First we need no ammunition. That saves us on the financial end. Also, we don’t require a designated shooting range. For most pistol and close quarters long gun practice, we can dry fire indoors. That saves us driving time and the money we spend on fuel as well. In addition to the savings, dry firing also helps us perfect muscle memory and smooth out fundamental aspects of shooting and gives us some feedback that we often can’t get with the noise, flash, and recoil of a live round firing.

A Word Of Caution About Dry Firing Practice!!!

As part of the cardinal safety rules of handling a firearm, we are taught to treat every gun as if it is loaded. To begin dry fire practice, we must assume that the gun is loaded and clear it as if we were planing to clean or repair it. We should point the weapon in a safe direction, remove the magazine and open the chamber. We must then follow up by both a visual inspection and a tactile inspection to see and feel if there is any ammunition in the magazine or chamber of the weapon. Because we are not at a designated range and likely do not have sufficient backstops in our homes, an accidental discharge could have catastrophic consequences. Once the weapon has been cleared and inspected by both visual and tactile means at least twice, then we should remove all ammunition from the room, or clear the weapon and move into a room with no ammunition present to start practice. While it seems like this should be a given, an honest survey of seasoned shooters reveals that more than a few have had a negligent discharge during a dry fire training session when they have had a mental lapse or interruption. If you follow the steps set forth, you should be very safe in your practice sessions, but complacency can creep in, so stay alert to your own mindset. Please read my post about the four cardinal rules of firearms safety Here.

Watch This Video To Get Some Important Information on Prepping Your Gun for Dry Fire Practice:

How Should I Dry Fire Practice My Shooting?

As I have mentioned before, I am not a firearms trainer, so the drills and details you need to do to improve your shooting skills should be based on your training experiences. I simply wish to outline a way to safely perform dry fire practice that can be adapted to your skill level and proficiency goals. A good way to start is to click the picture below and get some dry fire training cards.

Step 1, Clearing the firearm: As I mentioned in the paragraph on safety, the weapon must be cleared and inspected by sight and feel at least twice each before each dry fire session, regardless of how you “know” you left the firearm. This practice will remove the bulk of the risk of negligent discharges during practice.

Step 2, Enter the Dry Firing Area: With your weapon cleared and inspected multiple times, enter the area that you wish to practice. there should be no live ammunition in this room or area. Now you have a cleared weapon and no ammunition. This should effectively eliminate the hazard of a negligent or accidental discharge.

Step 3, Hang the Target(s): This is part of the mental safety preparation of dry firing. if we don’t hang the target until we have a cleared weapon in an ammo-free area, then we are less likely to have a slip of the memory and aim a loaded weapon at our target. You can also get reactive targets if you want to add the visual confirmation of your hits. It isn’t an absolute necessity to build the fundamentals you need to shoot well but it does give you the positive feedback of knowing you hit the target. If you want to give them a try, click the picture below.

Step 4, Declare Aloud “I am now beginning dry fire practice”: This sounds corny, but it affirms to our mind that we are dry firing. At any point during our routine, we are interrupted, we should begin by rechecking our weapons and surroundings for ammo and repeat this declaration out loud.

Step 5, Begin practice: Remember from the video above that almost all weapons besides revolvers and some true double action pistols require the action to be cycled to fire a second time. This means cycling the slide on pistols and pulling the charging handle or opening the bolt on rifles as well as pumping a shotguns action. This often limits us to one shot, but we are still able to gain a great deal of benefit by practicing our draw and first shot on target repeatedly without the expense of live rounds. Some manufacturers offer inert training pistols and rifles that simulate our real guns and allow us to practice without having to reset the action. Click the picture below to see one made by laser lyte company. The one shown is supposed to be similar in feel to the Glock 19 pistol, so you can search for your particular gun model once you connect through the link and look in the laserlyte amazon store.

Step 6, Remove the Target: Upon completion of our drills, we should remove the target. This removes the mental cue to shoot if we become distracted and forget that we reloaded our gun.

Step 7, Declare aloud “I have ended my dry fire practice session”: Again, this sounds silly but it helps flip that mental switch that complacency can muffle over time.

Step 8, Conclude The Session: Leave the dry fire area and return your firearm to the condition you keep it in (i.e. loaded and ready).

Final Thoughts on Dry Fire Training

Anytime you handle a firearm, you are undertaking a great responsibility. This post may seem wordy and redundant in some paragraphs, however the benefit of dry fire training to our abilities as shooters is huge, as are the financial and time savings involved. I have heard instructors say that a 1:5 to a 1:10 ratio of live fire to dry fire shots is probably the most beneficial to a shooters ability. Keep that in mind when you can’t make it to the range!

Disclosure: I am an amazon affiliate and may make money on qualifying purchases.